Ottawa conference on NAWAPA
Canada and the Coming Eurasian World
11 December 2007
Keynote address and dialogue with Lyndon LaRouche
We’re presently at a point of a great world crisis. It’s one of the biggest—probably will be unless we can control it—the biggest crisis in modern European history. We had something in the 14th century, the so-called New Dark Ages, with collapse of a number of the banks of Italy, the Lombard banks, so-called. We’re facing something similar today, but in a different time, with different characteristics.
There are remedies. But the remedies require a certain kind of optimism about the future of mankind. And here we are, in the United States, Mexico, and Canada, which essentially is the hard-core of the northern hemisphere of the Americas. We’re also at a point that we have an option for close co-development with parts of Asia, particularly the Russian part of Asia, the connection between northern Siberia, and northern Alaska and Canada is fairly obvious. Here we have areas to the northern part of the hemisphere, in two continents, which are very thinly populated, but rich in mineral resources and other kinds of resources, and also which are capable of supplying improvements in the water management, fresh water management of the respective continents, or the northern part of the continents.
And if we can link these, as we can, that is, Siberia to Canada, Alaska, and down into the States and into Mexico, we have the basis for a real renaissance in the economies of these regions of the world: Which, in the case of northern Siberia, for example, is largely an area which will be of mineral significance, and transport significance, for some time to come. We have a similar kind of situation in northern Canada and Alaska, areas which are thinly populated because of the climate, but which have rich resources underneath the soil, and which means that this is a great leverage for developing the respective countries, and for participating in the development of the hemisphere as a whole.
We had, recently, of course, this meeting in Russia, in which I was an indirect participant, but an enthusiastic one, for the development of a railway system, a tunnel, from northern Siberia, into Alaska, down into Edmonton and so forth, and into the States, a railway system which would connect obviously with some additional rail development, through Central America into South America.
This would mean, with this kind of rail development, the larger part of the world, including Africa, Eurasia, the Americas, would be directly connected by rail lines, which would be a much more efficient way, and cheaper way of transporting valuable goods, at fairly decent lapse of time, around the world. It means we can make more efficient and cleaner use of our resources. It means a great improvement in the prospects for populations throughout the region.
For example: Take the area of Northern Mexico. Mexico has had for some time, a development project, particularly one for the Pacific Coast, which is most relevant for our concerns here, which runs up into the state of Sonora. Now, here, we have a problem of population of migration: We had a great influx of population fleeing Mexico, because of a lack of employment opportunities and so forth, into the United States. And now, there’s a reversal of that, of pushing the people who are immigrants into the United States, largely as cheap labor, and pushing them suddenly back - 1 or 2 million or more Mexicans - back to Mexico, where there are no places of employment open for them. They have, however, in that area, they have one project which is quite accessible, in this water Project, which could open up a whole section of the state of Sonora for the kind of production which these families largely were involved in beforehand. This would connect the water system to that of the United States and to Canada and to Alaska, which would mean that we would have a better management of fresh water. We would be able to overcome in large parts of the continent, the fact that we’re running out of water in areas where fossil water has been relied upon, that is, water that was deposited there a long time ago, and we’re now drawing it down. We have collapse of the entire central United States, a collapse of the soil, literally, through the collapse of these central water systems. We’ve have a project for that purpose, standing for a long time.
Then you look at the other end of the thing, take the northern, the Arctic region, and the Russians have some excellent ships there, which are nuclear powered, which means that the entirety of this Arctic region is now opened up for transportation. And considering the kinds of things we have to transport, that’s pretty valuable. But it means that the whole region now is opened up as an area of development, at least for mining and related kinds of things.
So this is a chance to open a new era, for this part of the world, for Asia through Siberia, Canada, Alaska, the United States, and Mexico. And from there on, to other parts of the world.
The time has come, where we’ve had so many crises up to now, we’ve been through periods of wars—two wars in the last century, major wars, world wars, so-called; we’ve also had the long period of the Cold War; we have the recent strife which is destroying the United States, it’s being sucked down into the dirt, by the costs and drag of this war in Southwest Asia—and the time has come to rebuild. The time has come to rebuild with peace, to rebuild, not on the basis of globalization as such, but on the basis of sovereign nation-states, in partnership and cooperation in the tradition of the great Treaty of Westphalia, the Peace of Westphalia. The time has come to get out of these wars, and to bring nation-states into modes of cooperation where their sovereignty is assured.
And of course, that’s very important for us in North America. And Mexico is very proud of its sovereignty, the United States is proud of its sovereignty, and Canada is proud of its own sovereignty in its own territory. And there should not be any imposition of one nation on another, or dilution of these sovereignties.
