The Greatest Crisis in Modern History
Lyndon LaRouche gave this webcast address on May 8, 2010, in Northern Virginia. It was chaired by his national spokeswoman Debra Freeman. (The webcast is archived here.) The transcript of the question-and-answer period is available here. A PDF version of the transcript of LaRouche's presentation and the question-and-answer period which followed, is available here.
Debra Freeman: Good afternoon, everyone.
There was no way we possibly could have known when we scheduled this event, that it would come at such an incredible moment in time, when the crises that we have been discussing, the crises that Mr. LaRouche forecast, would all come to a head, in what seems to be a single moment. And in that single moment, it is also the case, and it is increasingly clear, to people in the United States, and, indeed, all over the world, that the only functioning economist, who has an overview of what caused this crisis, and of how to fix it, is Lyndon LaRouche.
Lyndon LaRouche: There are two topics which I shall address today, apart from what I shall treat, as questions come in, as I respond to those questions. The first will be on the immediate crisis. The second will be on what we do, if we succeed in installing the policy which is needed to deal with this crisis. The first part is elementary, and the second part is scientific.
Now, we have a piece of legislation, in the form of an amendment, and there's some other legislation around it, in the Congress. It's legislation sponsored by a group of leading Republicans and Democrats, who are determined that this policy of Obama's shall not go through: that the legislation, as Obama intends, will be blocked, and he will fail. And this may probably be the actual approach to the end of his run as President.
Now, what has happened is not a domestic U.S. affair—it is a domestic U.S. affair, but it's not, in nature, a domestic U.S. affair. What has happened is, the entire British system—the British system is not the British monarchy, though the British monarchy itself is a part of that system; it's the international financial system, which is under the leadership of Jacob Rothschild as an agent of the British monarchy. The core of this thing is called the Inter-Alpha Group.
Now, the Inter-Alpha Group's chief victim, officially, is the euro: All the nations which are part of the euro, are the first target of disaster. However, the controlling feature of this euro system has been, since the end of 1989, the British system. The euro system is a puppet of the British Empire. The most powerful influence in the British Empire, financially, has been centered in the group called the Inter-Alpha Group, with many different kinds of extensions, whose power is located largely among the pirates of the Caribbean.
For example, the people who own Russia today, financially, have their headquarters in the Caribbean—and they are pirates. Their offices are there. And the Russian economy is presently controlled by pirates of the Caribbean, some of whom speak Russian—for example, in Antigua, you can't get a hotel room if you don't have a Russian accent. So, that's the nature of the situation.
The Greek Bailout Has Backfired
What has happened is this: The attempt to pull a swindle—which apparently is successful, in one sense, using a bailout of Greece, to try to wreck the nations of the continent of Europe, the euro group—has backfired, and has struck at the heart of the system, the euro system, which is controlled by the British monarchy, the British Empire group. What happened on Thursday [May 6], for example, in the United States, was a reflection of this. We are approaching a point, which is coinciding with the Greek bailout issue, which is a fake: Greece should not have been bailed out. They should have, as a sovereign nation, gone through a reorganization of their finances, under sovereign direction. Trying to pull all Europe, into support of a Greek bailout, is the intention to ruin all of Europe, simultaneously.
Now we did what we could to cause that to backfire. And it did backfire. It's backfired. And there was a mood shift in Europe, including in the German election campaign in North Rhine-Westphalia, during the past two weeks; a sudden shift in the mood, expressed in the population, which is a reflection of this process.
What happened is, the gambling on Wall Street, was intermingled with a superior force which controls Wall Street. Wall Street is controlled by the British Empire; it is not an American possession. So now, what you're seeing as a U.S. crisis, is really the British crisis, because the British system is about to blow! It has reached the point of blowing.
So what happened was, essentially, the Obama Administration—Obama himself is a British puppet, he's not really an American. He may be an American by birth—that's a highly debated subject, but nonetheless, he's nominally American. But he's not American in spirit, or in direction, or ownership. He's owned by the British Empire, via the rotten British extension into Chicago. He's a puppet.
So this puppet is going to be ordered to assist the British, at the expense of the United States in this process. Not everybody in the United States is either stupid or a traitor. There are some people here, in politics, who are not traitors. And this happens to include a couple of people, such as Sen. John McCain, and Sen. Maria Cantwell, and others—Feingold and others—and they are not going to sit by and see the United States destroyed. So they have moved to jam up the so-called Dodd bill. The end of the Dodd bill, the change in the Dodd bill is already stuck in there, in another piece of legislation, inside the Senate proceedings. But, you have a determined group of people who know that the British system is about to collapse. And know that if the United States does not take appropriate action to defend the United States against a collapse of the British system, we go down!
