Your observations on the U.S. are essentially correct. Not so
with regard to the USSR. In 1950 Soviet industry was one-eighth
that of the U.S. That's when the real arms race began, yet the
USSR managed to narrow the gap to one-half or less by 1990. So
while the arms race slowed growth there (while stimulating it
here: that's capitalism), it did not stop or prevent it. It was
the burgeoning burocracy needed in the absence of a market to run
an economy producing 10,000,000 different items by 1990 that
> 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
-- To be removed from list, e-mail "Opt Out." You may find of interest website www.BillMandel.net
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Jul 17 2000 - 19:58:41 CUT