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Special Report Nuclear NAWAPA XXI
Appendix 1: Energy Flux Density

Printable version / Version imprimable

The first evidence of a distinction between mankind and the apes comes with first appearance of ancient fire pits, used to control the power of fire for the betterment of the conditions of life of those wielding that new power. From that time onward, mankind could no longer be characterized biologically or by biological evolution— the evolution of the creative mental powers unique to the human mind became the determining factor. Biology took a backseat to the increased power of thought wielded by the human species.

This is the secret—and science—of economic growth, and is expressed in the control over successively higher forms of fire. This started with transitions to more energy-dense forms of chemical combustion, from wood burning (and charcoal), to coal (and coke), to petroleum and natural gas. The developments around the end of the 19th century showed mankind an immense potential beyond chemical reactions: the fundamental equivalence of matter and energy, as expressed in the domains of fission, fusion, and matter-antimatter reactions, each with qualitatively higher energy densities.

Control over higher energy densities drives the increase in what Lyndon LaRouche has identified as the energy flux density of the economy, as can be measured by the rate of energy use per person and per unit area of the economy as a whole. As is illustrated in the accompanying articles (“A Call for An International Crash Program: Creating the Fusion Economy” and “Nuclear Agro-Industrial Complexes for NAWAPA XXI”), this increasing power drives qualitative changes throughout the entire society—creating fundamentally new technologies, new resources bases, new levels of living standards, and, actually, new economies.

For example, start with the simple rate of biological energy usage for the human body, about 100 watts (as sustained by eating a standard 2,000 calorie diet). Assuming a hypothetical pre-fire civilization in which everything is done by human muscle, the power employed to sustain the “economy”—the power of
labor—is only 100 watts per capita.

Compare this with the growing per capita power usage throughout the history of the United States. At the time of the nation’s founding, the wood-based economy provided around 3,000 watts per capita, a thirty-fold increase over the muscle power of a fireless society. Then the widespread use of coal throughout the economyincreased the power per capita to over 5,000 watts by the 1920s, and the implementation of petroleum and natural gas brought this to over 10,000 watts by 1970—100 times the per capita power of our hypothetical fireless society.

With each succession, the previous fuel base declines as a power source (allowing it to be used for things other than combustion, as wood is used for construction, and petroleum should be used for plastics and related non- combustible products of the petrochemical industry).

Following the post-World War II developments, nuclear fission power was fully capable of sustaining this growth rate into the 21st century. In a conservative estimate based upon previous growth rates and the potentials of nuclear power, this should have brought the U.S. economy to a level in the range of 20,000 watts per
capita by some time before the year 2000. [1]

By then, assuming the nation had maintained a pro- growth orientation, as fission power was becoming the dominant power source, the beginnings of applied fusion power should have begun to emerge. With ocean water becoming an effectively limitless fuel source for fusion reactors, the U.S. economy would have been on a path to an energy flux density of around 40,000 watts per capita, and beyond, in the first generation of the 21st century, four times the current value of 10,000 watts. Again, this would not simply be more power for the same economy, but a fundamentally new economy.

However, this natural growth process was halted with the takeover of the anti-progress environmentalist movement, a shift, then, which sent the economy on the direct path into the attritional collapse being experienced, now—a collapse process accelerated by imposing policies which lowered the energy flux density of the economy. [2]

As is clear in the second graph shown, nuclear fission power was never allowed to realize its full potential, and the energy flux density of the economy stagnated and
began to collapse.

While the actual implementation of nuclear fission is seen in the red sliver, the role it needed to play is indicated in the gray wedge above, a projected value which keeps with the natural growth rates of a progressing human economy, and includes the beginnings of a fusion economy as well.

The 40-year gap between the needed growth rate and the present levels expresses the source of the current economic breakdown, and demonstrates the immediate need for a crash program to develop and implement the next stage, the fusion economy, to overcome decades of lost time by creating a new economy at a higher level than ever before.

[1If a serious economic policy had governed the nation following World War II (as was intended by Franklin Roosevelt, but reversed by the presidency of Harry Truman), a higher level could have been reached faster.

[2This was not some happenstance change, but resulted from the top-down strategic intention of the Anglo-Dutch Empire, whose leaders have been explicitly and openly operating on a policy intention of reducing the world population to less than one billion people. For example, see “Behind London’s War Drive: A Policy To Kill Billions,” by Nancy Spannaus, EIR, November 18, 2011.