We are happy to announce the publication of this second volume, “The New Silk Road Becomes the World Land-Bridge: A Shared Future for Humanity,” in which we bring you an updated picture of the progress of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, including detailed region-by-region analysis and newly updated maps.
It is possible to effectively combat the coronavirus. The number of countries that have brought their number of new daily infections either to zero or very close to it continues to grow. Examples are Cambodia, China, Bahamas, Cuba, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Latvia, New Zealand, Norway, Thailand, Slovakia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Vietnam. The only number not capable of exponential growth is zero.
For too many nations, however, infections continue to grow nearly exponentially: Bangladesh, Bulgaria, India, nearly all nations in Ibero-America, Iraq, South Africa, and even Israel, which had brought its cases down almost to zero in mid-May, but which has since seen daily numbers that exceed what had been its late-March peak.
Nations that have aggressively pursued the available health measures — masks, distancing, contract tracing, and isolation / quarantine — have succeeded while those that have taken a fragmented approach face, in the words of WHO head Dr. Tedros, a “long, hard road ahead.”
While the case fatality rate is decreasing in such nations as the United States, due to a combination of younger people being infected and advances in knowledge about how to treat the disease (including the steroid dexamethasone), the question remains: is the goal to crush the virus, allowing life to return to an approximation of its pre-coronavirus status? Or is the intent simply to keep the number of cases and deaths within a range considered acceptable?
Looking a year into the future, it is clear that those societies that have taken very aggressive measures to defeat the coronavirus will be far better positioned to develop and grow than those choosing to tolerate a festering of infection and long-term, half-followed measures at prevention. Far better to deal with the disease aggressively and move on. What’s worse: wearing a mask or waiting a year for your new job to be created?
The coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world — and the economic effects of the health measures taken to crush it — reveal the inexcusable lack of development of the human species, and demand a global approach to curing not only the coronavirus presently menacing us, but that underdevelopment that leaves us susceptible to the pandemic’s taking a terrible toll. This video explains the international cooperation necessary to defeat both the pandemic and poverty, as well as the dangerous lies — about China and the coronavirus itself — that stymie these efforts.
It is only through economic development that we can truly build health infrastructure for all.
Please sign the Schiller Institute’s petition to build a global health infrastructure.
We, the undersigned, support Schiller Institute Founder Helga Zepp-LaRouche’s call for global health and economic infrastructure to address the coronavirus pandemic and the conditions of underdevelopment (both economic and scientific) that caused us to be vulnerable to it.
The coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world — and the economic effects of the health measures taken to crush it — reveal the inexcusable lack of development of the human species, and demand a global approach to curing, not only the coronavirus presently menacing us, but that underdevelopment that leaves us susceptible to the pandemic’s taking a terrible toll.
When health systems even in developed regions, such as Northern Italy, have been filled beyond capacity, what is the outlook for less developed nations that have an immense shortage of health infrastructure and lack secure access to clean water, sanitation, and nutritious food? How can a person who relies on daily income to support the family remain at home for weeks on end? How can people without clean water practice good hand hygiene? If no ICU beds are available, can doctors save the life of a victim of severe Covid-19 symptoms?
While the acute suffering from the coronavirus claims our attention, what of the 800,000 children under the age of 5 who die from diarrheal diseases every year? How can the health of the hundreds of millions of people currently afflicted with food insecurity be ensured?
We call for a global health infrastructure, in its fullest sense. The world requires more hospitals, new ICU beds, additional ventilators, many more trained physicians, increased manufacturing capacity for PPE, and orders of magnitude more testing equipment than existed at the beginning of this outbreak. But it also needs much more. Poverty, malnutrition, lack of access to improved water and sanitation — these are health issues too. Our shared dignity as members of the human race calls upon us to cooperate in eliminating poverty, through development. The entire world must be made safe from diseases that threaten us all.
Barriers to the cooperation of the United States, China, Russia, and India must be overcome to ensure that the world is never again terrorized by such a threat.
To make all of this possible requires a New Bretton Woods — international agreements on economic development in the model of Franklin Roosevelt’s outlook at the end of World War II, as advanced by the studies and proposals of Lyndon LaRouche.
For more detail on the Schiller Institute’s proposals, see
“LaRouche’s ‘Apollo Mission’ to Defeat the Pandemic: Build a World Health System Now!”
April 11, 2020 — At the time this urgent call to build a World Health System was published, the world had confirmed over 1.75 million cases of COVID-19, and the number of deaths attributed to the pandemic was over 100,000. This disease, first active in humans in December or November 2019, has spread, within a matter of months, to nearly all nations of the world, with a ferocious rate of growth in populations not taking strong measures to arrest its advance. The mortality rate among those infected is estimated to be an order of magnitude greater than that of the seasonal flu. At the time you are reading this call to action, the numbers will be greater, possibly much, much greater.
Gravest of all, we could be witnessing an explosion of infections and deaths in the so-called less-developed sector or Third World, especially in Africa — whose underdevelopment is the Achilles Heel of the entire human species, which requires special attention, as we specify below.