But we can cooperate, in the tradition of the Treaty of Westphalia, the Peace of Westphalia. We can consider the advantage of our neighbor, our partner, and find that, by cooperating with them, like the United States assisting the development of Canada, Canada assisting the United States, the United States and Canada assisting Mexico and the reverse, that the principle of Westphalia, "the advantage of the other," the benefit of the other, can be the proper relationship among nation-states, sovereign nation-states. And if we can do that, among ourselves, with a project like this we’re discussing here, today, we can probably inspire other parts of the world to join us, and get out of this mess we’re in, and been in for the past half-century and longer, and finally get to a system of sovereign nation-states, but sovereign nation-states consistent with the Treaty of Westphalia, the Peace of Westphalia, to cooperate, and to benefit one another. And our motives should not be to compete with one another as such, not to try to beat one another, to take advantage over one another, but rather to see what each of us can do as a nation, to contribute to the benefit of the other.
And that was laid down in the Peace of Westphalia. And if we remember what that time was like, and see certain similarities to that kind of war situation, in the wars of the past century, and in the recent wars in Southwest Asia and the threat of the spread of these wars, the spread of terrorism, now in the Americas as in Southwest Asia, the time has come to bring about peace.
We had a similar situation just recently, with the Annapolis conference held inside the United States, with nations represented from various parts of the world, especially from Southwest Asia. We had Syria, Israel, other states, meeting in Annapolis, and coming to an attitude of cooperation—it’s not yet home, we’re not yet secure on this. But we took a great step forward, not a great accomplishment, not a great treaty, but a change in attitude, a change in attitude which promises an opportunity for bringing to an end this mess in Southwest Asia. And by cooperating to that purpose, in other parts of the world, we can do the same thing.
As I would say: The time has come to make a fundamental shift, in the way in which nations have functioned in recent times. The wars of the last century, the continuation of wars, and threats of wars in this century, the onset of a financial crisis which is certainly the worst in modern history, unless we control it.
So we’re now at the point, we have to control this financial crisis. We can. I won’t deal too much with that, here, today: But one step in that, is large-scale projects, of cooperation in building infrastructure, in particular, which involves cooperation among nations, in developing raw materials where we need, to deal with a very threatening shortage of raw materials. To get into new kinds of power, which are cleaner, and better, and more powerful—this sort of thing. If we can reach that kind of cooperation now, then there’s a chance for humanity as a whole. And what we’re doing here, in this hemisphere, in the northern hemisphere of the Americas, what we’re proposing to do, with Canada, the United States, including Alaska, and Mexico, and in conjunction with Asians, through what is going to be a new tunnel between Asia and Alaska, and development of a new rail system, modern rail system, to unite these parts of the world which are among the great important raw-materials areas of the world for this kind of project.
That’s essentially my intention. That’s my mission. And with that, I leave that back to you.
Dialogue with Lyndon LaRouche
Moderator: If people have questions, there’s a microphone here, and Mr. LaRouche will take questions, for about 30-40 minutes.
Q [translated from Spanish]: Good evening Mr. LaRouche. My name is Jesús María Martínez. And my question is around the visit that José López Portillo made to Canada, some time in the late ’70s and early ’80s. And at that time, he made a proposition, an offering to the government of Canada to support Mexico in its endeavors around nuclear power. José López Portillo said to Canada, that it was that the world collaborated around this kind of nuclear development project. And he suggested that Canada be part of that effort so that Mexico could create at least 20 nuclear power plants at that time. Do you believe that those projects should be revived and put on the table, in the spirit of this collaboration with Canada and the United States and Mexico?
LaRouche: Yes, absolutely. This is required. Canada has a certain capability, in terms of nuclear technology, which means it’s integrated into the international nuclear technology community. The water projects are important. The use of nuclear power, as a source of power is important for the Arctic region of Siberia, and Canada and Alaska. So to deal with that climate, and to deal with handling that ice that comes up there are times, despite the global warming rumors, is important.
It’s extremely important for us in the Americas, especially in North America, to set a precedent, for the world, in a sense, admire. Mexico is actually much closer to the United States historically, than most people would believe from the outside. That is, the struggle for independence of Mexico, the struggle for its development in the 19th century, and into the 20th century, was an heroic struggle which had the sympathy of the typical American, and the American leader. My grandfather, for example, was very much attached to Mexico in this account. And Canada, the same thing: Canada is a different kind of country, but it has also its own tradition, or a couple of traditions. We have ours.
Now, we are not very strong on oligarchy, on aristocracy. We’ve had unpleasant experiences with that, and therefore we are republics in our way of thinking. We think of ourselves as citizens, we think of ourselves as equal, at least in rights. And we prize ourself on our cooperation, we pride ourself on being beneficial to our neighbors—at least, most of the people I respect, do that. And so therefore, it’s extremely important, that if you can not get this kind of cooperation in North America, I don’t think we can get it on the planet anywhere, at this point.