So therefore, the people behind McCain-Cantwell and so forth, are acting not as factitious politicians, they're acting as patriots. And the guys who oppose them are not acting as patriots! Because, if the British system goes down, the euro system goes down—as it will go down—one way or the other, it's doomed! This system is finished, and nobody can save it. The question is, are we going to go down with it? And those on Wall Street who support the President's policy in this, are the traitors. Because they're willing to sacrifice the United States, for the interests of Britain.
So, you have some patriots in the United States: John McCain. What is John McCain? He's a Republican; but that isn't what's important about him. He's a soldier, or a sailor. He comes from several generations of leading figures in the U.S. Naval tradition. He's a patriot. What he's reacting to is a not a question of factitious advantage for one political party or interest or another; he's reacting as a patriot! So is Maria Cantwell, and so are others, Feingold and so forth, involved in this: They're acting as patriots! To mobilize a defense of the United States, against the oncoming total collapse of the international financial-monetary system in its present form. Because if we defend the United States system, against our incumbent President, among others, and Europe goes down, we in the United States can launch the recovery of Europe; by extending the Glass-Steagall system, which we intend to reimpose here, now, into Europe, we can cause a recovery of Europe.
Monopoly Money or Glass Steagall
What's the situation here? Most of what people consider financial assets, are totally worthless. They're derivatives. They're gambling—they're side-bets on gambling for side-bets. They do not represent real, physical-economic assets. They're frauds. We're talking about hundreds, or maybe quadrillions of nominal dollars out there, as the world's financial assets in debt—which ain't worth nuthin'! And it's gambling. It's as if you took the game of Monopoly, and you brought the game of Monopoly into Wall Street, and now you play with Monopoly money. And you declare you have a great victory. And then somebody comes, and asks you to pay the bill for whatever they're serving that night, and they don't have any real money, they have only Monopoly money. What happens? The game is over. And that's what we're dealing with. You're dealing with a system which is based on Monopoly money. All these financial derivatives, this vast amount of money, all this bailout is all fake and fraudulent!
So, what do we do, using the Glass-Steagall approach? We take the entire system, reestablish Glass-Steagall, and under Glass-Steagall, we cancel all the Monopoly money. And we defend the integrity of legitimate obligations, of the type we have in regular banks.
Now, what's happened since 2007, especially since 2008, we have destroyed the integrity of the banking system. It was done deliberately, by a crazy gentleman from up near Cape Cod, in Massachusetts, who is not very sane, and he's not very intelligible, but he's a stinking nuisance, nonetheless. So, we have destroyed what we could have saved: In other words, in the Summer of 2007, I specified this: We could have then acted, without any great crisis, to stabilize the U.S. economy. We didn't do it! Because of Barney Frank and what he represented, what was behind him.
So, we didn't do what we should have done. This rolled over, with the beginning of a series of swindles, into what happened in 2008. That was under Bush. Then we went, in order to cover the crimes we had committed, we went to bailout! And now, we have a hungry and desperate U.S. population, by and large. They're on the verge of mass starvation, literally, a total breakdown. And the question is: Who do we support? Do we support the people of the United States? Do we support essential industries? Do we support municipalities and their functioning? Do we support the nation itself? Or, do we support foreigners, the bailout monsters, typified by the British Empire? We make that choice: We say: "Well, we don't owe you guys a thing. We have a Constitution, and what's been happening to us, is a violation of our Constitution."
If we do as Franklin Roosevelt did, when Roosevelt saved the United States from a correspondingly similar catastrophe, in 1933, by Glass-Steagall. Glass-Steagall is not some wild innovation; it's simply the principle of the U.S. Federal Constitution. But it needed a specific law, addressed to a specific situation, to defend our nation against this threat. And that's Glass-Steagall.
Now, Larry Summers, who is a mental case, got in there, with a morals case, called Geithner, and that didn't help anything at all.
So now, we've reached the point where we're part of a British system—the whole international system! You don't know who owns what. It's like a vast game, at electronic speed—and very complicated games, where people were hedging against other people, then trying to come up with a hedge, against a hedge, against a hedge, against a hedge!
So, what happened on Thursday, as the intensity of trying to cover their butt against the British collapse, occurred, it blew out! The whole thing blew out, because it was no longer controllable! An incalculable development occurred—but it was pre-calculable that it would occur! When you take into account the insanity of the people who have been running the banking system and the financial system in the United States, and the insanity of the current President. There was no provision to avoid this.
So, we had a total collapse, in the stock markets on Thursday. What caused it? The British crisis! The British crisis.