Defeating this deadly virus will require immediate, coordinated global action: intensive public health measures, including extensive testing and isolation of those found to be infected; a huge increase in the availability of healthcare facilities and equipment; significant investment and resources devoted to finding cures and a vaccine; great strides in sanitation measures, especially in less-developed nations; and an end to the historically unnecessary lack of development — and outright looting — in the world. This global pandemic emphatically requires a global response, as reservoirs of the virus in any part of the world could cause resurgences for years.
It requires a World Health System covering every part of the planet.
Such a global response requires, most centrally, the coordination of the United States, China, Russia, and India, a Four Powers alliance open to all nations of the planet. The leaders of those four nations should hold a summit as soon as possible to work out common approaches to addressing the enormous health, material, and infrastructural needs of the world, as a first step towards creating an entirely New Paradigm to replace the bankrupt old system.
There is no other way, no lesser course, that will actually defeat the pandemic.
Although COVID-19 is the disaster currently inflicting itself on humanity, it is only one of many to which the world is susceptible, due to a failure of the international order over the past fifty years, most especially the deadly looting of developing sector nations. A solar coronal mass ejection could knock out most of the world’s electricity grids — why have they not been hardened against such an event, even in the so-called “developed” countries? An as-yet-undiscovered asteroid or comet could destroy an entire continent — why have we developed no defenses against this threat? There are 800 million people on this planet who lack adequate food — why has this been tolerated? A plague of locusts currently menaces the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions. Another disease could spring up any week — why do we not have better defenses against viruses?
The world community must create a resiliency for successful long-term survival, not just in the short-term while hoping that no unusual events occur, but prepared for true safety and security. This cannot occur under the neo-liberal economic paradigm that is now failing. It cannot occur under a regime of bailout and treating financial values as sacrosanct. That system, with its $1.8 quadrillion speculative bubble, is now thoroughly bankrupt, and must be put through a process of bankruptcy reorganization long specified by the American economist Lyndon H. LaRouche, along with the simultaneous requirement to build a new Hamiltonian credit system, nationally and internationally, to put humanity back on the track of science-driven physical-economic development. The long-term successful survival and flourishing of the human species requires a world system that recognizes the divine spark of potential genius in each individual and which seeks to foster that potential through economic, cultural, and scientific development.
Here, we take up the task of delineating the needed World Health System. This is a first approximation of the requirements, which we hope will be enriched by input from international experts and concerned people in the immediate weeks ahead.
We begin by posing, and answering, two questions:
- What is the cause of this, possibly the worst crisis humanity has ever faced?
- What is the full set of measures that should be taken on all fronts, both in the United States and worldwide, to defeat the pandemic?
We do not start by listing all the bottlenecks and shortages, and try to work from the bottom up. We start instead by figuring out what is required: We must use this existential crisis to finally overcome the underdevelopment of large sections of mankind, a condition that is not worthy of the human species. Then, we determine the physical economic requirements to achieve each step along the way, including the bills of materials and manpower requirements, as defined from the standpoint of industrial engineering. We then return to the bottlenecks and figure out how we are going to break through them, on schedule or earlier. We will find that, to achieve that trajectory, we will be on a forced march requiring constant technological breakthroughs; we will find that we are in the domain of the science of physical economy, where Lyndon LaRouche’s work is our only guide and road map.
We will also find that such an approach requires full international cooperation, especially between the United States and China, to achieve these common aims of mankind. Anyone opposing such cooperation should be scientifically classed in the same genus and species, politically, as the coronavirus itself.
That approach is how Franklin D. Roosevelt mobilized the nation to defeat fascism in World War II. That is how NASA engineers turned the looming Apollo 13 catastrophe into success. And in our current endeavor to defeat the coronavirus across the planet, here too failure is not an option.
This Is a Crisis Fifty Years in the Making
The coronavirus was not caused by a Chinese proclivity to feast on bats. Nor was it cooked up in a secret military lab in the United Kingdom or the United States (although Prince Philip’s public promotion of his desire to be reincarnated as a virus to help reduce the planet’s population, gives pause for thought). It was caused by an underlying physical-economic process that has been underway for at least a half century. In fact, Lyndon LaRouche forecast the current pandemic nearly 50 years ago, first in 1971 in his public warning about the end of the Bretton Woods system; and then repeatedly beginning in 1974 testimony before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee where he warned of the danger of an impending biological holocaust, due to misguided economic policies.
In a 1985 document titled “The Role of Economic Science in Projecting Pandemics as a Feature of Advanced Stages of Economic Breakdown,” LaRouche explained that the actual cause of pandemics and similar phenomena is when society’s Potential Relative Population Density (PRPD) — the physical-economic power of a society to maintain a rising population at improved standards of living and longevity — drops below the actual population level.