Or, there’s a willingness to cooperate—China has a great willingness to cooperate, for the long term. So does Russia, presently. Italy has a desire for that kind of cooperation; France does. I think most of the people in Germany do. You have this from Denmark, we have people in Sweden, and so forth. So there’s a desire for this kind of cooperation, but there’s a very poor performance in realizing it.
I think there’s a natural tendency for an alliance, as neighbors, between Mexico, the United States, and Canada. I think that by saying, "We can be sovereign, we don’t have to globalize, we don’t have to give up our sovereignty—we can be sovereign. We all can be neighbors, and we can cooperate in a positive way, not to fight each other, but in joint projects of our common interest." It’s extremely important to do that.
I’ve dealt with this: López Portillo was a dear friend of mine, in the time that we were working together, much closer than most people know. and I think it’s a very good thing to have a friend like López Portillo—now deceased—who was victimized by people who were oppressing Mexico at the time.
And to remember a friend, and this friend, who did something good in his time for his people. He was frustrated in realizing what he was doing for his people. It’s a good thing to remember that, to honor that, and make his dream, which is a valid one, come true. It brings us all closer together, by knowing that we are cooperating with one another to a common interest.
Q: Mr. LaRouche, I want to thank you, first of all, for being with us. I’m Peter [Margot] from Montreal, and I’d like to address a practical question to you: We’re in a year of Presidential campaigning in the United States, and we have problems in Canada as well, with a minority government, which can’t really make very large decisions. What do you think the political potential is realizing some of your visionary hopes, in terms of the present political situation, both in North America and elsewhere?
LaRouche: Well, first of all, let’s take the North American area, because, what I say about this area does apply in Europe, and in Africa, for example: That, there’s going to be a great change in the United States. It’s coming on fast. Objectively, we face the worst depression, the worst economic depression, in the history of European civilization since the 14th century New Dark Age. Now, that does not mean that we’re necessarily going to go into a New Dark Age. It means that the present financial crisis, which is hitting us now, unless corrected, will bring us into a New Dark Age, within a matter of months.
You can not make precise predictions in politics, because you have will, the factor of public will, decisions made by voluntary decisions. So crises like this are not governed by mechanical principles. They’re governed by principles, but not mechanical ones. So we don’t know exactly the date, that anything would happen if we left things alone, or just let them go on the way they are now.
But we know we’re very near. We’re already in the process of a general collapse, around the world. All of Europe is collapsing. The banking and financial systems of Europe are collapsing. The banking and financial systems of the Americas are now collapsing, in general, especially North America. And you have similar problems in other parts of the world, even though you have an Asian factor which is rather deceptively better. But if the markets of Europe and the Americas collapse, China will collapse, Russia will collapse, India will collapse, and the suffering in Africa will become unspeakable.
So therefore, we’re now at a point, where people are going to be forced to make some decisions. We’ll not be able to go along, the way we’re going now - I think that’s apparent to you, implicitly in what you’re saying: This depression is coming on, it’s deep, it is like the 14th century. Can we stop it? Yes.
But you look at the situation inside the United States, gives you a good idea what’s going on. We find, that among the lower 80% of family-income brackets, and in the states and localities, as opposed to the Federal government level, you find, that there is a surge of demand for reform, such as for the defense of housing against foreclosures; the defense of banking institutions, the essential ones that people need to keep their communities functioning; and other measures of that type would come along. So, the will is there in the people, a growing, rapidly expanding will to make a reform, a reform which could save us.
At the same time, you have a great reluctance at the top, especially in the Presidential pre-candidates. None of them has presently done anything that has any indication that they’re going to be competent if they were elected.
But I’m more optimistic: Because I know that they’re going to be forced to change their way of thinking, during the coming weeks and months. So therefore, the opportunity exists, for a fundamental change in political, now, in North America, in particular.
But the key thing here, is the subjective factor: The important thing in a crisis like this, is not to sit back and whine and complain, but is to present something which is concrete, which is feasible, and which will reverse public morale from fear and desperation, to one of optimism. As Franklin Roosevelt said, "There is nothing so much to fear, as fear itself." But you have to do something to eliminate the cause for the fear. And the elimination of the cause of the fear, is positive actions, which respond to the needs of the people, when the people are ready to respond, because they realize the problem. And that these things are competent.
So, it’s the best we can do. I think there are no guarantees in history—there are no mechanical guarantees, one way or the other. But we do have, as you indicate, a great crisis—at least that’s implicitly what you said—and this crisis, the way it’s going on now, is no good for humanity, no good for us, no good for humanity.
