Here is another excellent product that reinforces my belief that we can learn something from our past. When you watch the first few minutes of this video please think for several moments about some of the commentary that you might have heard recently about the New Deal. According to some pundits, the New Deal did not really cause unemployment to decline and it did not do much good. Those pundits tell us that it was only World War II that finally came along and saved the American economy.
However, what chance do YOU think America would have had to establish the industrial capacity demonstrated during that wartime mobilization effort if we had remained mired in the kind of economic and social morass that was common in 1930? Where would the engineers and skilled laborers who built tanks, aircraft, submarines and ships have come from? Who would have been able to organize it all?
Building social capacity for great endeavors is hard work that does not provide an immediately visible result in statistics. It needs teachers, devoted students, and continued practice to refine skills and develop new techniques. Today;s nuclear power industry has a chance to reinvent itself and to provide the literal spark needed for a great burst of creative energy akin to that made possible by the electrification, industrialization and transportation construction efforts completed during the 1930s as America righted itself from a decade of excessive consumption and wealth concentration – the 1920s.
We need to be a nation of producers first, then we can begin consuming again.
(BTW – my father was one of those people from “the backward south” whose education was enabled by the efforts of the New Deal. Partly as a result of the improved education system in rural Georgia and northern Florida enabled by New Deal efforts, he did well in high school and was receptive to the technical training provided by the Navy during his WWII service. He also managed to eat during the 1930s because of the income opportunities provided to Grandpa on several of the public works projects of the WPA. This is personal for me.)