An Avalanche: The Patriotic Majority
What do you get as a reaction? As I said, I made certain remarks about John McCain, and Maria Cantwell. Take McCain in particular. So, he's a patriot. What is emerging now, is a split and reorganization of the two leading parties. And who knows what other complications may occur, as well. What you have, now, is you have a Republican-Democratic faction, typified by McCain and Cantwell, but only typified by that. And this is a rapidly growing movement among leading politicians inside the United States, on both sides of the aisle. The leadership that is opposing the Obama plan, and the British, is, admittedly, still a nominal minority. But with the backing of the American people, it is no longer a minority.
Now, what's the backing of the American people? All those people you saw in August of 2009, out there saying, "We want to kill you," to the politicians they had elected. "You betrayed us. We want to kill you, over health care." So now, you've got a situation, in which, the population will not sustain the nominal majority for Obama, in the Congress. The population itself will not sustain or support that. They will capitulate to it, or not! And when they're clear, that they have a target, by means of which they can challenge this, they will do it.
What they want, is for well-known, leading political figures, or similar figures, of the United States, to step forward as a group, and say, "We think the time has come, to stop this nonsense." Then the majority of the people of the United States, right now, are ready to support any political leadership, which they consider credible, which is willing to do that.
And therefore, John McCain and Maria Cantwell, the Senators, with their associates, are now, like an avalanche rolling down the side of a mountain, and picking up material, steam, and numbers, as it goes.
They are now determined to put a block, on any effort to thrust through a Dodd bill, without the Glass-Steagall in it. They will jam up the works, and they have the ability to do so. And we're also in the process, where, behind them, is the sight, clearly more visible, roaring more loudly, of the avalanche, sliding down the mountain slope. It's a matter of timing. There'll be an overwhelming majority, in the United States, a patriotic majority, which is spreading rapidly—it's spreading like wildfire right now, implicitly unstoppable—which is going to be behind the McCain-Cantwell-led opposition.
We will probably have a Glass-Steagall vote soon, in the political process, or the equivalent of a Glass-Steagall vote.
We will also have alarmed the British, by what we're doing. The British will know, we have sent them to Hell! Where they will be warmly received! And that's where we stand.
Two Factors in History
We're now in the position to change history. This is the way it happens. You have two factors in history: You have the so-called objective factor: the way things are moving, the perception of interest, the fears, the hopes of people. And you would say, "Well, why don't these things control politics at all times?" Well, it doesn't. You come to a change in a general mood—it was the kind of thing that Shelley refers to in the close of his A Defence of Poetry. People at large are gripped by something they do not always understand. But it compels them to act in a certain way, perceived in their own interest. And generally, often, it represents a nobler quality, aroused in that people, than they had represented before.
The American Revolution is typical of that. It happened here. It was an isolated situation; we weren't in Europe. And the Americans, here, realized they had to defend what they had established in North America, and they did it. They had support from people in Russia, France, Spain, and elsewhere—and we won our freedom. We won our republic.
We won also, the fight against the British in the Civil War. We won the fight against slavery. We won the fight against backwardness in general. We won the fight to develop the Western lands. We won the fight to unify the nation, as a transcontinental nation, from the Atlantic shore to the Pacific shore. We did that as a people, in this way. We suffered long periods of suffering, while we waited for this reform to take place. But the power of the reform, like a tidal movement, came upon us, and we were mobilized; when we found suitable leaders, we responded to them, and they saved us.
What you see in the McCain-Cantwell initiative is a timely response, the instinctive reaction of the American process, to a threat to our existence. Admittedly, most citizens don't understand fully what this is about. But they know the effects. They smell the doom coming down upon them. They know something needs to be done. And when someone says, like John McCain, or Senator Cantwell, and others, when they say, "We are mobilizing to defend this nation, from this awful thing, from this breakdown crisis that threatens us all—and you all know, your jobs are lost, your cities are hopeless, your water systems are breaking down—everything is going to Hell! You can not sit there. You've got to do something to change the situation. You can not let this continue the way it's going!"
And thus, you find a point—some politicians, some leading figures—that usually happens in anything like this: Some leading figures step forward. They talk to each other. They explore. They're cautious at first. Then they begin to discover they're attracting more members around them, into the same cause. They smell the acquisition of power, political power and influence. Now, they say: "We can jam the works up. We can jam the works up with a Glass-Steagall action." And Glass-Steagall action is now the thing that's on the agenda! The other things are waning! This is it! You're either with Glass-Steagall, or you're not in the real world. That's the situation.
Do we have the power, at this moment, to ram this through? Not quite yet! Not quite yet. But after my remarks today, which will be heard and will be discussed by relevant people—I'm not actually directly conspiring with them, but they know what I'm doing and I know what they're doing, and we don't really disagree very much! Because the thing that unites us, even though we come from different backgrounds, is, we're all patriots. That's the difference. And those who oppose us, are not really patriots, and that's the difference. When the American people are aroused, and have a clear cause and clear leadership, they will respond accordingly. And they're beginning to respond, right now.