Therefore, we need a factor of optimism: It has to be concrete, it has to be valid. It has to have a base in the general population, a base of support. And you have to have the resistance to this, coming from the top.
Let me give one example of this: One of the problems we have, is that we have lost our farmers in the United States; we have lost our industries, we just lost the auto industry essentially—we haven’t seen the bottom of it yet, but that’s what’s going on. And we’ve been taken over, largely by financial interests typified by the hedge funds, and these various kinds of things like that. Which are parasites. The parasites, the hedge funds, have bought up most of the candidates. Look at the campaigns in the United States: Most of the candidates are bought and paid for by the hedge funds! And they’re not prepared to do anything, to make the kind of reforms which are obvious reforms, which are necessary and will work, though you have the people want these reforms, or want reforms like them.
So therefore, you have a typical situation, in which we have to use the fact, there is going to be a general revolt, against the financial predators who have taken over politics, and have bought up most of the candidates. And so, the time has come when, if we give a clear set of alternatives to people in general, who are now rising, in fear, in revolt against what’s happening, and these are practical ones, and they involve international cooperation: I think we can win. I can’t guarantee it, but it’s worth a shot. And it’s better than sitting back and doing nothing.
Q [translated from Spanish]: Mr. LaRouche, I’m Antonio Valdez Villaneuva and I’d like to thank you for everything that you’re saying, and I’m here representing some of the biggest labor unions in all of Mexico, and I think what you’re doing is extremely important for all of our nations.
LaRouche: Well, it’s a result of globalization, it’s called. You see that in the Americas, in particular, over the period since about the time of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy; that we went into, very quickly, into a war in Indo-China, which there was no legitimate reason to go into. This war, which was a dragged-out from 1964 to 1975, really, weakened us. We had a similar development in England, under the government of that time, in the United Kingdom, which also did something similar, to begin to destroy the industry, the technologies of the country.
We have been declining as economies, in agriculture, industry, and infrastructure, since about 1967-68, since about the time of the Harold Wilson government’s collapse of sterling in England, and since the 1968 crisis in the United States, the result of the sterling collapse, and then the ’71-’72 change: We have been collapsing.
What’s happened is that political institutions and financial institutions have "gone with," so to speak, these trends, to destroy industry, to destroy agriculture, to destroy infrastructure. And to rely going upon going to areas where there’s cheap labor, and looting these areas of their cheap labor, while sinking, collapsing the industry and agriculture in the more developed areas. This was a big mistake.
As a result of that, the actual per-capita productivity, physical productivity of labor internationally, has generally declined, despite a significant improvement in part of the population, about 300 million people, out of 1.1 billion in India; and a significant improvement in a minority of the population in China, and similar effects. Despite these improvements in countries like parts of China and parts of India, and other countries, the net per-capita physical productivity of the planet has been collapsing. This is particularly conspicuous in basic economic infrastructure, in industry and in agriculture, the development of land and all these kinds of things.
So we have been in a long trend. We have now come to the point, that this trend has brought us to the point of a collapse, a collapse which resembles what happened in the middle of the 14th century in Europe, in the plunge into a New Dark Age.
We find in the history of mankind, as we know it, particularly since about 700 B.C. or so forth, that we have a fairly good track on these kinds of things, that throughout our knowledge of Eurasian civilization and so forth, extended into the Americas, we find that these patterns exist: Of rise and fall, rise and fall. We have now been in a long period of decline, actually since about the time of the Kennedy assassination, in the decline in the economy. And habits have come into play which are not the best.
So, we’ve reached the point for a Renaissance. And in my view, we should look back at European experience to the fact that we had religious wars which dominated Europe from 1492, with the Expulsion of the Jews from Spain, through 1648, until the Treaty of Westphalia. There were periods of lesser conflict, but throughout the entire period, 1492-1648, Europe was being destroyed, at the same time it was struggling to bring out modern society, it was being destroyed by this religious warfare and similar kinds of things. We’re going through something comparable to that now.
And what we have to do, is two things: First of all, the immediate thing, is to solve the problem before us, to get a Renaissance in economy, a Renaissance in social outlook. But then, we have to think beyond that. We have to think to the long term: Do we want to succeed in saving society from what’s coming on now, and ignore the dangers down in the future? Or shall we use this as an occasion, not only to solve the immediate problem, but also to think ahead to the future. And therefore, that’s why I put the emphasis on 1648 and the Peace of Westphalia. When people generally, in politics, think about how they can "get the better" of competing countries, for the benefit of their own, in the Peace of Westphalia, we didn’t do that: The Peace of Westphalia which made possible peace in European civilization and its progress, as much as it did progress, was on the basis of "the advantage of the other." When we think about what we can do in our country, for the people of another country, or when we think of similar ways about social relations in general, then we bring out the best in ourselves. And that’s the best chance for surviving.
