Last week, I had the opportunity to present a picture of the new paradigm represented by the New Suez Canal and World Land-Bridge to an assembly of 45 civil engineers in Manhattan, as the invited guest lecturer. This was one of series of official “continuing education” lectures that engineers are required to attend several times a year to maintain their state licenses. Many of the attendees enthusiastically became contacts, and at least four reports on our program were sold. In the two-part presentation, with a dinner break in the middle, the Suez Canal expansion project served to set the stage.
The opportunity to make strong polemics and engage the engineers came in the second presentation, focused on the World Land-Bridge in its entirety, and the physical economic concepts of Lyndon LaRouche that guided its creation. Starting with physical economics from the standpoint of potential relative population density, Prometheus's gifts of fire and the ability to know that makes us human, and the higher types of energy flux density that have characterized overall economic and human development, infrastructure could be put in its proper context: as the most important means of translating discoveries into physical action.
From that standpoint, a world tour of the Land-Bridge led the engineers through the world of the future. One interjected in the middle of the presentation, "is this a dream?" He was eager for such projects, but simply couldn’t imagine them being built.
With the big picture on the table, the discussion was animated and voluble. The contrast between what should be and what seems possible came to the fore. Among the interactions:
- One engineer remarked that there must be some big lack in our political system, which prevents people from seeing the big picture. In the old days, the ASCE had the 'big picture' outlook. But now, they all go from small project to small project.
- One remarked that with a bunch of lawyers and only one engineer in Congress, there’s no wonder that a long-term approach isn’t being taken. The need to organize events and make the citizenry aware of the potential new paradigm was stressed. Decades of organizing by the LaRouche movement has made this the official policy of a growing part of the world -- success is possible!
- An engineer with the NYC DOT spoke about having known the American inventor of magnetic levitation for trains, when she was at Brookhaven National Labs. He once told her that he went everywhere in the United States, to try to get Mag-Lev worked on, but they all said no. And now look, it's elsewhere in the world.
- An audience member said that engineers really should be as respected as doctors.
- For important political decisions in D.C., the DOT engineer shouted out, "The engineers should have the last word!"
- Responding to a question about the national debt, I answered that trying to reduce debt by cutting expenses was a deadly prescription. Rather, engage credit to create projects that more than repay the physical expense of building them. For example, the TVA repaid its loans directly, but even the increased income tax collected in the region, attributable to TVA-created growth, was enough to pay for the project. User fees do not measure the value of public works! And consider the Apollo program: the payback was 10-to-1, but the returns on the investment were in a higher type of economy than the expenses. Economic value is not a scalar quantity.
In the excited discussion that continued afterwards, a third of the attendees signed up as contacts, many quite eager to find ways of collaborating on making this vision a reality, with one suggesting a book tour on the World Land-Bridge report. Additional speaking invitations are expected.