And what's going to happen in Europe, in the coming days, is going to shape this thing, because the European system is now coming down! The enactment of the Greek bailout, has implications which mean, the present European monetary-financial system is now doomed! It has no life-expectancy. It's going to disintegrate. The British Empire is going to disintegrate. The British Empire is going to make threats against the United States, because of this Glass-Steagall reform. And it's only the British that are sympathetic to the opposition to Glass-Steagall now; or people who are duped by British influences of one kind or another. And Europe will go down.
Glass-Steagall: How It Will Work
But! If the United States is organized around a Glass-Steagall reform, what will happen? We will take—and most of this money that Wall Street claimed to own, and similar kinds of people, will vanish! Fwhpp! Gone! We discover, it's Monopoly money! We don't have to honor it! It's gone!
Well, that means that a lot of banks are going to go. Not all of them, because we can also rescue some banks. What we do, is, we walk into a bank with a Glass-Steagall writ in our hands, and we say, "We're going to sort out your accounts." Now, some of this—this big bucket over here, that's the wastebasket, and most of your financial claims are going to vanish from here as they go into that wastebasket. Now, you have a small amount over here, that is, the wastebasket is full of quadrillions of dollars, of worthless dollars, and what you will salvage is a modest part of the total, monstrous mass.
What will we do? Well, the United States has now rid itself of these debts to these swindlers from London, and from New York, and from Chicago, too—we're not going to honor them. Their money is now declared worthless. Their assets are declared worthless, are declared to be bunk. What happens? Well, if we have the right leadership in the United States government, everybody will join, or nearly everybody will—some will complain, but they will join. Why will they join? They want to survive. They need to be tapped into whoever has got the real money—and they will go along with that, especially if it's a fair deal.
And therefore, we're going to create a mass of loans, of Federal loans, on Federal credit. We're going to utter it under a Glass-Steagall standard, and we're going to start funding the banks that we save. We're going to take the parts of the banks that are worthless, that are parasitical, we're going to throw it away! It's gone! It's Monopoly money! We don't want Monopoly money any more here, not in the banking community! You try to play it—you're out.
All right, so now we've got a much more modest banking system, rid of all these parasites. And what do we do? Well, the Federal government can now utter money, utter credit, in the Congressional way. It goes into what? Into legitimate banks, mercantile banks or similar kinds of banks, to save savings banks and mercantile banks generally. And the other kind of thing—they are gone sooner rather than later.
So therefore, what do we do? Well, we don't have much in the way of building an economy any more. We pretty much destroyed it, especially in the past three years, under the succession of George the Turd and Obama. But, what we've got, is a shambles of what we once had, in terms of industries and infrastructure.
Like the water systems in the United States: The time has past—the time has past since 1966-68. In 1966-68, we reached a zero point, and started going down in basic economic infrastructure, as smart guys did what they did: You used to have a municipal water system, and the municipality as a corporation would own the water system. And the water system would have employees, who performed all the essential functions, including clean water, that sort of thing, repairing the pipes, maintaining the system.
But then, they decided that they could save money by farming it out to private interests. And the private interests would not maintain the full repair of the water systems. So therefore, you have in the cities and towns of the United States, many of them have lost their water systems. The water system is 60 or 100 years old; it has never been repaired. And we have a catastrophic rate of breakdown of municipal water systems. Because we employ cheap labor, with no pension guarantees, with none of these things that we used to give to public corporations which would serve the community, for water systems, for example. We have similar processes with power systems. All the kinds of things we used to get from municipalities and state organizations are gone! They're broken down.
So, what will we do? We will take two categories of infrastructure, and this money we issue, through this new act, under the authority of a new Glass-Steagall Act, the Federal government will now utter credit, which it will distribute in various ways, either directly in some cases; or, where it's an investment, we will often prefer to loan it to cities, municipalities, or to private corporations, for their investment. If we think the investment is a sound one, it's productive, it's creative, we'll do that.
Infrastructure To Rebuild a Ruined Economy
Now, the major part is going to be on infrastructure, because we don't have industry any more. We don't have really independent agriculture, any more. It's controlled by international agriculture, like Monsanto—which claims that it invented life! I don't know where they got that patent from, what screwball passed that thing through. But, we've got a lot of unemployed people. We've got to put them back to useful work, we've got to care for them; we've got to bail out the communities which are threatened with jeopardy, like these water crises, which all up and down the traditional cities and towns in the United States, are now in jeopardy in water supply!
And that's really a serious problem: Health-care problems! We've ruined the health-care system under the Nixon Administration, going to the HMO system, even before this mass-murderous system voted in by fools under Obama.