I could tell you that during my lifetime, I’m 85 years of age, in my lifetime, I’ve gone through wars and a few things like that, I’ve seen this: We have turned away from the Peace of Westphalia, we’ve turned away from recognizing the important thing, is, we’re human beings, we’re not animals. Animals die. Human beings don’t really die. They die, yes, physically. But they can contribute something while they were alive, which will benefit generations to come. Or help to do things that will benefit generations to come. It’s when we commit ourselves to help one another, as nations, without taking away our sovereignty, or the sovereignty of our neighbor, that the best comes out in us. My view is, that the best hope for us, is to recognize that: The advantage of the other, as laid down as the opening principle of the Treaty of Westphalia. And when you think about the thirty years of religious warfare, tearing apart central Europe, and suddenly, people who had been practically eating each other, suddenly came to a moment and said, "No more! No more. We’re now going to realize, the important thing, is to think of the advantage of the other, rather than ourselves. And when we’re united on that basis, then peace is durable, and prosperity is durable."
And my view, is, we’ve got to get back to that.
Q: Good afternoon, Mr. LaRouche. My name is Meredith Hayes [ph], and I’m from Montreal. I’ve had the pleasure of working with the youth in Montreal, as well as in Boston, and California, and other places from the States.
My question is with regard to what needs to happen—with regard to specifically Canadian solutions to the current crisis. You’ve spoken extensively about the types of political and legal interventions that must happen in the United States, that have happened before and can happen again, in terms of a Roosevelt-style solution to the economic crisis in the world, within the United States. And I’m just wondering if you can give us some insight into some things that can happen in Canada, specifically, politically and legally, to facilitate this process of reforming the economy and contributing to this Renaissance, and this new optimistic economy?
LaRouche: Well, I think the first thing is that you’ve got—the obvious thing is the relationship of the Canadian economy to the U.S. economy. When the U.S. economy is functioning, I think the Canadian economy tends to better. And the relationship extended to Mexico, which means, essentially North America as a whole.
You can start to define some very clear missions, for example, let’s take the case of water. Or take the case of rail, take the relationship to raw materials. Quebec, for example, has a very significant raw materials potential; other parts of Canada do, too. You have industrial and agricultural capabilities in Canada, which are quite respectable, in terms of what the standards are of achievement in the past.
The Americans in the United States and in Canada, tend to think very much the same, on economic questions—there are differences, of course—but on economic questions, economic opportunities, pretty much the same. The interrelationship between the automobile industry in Canada and in the United States for example, is one of the examples of this. The way in which the Great Lakes, and St. Lawrence were integrated in terms of certain economic functions. The relationship of agricultural development in Canada, especially in the Prairie Provinces and so forth, and in the United States, in our better periods.
Then you think about the raw materials potential of the Arctic, or sub-Arctic regions of Canada, and compare that to Alaska and to Siberia. And we’ve now, then, touched upon some of the greatest opportunities for development in the world: Because, with adequate power systems, particularly high energy flux-density nuclear power systems, we can now manage most of the water problems, and most of the raw materials problems of the world. And assuming that we’re going to, within a couple of decades, get thermonuclear fusion as a technology at our disposal, we’ll be able to handle most of the problems we can foresee for a couple of centuries to come ahead.
And obviously, when you’re talking the United States and Canada, the culture capabilities are so similar, that it’s practically the same thing. It’s simply a matter of saying, we have a sovereign country, Canada, a sovereign country, the United States, which are quite comparable—English language does tend to bring us together—and has very common needs, and needs for cooperation. When you include Mexico, and look at the present problem of Mexico, and you put these opportunities, and requirements of the United States and Canada together, with that, you’ve got a package!
Particularly, when you take the Alaska connection to Siberia—and this is going to be extremely important: Because China is going to be a major indirect factor here. China is very much underdeveloped. And don’t kid yourself. While China is doing well, in some respects, China has long-term problems which are really frightening, unless you completely understand them. First you understand them well enough to understand how frightening they are; then you get to a higher level of understanding, and understand there are solutions. [laughs] But China is going to be—if it doesn’t collapse as a result of the present financial crisis—is going to be a great market for infrastructure and industry, especially infrastructure. You have a similar situation in India, but it’s also different; India is not the same thing as China.
So, the chances for work are enormous. And it generally means, go back to high technology; and go back to agriculture, industry, and also infrastructure. There, we have no problem. We need each other! Canada and the United States need each other, in a sense, also for very special reasons, Mexico also has this same relationship to the United States and Canada.
Moderator: Sorry, Lyn, could you just repeat what you were saying about China? We lost connection with you there, just as you were talking about China.
