Re: [sixties-l] Re: Horowitz corporations

Date: Sun Jul 16 2000 - 03:17:32 CUT

  • Next message: Richard Waddell: "Re: [sixties-l] Re: Horowitz corporations"

    In a message dated 00-07-15 18:45:17 EDT, W Mandel writes:

    >But it was also my business to learn, and to tell my KPFA
    >audiences, that the country that had led the world in building
    >the world's largest and most powerful long-distance aircraft
    >later lost out in the passenger transport industry because the
    >inefficiencies of that society led to an inability to make engines
    >that could compete with ours.
     I can't comment at the moment on the state of affairs in
     mass transit in the Soviet Union, but I do know that the
     political and economic power of the auto industry in the
     USA went a long way toward the destruction of mass
     transit in this country. The whole sordid story was told
     in a document prepared for Congress in 1974 by economic
     historian Bradford Snell. It was entitled American Ground

     In the 1950s Oklahoma City, where I am from, had two
     beautiful railroad stations and was served by 20 passenger
     trains a day. By 1979, there was no passengere train
     service in the entire state of Oklahoma. Last summer an
     Amtrak route from OkC to Ft. Worth was restored, but
     service is limited to one round trip a day.

     Another large reason why passenger train service declined
     in the USA was because the Postal Service decided to
     stop shipping mail on the trains.

    >The absence of a market led to an inability to
    >understand that plastics could and should replace steel in many
    >fields and, above all, a failure to get into mass production of
    >computers although they already had some of the most powerful in
    >order to do their Sputnik calculations.

     I think a big factor inhibiting the production of more and better
     consumer goods in the USSR was the arms race -- largely
     inspired by a military threat from the US. Too much of their
     energies and talents were consumed by trying to keep up.

     Considering the fact that at least a third of their industrial
     capacity was destroyed by the Nazi onslaught, the Soviet
     economy was doing well in the postwar period to maintain
     the standard of living achieved.

    >I don't like boom-boxes. I don't have a cell phone. But I
    >don't want a society that will dictate to others that they can't
    >have them.

      Probably the majority of cities have noise control ordinances
      which prohibit noise aggressors from blasting their junk sounds
      in such a way as to impose on others. The problem is generally
      weak enforcement efforts.

      These ordinances not only should be enforced, but need to be
      updated to keep up with the current generation of audio
      terrorists. As for boom cars, in many places there is no way
      to operate the equipment for them legally. The whole point
      is to make noise to "be heard" and aggravate others. This
      equipment should be confiscated. For more on this, see my
      articles at this web site:

      Click on English and then library online.

      As for cell phones, they are clearly dangerous when used
      in motor vehicles. They also should be prohibited in
      libraries, classrooms, and restaurants.

      Ever had to hear an electronic "Pop Goes the Weasel"
      while trying to read a book?

    >As to Baran and Sweezy, I beg to differ. Sweezy got stars in
    >his eyes over Mao's Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution.
    >Baran's prediction of a stagnant capitalism is obvious nonsense.

     We hear a lot about our "booming economy" and marvelously
     "low unemployment." It is true that many low-paying jobs
      have been created in the last two decades.

      Been to Dallas lately? The trend in residential construction
      is huge mansions for the super-rich and apartments and
      condos for everyone else. The builders understand what's
      been happening in the American economy for the past 30

      And what's been happening has been upward redistribution
      of wealth and income.

      The typical American of the not-too-distant future will have
      his cell phone, hand-held computer, huge video screen,
      boom box, and other gadgets -- all crowded into a 600-sq.
      foot living space. Let's just hope that the walls aren't so
      thin that the neighbors' boom boxes will keep him from sleeping.

     ~ Michael Wright

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