So, our population is threatened, by the stupidity of governments, from the time that somebody assassinated John Kennedy, to prevent him from opposing going into a war in Indo-China. And he was murdered to clear the way for a war in Indo-China, that the British wanted us to have. And since that time, we've been going downhill.
So, we've got a ruined economy. But we have American people, and we have an American tradition. We have a knowledge of what we used to do. We have an understanding of science, and I'll get into that, in the second part of what I'm going to say today. We have the options: So, we'll invest in infrastructure. But, in addition to going back to fixing up the possibility of living in communities, which no longer are just breaking down, where the water systems are being repaired; where transportation systems, educational systems, health-care systems, are being restored again, we're going to do some major things: We're going to build a worldwide, international, railway, magnetic-levitation transportation system. Every continent, except Australia, will be united and connected, and in depth, by an international rail system, or in the form of a magnetic-levitation system.
Actually, it is much cheaper, and more efficient, in many ways, to transport goods by rail than by shipping. Shipping is less efficient, more costly, than high-speed rail and magnetic levitation. We're going to connect the continents, from the Bering Strait (I understand Walter Hickel died, the former governor of Alaska, who was an active supporter of the Bering Strait bridge). So, we will connect all of Eurasia—Africa, fully, by rail systems and power systems, and health-care systems, that sort of thing. A system of infrastructure. We will reach from the Alaska straits, down to the tip of South America. The whole area will become one area of development, continuing the intention of the Lincoln Administration in installing the Transcontinental Railway. We're going to build a world system, among nation-states, sovereign nation-states, which is capable of being the vehicle for the recovery of the world economy.
We are also going to have to, of course, develop new industries. We're going to change the character of the U.S. economy. For example, we have destroyed much of the development which existed in the central and western lands of the United States. We destroyed it! We built super-congestion, around Washington, D.C., for example, which is insane! You used to have industrial development, or municipal development, of a finite size, and a finite area. Then you would have an area between that and the next city, which was generally toward rural, and involved agriculture.
The idea, in the old days, was to have townships and cities built where you could commute to work in less than half an hour each way, each day—preferably 15 minutes. And to provide mass-transit systems for people to be able to do that, in a short period of time. Today, we have people commuting, around Washington, for an hour and a half to two hours each way, each day. What does that do to family life? What does that do to the culture of the society? Similar kinds of things. The schools are a mess.
So, our infrastructure of the nation, and among nations is wrong! We have to build that infrastructure. It's high-speed, it's a big investment, it's a long-term investment—we have to do it. Ah! But that long-term investment, in water systems, transportation systems, power systems, so forth, and in space systems—I'll get to that later—these investments will be the driver for distributing credit into the new industries, which will spring up, as a result of this reform.
In other words, what's the market for industry, and for the products of industry? The market lies largely in the Federal government's role in organizing credit for basic economic infrastructure. The jobs you create in infrastructure become the echo and the stimulant for the jobs you create in industries, which supply support for the undertaking of building the infrastructure. Like the Tennessee Valley Authority under Roosevelt, a perfect example of what I mean. We can do TVA type approaches throughout the world. These are not some kind of trick, these are essential.
Therefore, if the Federal government, through the mercantile banking system, now under a Glass-Steagall system, can supply credit, we will deliver credit; under the old Roosevelt-style precautions, we'll deliver that credit through banking institutions, in order to fund investments in necessary production in private industry. And that's the way we'll build the economy.
Bring Back the CCCs
We have a population which has been ruined over the recent 20 to 30 years. It's no longer productive. We have a whole layer of youth, who are absolutely unqualified for employment in anything! Except masturbation. [laughter] And therefore, we've got to do something with them, and you have to go back to the example of what Roosevelt did in the 1930s, typified by the CCC [Civilian Conservation Corps]. You've got to take these young people, who have no qualifications for honest work, get them off dope, get them to live a normal life, and start to organize a normal life. We did that with the CCCs: We took these young people, and we put them in camps, where they would do useful work, as in forestry, for example.
Now, we got, for example, a famous military division out of Michigan, on the basis of this program in Michigan alone. And these fellows did a fair job in fighting in World War II in Europe. So then, they became a part of the essential basis for our industrial potential in that part of the world, when they returned. Of those that did return.
So that's the way we do it. We invest in things, and we get social programs of investment which will channel people from uselessness, into initial skills and then into the ability to have a full spectrum of productive capabilities. And enough of that, so the entire population is in it. We're going to eliminate a lot of so-called social work and other kinds of entertainment, because you get a higher ratio of actually physically productive work; and that's what we have to do.
So, that approach will work.