LaRouche: Oh. Well, China has an impressive performance as a source of cheap labor, and for assimilating technologies, and production of technologies for world consumption. The relationship to Germany, the relationship to the United States, are crucial in that effect. But also China has a very large percentile of its population, and territory is very much undeveloped. So China needs, on the one hand, it can produce, and can continue to maintain itself as long as we remain a market and Europe remains a market for them. But! If China does not develop its basic economic infrastructure, and raise its standard of living among about 80% of the population, China, too, has a crisis.
But when you put together these problems, with what Europe could do if it’s revived, what Russia can contribute - take this Siberian project - over a period of a couple of generations, we can have for a couple of centuries to come, a very successful development, of China and Siberia, together with the United States, Europe, and Canada, and so forth.
So, we have difficulties, but also the difficulties, when seen properly, are also opportunities.
Q: Mr. LaRouche, my name is Jim Weber, I’m from Canada. I have a couple of questions, one which is concerning the financing of the project of the maglev train; and I’m wondering if that could be financed out of Treasury, where the workers and paid, and spend the money back into the community? Also I have some question, has there been any calculation what the cost per mile for that system would be? Thank you.
LaRouche: Hmm. I don’t have the figures before me, but it has been made. Actually, it’s cheaper than conventional rail, where you have sufficient utilization.
Look, for example, several factors have to be considered on this, and I’ll talk first on the price business: We’re relying too much on trucks on the highway, which is very inefficient. We should put a lot of that transport—the long-range transport, as opposed to short-range transport—put it back on rail. For large movements of high grade freight, you want speed is extremely important, speed and efficiency in delivery. Whereas for low-grade freight, you can use water transport, for example. But if you’ve got high-value-per-ton freight, you want to move it fast, otherwise, you build up your cost to the economy, and overhead cost is building too rapidly.
But, we went through these calculations some years ago, and have gone through them again and again—I don’t have the figures before me right now—but actually, maglev is actually cheaper than friction rail, when you use it properly. When you use it for high-value, people-moving, over long distances.
Let’s take one, for example, let’s take highway, maglev, rail, and air, and compare them: Now, air transport is very inefficient as a movement of freight, unless it is very high, premium value freight. It’s much cheaper to move it by rail. Now: If you have magnetic levitation systems, which are modern systems, you can actually do several things. You can move freight and people more efficiently by maglev, than you can by air, except for the longest intercontinental distances. So, it means you solve a problem: We have too much weight burden on air transport, and too much on truck, automobile, and bus generally cost. Excessively cost, when you take all of the costs, including the costs to the communities of maintaining the highway systems and so forth, it’s all higher.
So, on the relative scale, in terms of physical parameters, maglev is the most efficient. And because of its speed, and because of what you can do with it, that you can’t do with a friction rail, it gives you many advantages. But you have to see, to understand this thing—you have to see that you’re talking about a change in the structure of transportation, not just the use of one mode or another mode, for the same mode.
This means we are spending too much on air transport for short haul—it’s insane. We’re also using air transport for freight, where it should be going by rail. We’re using trucks for long-distance hauling, and the cost of operating trucks, as for hauling freight over long distances, is inefficient. Therefore, you’re moving your freight back into the rail-type of transport, and rebuilding a system that can handle it.
The general financing of this operation has to be on a state level. What it means, in the United States, we’re going to have to go back to Roosevelt’s system. We’re going to have to, essentially, take over 50% of the capital investment in the United States, for the foreseeable future, should be in basic economic overhead. For example: We should be moving from reliance upon petroleum as a fuel: Because it’s a cheap fuel, and you move it great distances at great costs, and it becomes a tool of manipulation. Whereas, if we have high-temperature gas-cooled reactors, saying of the 800MW type of the high-density reactor, we can produce synthetic fuels from water, hydrogen-based fuels, which are much more efficient. We can produce them wherever we have the appropriate type of nuclear plant. So therefore, instead of relying upon petroleum, as a fuel, or a fuel stock, we rely on water as a fuel stock, by producing hydrogen-based fuels from that.
So, what we’re talking about essentially is that.
Now, this also means, that you’re going into public financing, of long-term public investment. This doesn’t mean you’re going into a general investment of that type for all things, but for basic economic infrastructure; and this will be the biggest driver.
And also, we’re in a depression, financial depression. There is no significant amount of financial capital around, to be invested. It’s going to have to come from reorganizing the financial systems, and from using state long-term financing—I’m talking about 25-, 50-year financing—in order to build the infrastructure; the infrastructure projects will give you the driver for the industrial and related projects. And that’s the way it’s going to have to be. But it’s all quite feasible.
Q: Hi Mr. LaRouche. My name is Steve Belanger, I come from Val d’Or which is a small town in the middle of Quebec. Just some months ago in the Province of Quebec, some of our infrastructure collapsed which forced people to realize that we have to take care of our infrastructure—so, it was, "Oh!! We have to take care of our infrastructure!" [laughs] Sort of in a surprised state, "we have to take of it." And just recently, they wanted to repair some bridge where I come from, and there was some delay, because the steel was unavailable fast enough. And I’m just thinking, we’re in a situation where we lack steel just to maintain current infrastructure, this is where we are starting from, and we are here, talking about building more infrastructure, and new ones, so we’re starting from way back!
But I wanted to ask you, what you think about the current fashion in the engineering community, about this just-in-time kind of thinking, a kaizen kind of a fashion? I don’t think everything in it is wrong—I think this idea of pushing in an assembly line, instead of pulling, or that kind of thing, I think there’s good ideas in it; I’m not too familiar with it. Unfortunately, I haven’t read on Deming, but I would want you to tell us what you think currently of the engineering community—and how, things can be built?
LaRouche: Well, first of all, the problem here, is that we went away from an agro-industrial policy, generally in terms of labor force employment, to a so-called service industries—especially non-professional, unskilled services. The result of that is, that you have to maintain the entire population, but you have only a diminishing part of the population, over the past 30, 40 years—a diminishing part is actually working, that is, in the sense of physical producing something. So we have to shift back toward an agro-industrial policy, and with an emphasis on higher technology. That’s progress, hmm? Therefore, you’re changing that.
Now, in just-in-time, that is a bad policy in general. Because what you want to consider is, what’s economic lot-size. When you produce something, you want to produce it in such a way that you don’t get into a lot of short-time production, which is much more inefficient, in costs, than longer term. Generally, in the old days, we used to produce things on the basis of economic lot-size, and we understood what that meant.
The problem we have today, is that we’ve gone away from an industrial society. We have most of the population is not really producing anything! They’re working, or they’re unemployed, but they’re not producing! And therefore, we have to shift back to a high-technology agriculture, high-technology industrial orientation. We also have to have much more emphasis on basic economic infrastructure. Because, the people don’t understand this, because we don’t have many people who are trained in this any more.
The importance of infrastructure: If I have a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor system, I can produce power in a higher quality, more cheaply in effect, than I can with other systems. So therefore, a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor, you know, up to 800MW size, or something like that, is much more efficient for producing a kilowatt of power, than a lower, or older type. The idea that so-called soft-energy supplies, is absolute idiocy! It’s the most costly, inefficient thing you can have.
So, an investment in infrastructure—we’re talking about industrial, transportation, and so forth—actually high technology, is much more efficient in terms of cost reduction than any other system.
And the problem is, we have gone to post-industrial orientation, which means the economy is extremely inefficient; we have a paucity of high technology in infrastructure, which makes the whole thing much more inefficient. So we’ve gone in the wrong direction, I would say, since about the middle of the 1960s, just absolutely in the wrong direction, all throughout North America, and other parts of the world, as well as in Europe. And that’s where the problem is.
We have to get back to that, we have to get to a high-technology orientation, we have to get to a point where people out there, who are coming up in the educational system, are looking forward to skilled employment, technologically skilled employment, in the professions or in production. We’re going to have to upgrade the quality of employment opportunities, in terms of productivity—things like that. That’s the kind of policy we need.
It’s a big subject area, so I won’t try to explain everything at once. But that’s the direction I would reply to on this one.
Moderator: Mr. LaRouche, do you have time for another question?
LaRouche: Yeah, sure.
Q: Hello, Mr. LaRouche. My name is Sasha Lechaine [ph], I’m also from Montreal.
I just wanted to get your opinion concerning a certain renewable resource, that there’s very little information on, at the present: As you know, the American economy in its infant stages, would not have developed the way it was, if it wasn’t for the resource hemp. The great American Constitution, its first copy was written hemp paper; George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both a large percentage of their crops dedicated to hemp. That being said, what place do you think hemp can have, in terms of this global development in terms of agriculture, ending starvation, its uses in industry, particularly in plastics?
LaRouche: Well, hemp is not too significant. It’s simply a fibrous plant, which lends itself to precisely those kinds of applications. And it’s not necessarily the most efficient, but it does have uses, and it’s strictly a naturally produced, industrial source of supply. It fits in just that way.
But it’s a question of economy. You have to consider the question of economy from the standpoint of agricultural production, and the use of processing this stuff, whatever you want to make of it.
Moderator: Mr. LaRouche, since that was a short one, do you want to take one more?