And what we're forced to do, as McCain and Cantwell and others are doing, in this initiative they've launched now—you're going to find this spreading, very, very rapidly, throughout the entire political system. The system is not going to look the same a week from now, as it does today. It's going to change. And the Obama Administration is doomed—one way or the other. Either the United States doesn't do this and we go to Hell, and then he's gone that way. Or, we decide to become sensible, and he's gone that way. He's out. We'll find someplace where he can be kept as a museum piece, well-fed, nourished, but away from people. That's the way we treat our mental cases, we try to protect them, take care of them, be humane, provide a safe place where they are not going to be harmful to other people. And that's the way you have to do with him.
So, it'll be changed one of these two ways, and the change is coming on now.
What will happen? Well, you're going to find that the Republican and Democratic parties are going to all re-assort themselves. They'll re-assort themselves, according to national interest. You see it now, right now, with this coalition around McCain and Cantwell. The party lines are being crossed. Why? Because the party lines are no longer relevant to the people, to the citizens. So those who will stand up on one side, may be not new parties, but will be a coalition. A coalition of people who stand for one set of principles, as opposed to those who oppose it. And that is going to happen very rapidly, if we are to survive!
Now, what is the long-term view of this thing? Well, I'm having a lot of fun: I have a number of young people associated with me, who represent a very significant quality of talent. And we have a thing we call "The Basement," which is only a name for a part of the whole operation, and we are in the process—this Basement operation is a scientific operation, which services and intersects a lot of our youth work and other work.
But we recently decided, we're in a position to go further, and it's quite relevant to all of this, because—and I've said this on several occasions before; I'll say it again right now: People live and die. And as they're still living and about to die, or think they might be about to die, they think about burial, or something tantamount to burial. They think about being tucked away as a dead person, someplace where their memory, the memory of their existence, as typified by tombstones and cemeteries, will suggest to them that there was a purpose in their having lived, a purpose in life. And if you take that away from people, if they don't have a sense of a purpose in having lived, once they face the reality of death, at which point they have only one thing: The sense of an importance of purpose in their having lived. They're not monkeys, they're not animals: They're people, they're thinking people, creative people. And therefore, this is the thing that really gives the glue to society, and its future: Does my life, is this whole story about resurrection, merely a story to quiet us down? Or is there something in which we participate, during our lifetimes, which will mean something for humanity into the indefinite future of mankind?
The problem is, that we have so many attempts to deal with that requirement—because most people, who are decent people do, always, think in those terms; they think in terms of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. That's one way of expressing it. They remember in their family circles, and otherwise in their communities, the people who are deceased, what they did, what they contributed, and we honor them, and we hope that our passing will build a score for us, that we, too, are honorable in the future of humanity, after we've passed on.
Can we say, though, that mankind is really going to pass on, successfully, in this way? Is there really a meaningful connection between our living now, and our descendants and the communities we live in? Are we really doing something of which mankind can be proud, indefinitely, to all future generations? Can we say mankind—whatever happens to the universe—mankind will remain a useful, powerful force for good, in the universe? And do we actually think about that in a way, which corresponds to scientific reality?
Well, since a very elementary thing is that our Solar System is a fairly young system in our galaxy, and the Sun is a young sun; you can call it a sun of this, or sun of that, but it's a young Sun. And the planetary system which it has, is something that it spun off and developed when it was young. And you have these planets. But you know, also: It's not going to stay this way forever.
We look at the history of galaxies, for example. Planets come and go, suns come and go! And we're stuck on Earth, with this Sun? We're gambling the future of all humanity on the assumption that this Sun is not going to blow up on us, which it will do, eventually anyway, unless we find some way to control it. And the Earth is going to become uninhabitable long before that time! So where is the future of humanity? Where can a human being, who's conscious of what it is to be a human being, find the succor of certainty that humanity is going to exist? And animals don't have that, only human beings do.
And if we don't have that assurance, then what happens to our morality? Then it becomes whatever we choose, as a fantasy, to replace the lack of certainty.
The main function of society has to be recognized now, especially in this present time of crisis: That we have to give mankind a credible assurance, that we, the existing population today, as well as those who came before us, will find a meaning in their having lived, in the future of mankind throughout the existence of this universe to come! Until we do that, we have not really given a rational response to the desire of any sensible person, to hope that the outcome of their life is meaningful for humanity.
Now, in the United States, in its creation, there's a very strong element of that, of that belief and that commitment. In the recent generations, we have lost that. That was lost when we decided to go "green." I guess that's what happens to your body, when you go dead, it turns green.
So, we've gone green: We no longer think in terms of "What if...?" "What if the Sun is going to blow up?" Are we taking steps to prepare for dealing with that eventuality, to maintain humanity, despite that threat? Are we developing scientific knowledge and capabilities which lead in that direction? Are we learning how to go to different planets, for a temporary stopping place on our way out to some distant part of the galaxy, or some new galaxy? Are we thinking in those directions? I am. Why shouldn't you?