LaRouche: Oh, okay! [laughs]
Q: Mr. LaRouche, I want to say thank you. I appreciate very much all the education for what you do for your convictions. And my question is, when I looked all the factory in Montreal, or whatever, all the factory are transferred into shopping center. Everywhere you go, you have shopping center, you have to produce that! Then they produce mostly in China, or India, or all those place. That’s kind of bugging me. Because the more you buy, the more you pollute, isn’t it? And if you pollute, you have to take care of those pollutions. So how do we go about it? You look at the finance, the financial system is built on goods, but right now, we produce too much goods, I think. And we don’t know what to do with the rest of it.
LaRouche: Well, we don’t produce too much; we don’t give people enough money to buy them! [laughs]
What happened is, we formerly had, up until 1971-72, the prevalent policy from throughout the beginning period of Second World War, into the post-war period, up into the late 1960s, our policy was a protectionist policy. We used to call it, as opposed to "free trade," we spoke of "fair trade." For example, in the 1950s, early 1960s, you would find industrial corporations like General Electric would be talking about "defending fair trade" as opposed to "free trade."
Now, free trade essentially, by using cheap labor, and an open market of cheap labor, tends to undermine high-technology production, which means that you go into countries, like the so-called Third World, with these runaway shops which leave the industrialized areas of the United States and Europe, and go into other countries, and use cheap labor. And they loot the country. And you find the pattern, and they go from one country to the other, loot it, and go down to another country, loot that, and so forth.
Now the result of that is, that we’ve destroyed our industries, because we destroyed, what was called protectionism, and the protection was fair trade: The idea that you take the cost of production, over the life of the investment, to produce a certain quality of production. And you would say, the price—you can not allow competition to undermine the investment. But that’s what happened: So we used cheap labor to undermine the investment in the United States, Europe and so forth. We used virtual slave labor in other countries, where this production went to.
For example, take the case of China: China has, in about 20% of the population, has benefited significantly from employment running in industry, into China. But 80% of the Chinese population is still in desperate conditions. You have in India, maybe 30% of 1.1 billion people, have a somewhat improved standard of living, relative to the time I was in military service in India, during World War II. But 70% is more miserable, than ever before!
So the point was, is the cheap labor policies, the runaway shops to cheap labor, seemed to be the law of the economy. But it means, you’re actually ruining every economy into which you introduce this kind of labor—if you look at the total population. You may find some part of the population has these jobs, which have something. But the majority of the population is being ruined, and the area is being ruined by this kind of employment.
It means we have to go back to what was called "a protectionist system," in which we say that "the laborer is worthy of his hire, and the investor is worthy of his investment, if it’s a productive investment."
You described this thing in Montreal: You can take any part of the United States, you will the same thing. It’s disgusting. We have to go back to the point where our people produce the value which they need to have, in order to buy what they need. Take the case of health-care, take the case of housing, take the case of education, all these factors: You must provide a standard of living which raises our people, with a quality of life which we think they should have. And that determines the price.
We cut the price down, how? By going down to higher technologies, becoming more efficient, that sort of thing—which is generally capital-intensive, or science-intensive. Get back to what we used to try to do. We were going in the right direction: We shouldn’t have gone and fallen off the bridge.
Moderator: Do you have any concluding thoughts to transmit to the people here?
LaRouche: Yeah, sure: Simply, as I said, I think that we should look at this prospect we’re discussing, in terms of cooperation among Canada, Alaska and Mexico, and the implications of that for cooperation with other parts of the world, such as Siberia and so forth: We have to look at that as, it has its own merits, intrinsic merits, particularly in a time of crisis now, when we need a recovery program, so to speak, to compensate for the collapse of the world economy. But more important, is to look at this as the reality of the advantage of the other: The reality that each of us, in each of our nations, should think about what we can do that’s going to be beneficial for other nations. And saying that the benefit we do for other nations, with what we’re doing, means that our children and grandchildren will benefit from the good that we’re doing for the world at large. And that, I think, which is the principle of Westphalia, which is also the ancient Greek term agape, which is an essential element of Christian belief, of agape, or what’s called "charity," or what’s called "love": That this is the essential principle.
If we love mankind, and can love the benefit given to the other nation, what are we doing that’s good for them? If we can think in those terms, then we will get away from the dog-eat-dog tendency which we’ve seen again, lately, and get back to the idea that we are not animals; we do not breed progeny. We develop human beings, and we hope that the next generation will have a life better than ours, because we’ve made that improvement possible. And we see progress of this type, induced by our love of mankind, as being the motive for the way we do things, as well as what we do.
If we can get that back, that conception of agape, that principle of the Treaty of Westphalia, I think we not only can recover from this crisis which is coming down on us now, but we can also assure ourselves, that our grandchildren and great-grandchildren will benefit from what we’re doing. And perhaps in this way, we’ll avoid more of the kinds of Hell we’ve had, particularly in the past hundred years.
Okay, thank you. My best wishes.