Now, I've got some young fellows here, and they are willing to do that. That's our Basement program. We are now dealing with the practical program of how we can work out—and it's not that easy; it's no simple thing. It's going to take a lot of work: How can we put mankind, or some people, safely on the planet Mars? How can we safely transport them to the planet Mars, now that we know some of the problems of long-distance flight in space travel, the biological problems. We think these problems are soluble. We're working on it. And we're looking, harking back to a current in modern science which was thinking in that direction, the current in modern science, which gave us the original initiative for space travel.
The other thing we have, from what we know of space science, in terms of, for example, the Kennedy thrust, for reactivating space science. At the beginning of the 1970s, our assessment of the space program was, that our investment in the science of the space program, gave us 10 cents of productive potential, for every penny we spent on the actual program. The science program was the most beneficial program we had, with the highest rate of return to pure scientific development. And what happened: We were shutting it down, from the middle of the 1960s on. What we launched in the Moon landing and so forth, was a product of what had already been previously accomplished in scientific terms. We began to lose that capability that we'd been given, even while we were doing the initial space explorations!
So there we have, now, a history of where the world was going, with space science, which is in this relevant direction. If we can say that we are prepared, if necessary—in some future time, when necessary—to transport humanity to safe places away from a dangerous Sun, and a dangerous condition on Earth, if we can say that, then we have a moral authority for the organization of society around a sense of purpose. And we don't have to have fake explanations of this.
That's our destiny: We are a very peculiar species. No other species is like us. And we want to save that species. We're going to assure that, if you do something good in your lifetime, that the benefit that you generate, will be preserved to the advantage of future generations. And that's humanity: You're tied, morally, spiritually, to the people of the future, and the people of the past. You feel like a real human being, a human being which has a purpose for existing in this universe.
So, we are concentrating on something which will become successful, particularly if we get this thing going in solving the problem immediately before us.
The Fakery of Money
Because, the great fakery that we have to deal with today, is: Money is fake. The conception of money is fake. Money is not a measure of value. Money was a vehicle, which we used, as in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, and in other good cases—we used money as a system of credit, which was necessary to organize society for certain kinds of projects which are physically beneficial to society, and to its well-being, health, and so forth; and freedom. So, that is the real meaning of economy: Is the contributions to the future of humanity, through a commitment to discovering new ways of solving old and new problems. This is physical. It is not monetary.
The monetary system is a convenient way of organizing exchanges, and, in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, before the Andros takeover, that system was already working. That is a peculiar American System. And the foundations of the American System were laid there, in Massachusetts, during that period in that time. And our design of economy was always based on that, in all good times.
So, let's go back to that. And say, let's look not at money economy, let's look at physical economy, and let's say that money is necessary, as currency, in an economy, but it's not the purpose of the economy. It's a means of organizing the efforts of economy. The value of what is produced lies in the value for humanity, not in a money value. The money value is simply a way of organizing production, production and distribution. So, let's look at things in that way for a change.
What is physical economy? That's the real economy. How do you increase the productive powers of labor? What do you need to produce to solve these challenges for humanity? What is the physical science you need to master, to understand how you could increase the power of a person productively, per capita? Even under conditions in which the richness of resources is being lessened, relatively, by depletion of the most rich resources, like iron ore, other things. How do we do that? Well, we get new technologies, we go to higher energy-flux-densities of production, all these kinds of things that are all physical.
Well, you go back; where did the solution to this thing come from? You have a gentleman, who was important, even during the beginning of the last century, Max Planck, who founded a branch of science, which was called "physical economy"; or actually, "physical chemistry," as such, but physical economy, as well. And his work led to the work of such geniuses, and other followers of Bernhard Riemann, as Albert Einstein, for example; as William Draper Harkins; as Vladimir Vernadsky, and others.
And these people, who were followers of the school of science of Bernhard Riemann, made a revolution, during the course, from the time of Planck's early discoveries, up until the recent time. And these discoveries give us access to understanding some of the primitive problems which face us in space travel. If we want to send people into space, we've got problems we have to solve. And it's only by thinking in terms of a physical science, and defined in these terms, of physical chemistry, that we have been able to crack this.
Cosmic Radiation: Space Is Not Empty
We also have the fact that space is not empty. We've got a program on this one, too, that's going on in the Basement. It's only in the primitive stages, but it's going to be very important. There is no empty space; between Earth orbit and Mars orbit, there's no empty space. You may not see it, because you don't have the sense-organs to sense it as a sensory experience directly. But it's out there. It's all kinds of cosmic radiation—thick with it! If you want to go to Mars on an accelerated scale—which you have to do, because 300 days in space travel at a lateral speed, is not very good for your health. You might arrive as a piece of blubber. So you need some special conditions and you have to do it fairly expeditiously, to take this trip. And we have to plow through that, that area—and there many other implications.
So we are actually pulling together, odds and ends of people who have contributions to make to this area of science. And the importance, the moral importance of this, for this occasion here, this subject here, is, we need to give young people, who are totally demoralized, and others, who have become demoralized, we need to give them a clear sense that there's a road we're going to travel, which is going to lead in the direction of certain kinds of things which must occur. And this includes this area of the development of this department of physical science, which involves some very important changes. We only have, now, we only have a preliminary sketch of what the nature of the problem is. A great amount of research is going to be required; it will take several generations to do the kinds of things we're talking about, even under optimal conditions. But we have to give mankind a new moral perspective, more durable than the fragile ones we have had before.
And we should go into this crisis, because when you walk out on the streets from here, and you say, "Well, the Glass-Steagall revival has occurred," you're still going to see destitution. You're going to see mass unemployment, crummy conditions. How do you say, you can walk out to that with optimism, if you do not have a clear sense of building the future? And therefore, you need to have a sense, a teaching of physical science, for example, which is consistent with that moral concern, not that you're going to go to another galaxy now, in your lifetime. I certainly am not! So I don't have any illusions about that! But I do have a concern about what comes after me, which is the normal thing for any healthy human being. And I have to think about what I'm contributing to what comes after me. And I have to think in terms of a satisfactory answer to those questions! Can I say that what I think is coming after me, in some sense, is valid? And that's a matter of science.
And what we have to do, is to shift the teaching of science and teaching of economics, away from what we've been conventionally concerned with: Money! Who's got the money? Who's got the money? And you see how worthless money is today, since Greenspan came in.
So therefore, we have to have a more durable conception of the value of man, of the value of our work, and the value of the future we hope we are creating. And let's take this occasion—it's the only thing that's important right now, because it's going to determine the course of future history: Is the Glass-Steagall reform, which is now on the table, going to be immediately implemented, to prevent the United States from joining the British in going to Hell? Because, if not, we don't have a future, at least, not for a long time to come. If we do, then there is a future.
And then, once we decide we're going to do that, how do we maintain the morale, the moral character of our populations? We do that, by providing them the assurance, of a knowable, understandable science education and practice, where they can understand, in their own terms of reference, at least in good approximation, that mankind has a future! And that we must organize our policy, not simply for our comfort—we must do that; but we must organize our policy, with a view to what is going to happen to future generations of humanity. We have to earn the respect of future humanity! That we are not only providing the solutions for these problems, or the seed for the solutions, but we are creating a system, of commitment, which will ensure that we will continue to progress in that direction, indefinitely; and will give people some sense, of what the practical measures are, which can lead to that result.
The Choice: Hell or Heaven
So, let's take the issue: The issue of the collapse of society, the collapse of the present world system, which is now ongoing, which exploded in your face on Thursday, in the stock market, and which is going to explode in a higher form this coming week, because it's already exploding. Are you going to respond to this, with this change, which I indicate—the Glass-Steagall reform? Otherwise, if you're not going to respond to the Glass-Steagall reform now, you're wasting your time by being alive! It's true. This is the only thing that's morally significant: Are we willing to commit ourselves to this Glass-Steagall perspective now?! Now, that leading political forces have put the thing on the table? It's the only thing that'll save us, and there's nothing else worth doing. Anything else is a damned waste of time! Just babble.
So let's take the position: Understand the crisis; we can solve it. We have a core of recognized American leaders, who are now leading an effort which will grow very rapidly, not only in the United States, but will grow also, by reputation, in Europe and elsewhere. Let us assume that we are going to win! Because there's no time worth spending on the alternative: You're looking at Hell or Heaven. And once you've made the choice, then you'd better start exploring Heaven. Not going there faster—that may happen, but in terms of: You are committed to ensure, that our victory, over the enemy, our victory through initiation of a Glass-Steagall reform, will empower actions, which will lead to the salvation of mankind, from the kind of threat that's immediate.
And once we do that, we have to think seriously about what are the characteristics of the moral standard by which society should make policies? And I suggest, that we have to think in terms of the new physics, the new form of the physics, of physical chemistry, typified by the gentleman I've named, and use that as a standard of challenge, for the missions of mankind. Every generation and every group of generations, must have a mission: For example, some of you in this room are in your 20s, some are in their 30s; some are somewhat older, like me.
So therefore, what are we going to contribute to the future of mankind? What's our ability, what's the roadmap we have to work out, for the future of mankind? That's what's needed.
So, we will now have some questions thrown at me. And you can observe the spectacle.