“Sustainable economic (and population) growth, is measured as an (ideally) constant rate of increase of the potential relative population-density of that society. This is the measure of the average potential for growth of the society as a whole, and is also the absolute measure of per capita productivity of labor in that society.” LaRouche explained that achieving a rising PRPD requires that the economy produce “free energy” above the “energy of the system,” and he specified:
“In economic processes, the ‘energy of the system’ is represented by the interdependency among three ‘market-baskets’ of consumption. Each of these ‘market-baskets,’ corresponds to a minimum value, required to maintain the economic process at a constant level of negentropic potential. These three are: 1) The ‘market-basket’ of households’ consumption, per capita; 2) The ‘market-basket’ of producers’ goods; 3) The ‘market-basket of ‘basic economic infrastructure: energy production and distribution, water management, transportation, etc.”
When do pandemics erupt?
“The ‘ideal’ case, at which economies are to be examined for economically-determined eruption of pandemics, is the case for which the potential relative population-density falls below the level of the existing population… [such as] the instance in which the average consumption is determined by a fall of potential relative population-density, below the level of requirements for the existing population.”
But there is also the case, LaRouche emphasizes, where “the differential rates of distribution of the households’ ‘goods market-basket’ falls below the level of ‘energy of the system’ for a large part of the population. We are most concerned with the effects on health, as the nutritional throughput per capita falls below some relative biological minimum, and also the effect of collapse of sanitation and other relevant aspects of basic economic infrastructure upon the conditions of an undernourished population… [In this case], the undernourished population might become a breeding-culture for eruption of epidemic and pandemic disease,..”
That is precisely what has occurred during the last 50 years of deadly looting of Third World populations, especially Africa, through the policies of the City of London, Wall Street, and of course the International Monetary Fund.
The full impact of such policies, LaRouche concluded, can only be understood by locating man’s development (or what Vladimir Vernadsky referred to as the noösphere) within the total biosphere.
“Society is an integral part of the biosphere, both the biosphere as a whole, and regionally… Rather than viewing a deep fall of the potential relative population-density, as merely a fall in the relative value for the society as such; let us examine this as a fall in the relative level of the biosphere including that society… This must tend to be adjusted, by increasing the role of relatively lower forms of life… [which] ‘consume’ human and other higher-level forms of life as ‘fuel’ for their own proliferation… In that variant, human and animal pandemics, and sylvatics, must tend to resurge, and evolve, under certain kinds of ‘shock’ to the biosphere caused by extreme concentration of fall of population-potential.”
Current Global Inventory
The world as a whole possesses a current inventory of 18.63 million hospital beds. This constitutes a tremendous deficit, rendering country after country incapable of defeating the novel coronavirus. To consider the needed level of beds, consider the United States 1946 Hill–Burton Act, which set a standard of 4.5 hospital beds per 1,000 people, per county, in order to ensure the health and well-being of the population. Current levels are 2.8 for the United States, 0.7 for South Asia, 0.7 for the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries, and 0.5 for Nigeria, which has one-fifth of the population of sub-Saharan Africa.
To meet the standard of 4.5 beds per 1,000 people, the world would have to increase its hospital bed inventory to 35 million beds, nearly double the current level. This would require the construction of 35,200 new modern hospitals, especially in Africa, Ibero-America, and Asia, where the new beds would be immediately put to necessary use.
Beds themselves do not save lives. Medical staff are required, and acute cases demand additional equipment, such as ventilators.
The total global inventory of ventilators is hard to determine, but there are certain figures that point to the problems of dealing with COVID-19 in impoverished nations lacking health infrastructure. The United States has a total of about 170,000 ventilators for its 330 million people, which is about 500 ventilators for every million people. Germany has about 25,000 ventilators for its 83 million people, about 300 ventilators per million — the highest per capita level in Europe.
The picture in Africa, however, is absolutely devastating. According to an April 7 article in Time magazine, there are 500 ventilators for the 200 million people of Nigeria, which comes out to 2.5 ventilators for every million people — about 200 times less than the United States on a per capita basis. In Sudan, there are 1.9 ventilators for every million people. The Central African Republic (population nearly 5 million) has a total of three ventilators, and Liberia, with a population of 4.7 million people, has none.
Estimates by the Brookings Institution and the Financial Times are that India has approximately 20,000 ventilators, which would be 15 ventilators for every million people.
For the entire world to be at the United States’ per capita level of ventilators would require a global inventory of 4 million.
Current Understanding of COVID-19
COVID-19 attacks the body in at least two ways. First, it has effects very much like the flu as it multiplies within the body. Fevers, body aches, headaches, and fatigue are common, as well as a cough, especially a dry cough. The cough is due to a specific characteristic of the virus: its targeting of lung cells and the immune system response it elicits. At the time of writing, it is believed that in many patients reaching the second stage of the disease, ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome), the body itself is attacking the lung cells as a “storm” of cytokines created by the body trigger an escalating response against the virus and cells infected with it, as well as healthy cells.
The death rate for those afflicted with the disease ranges from 0.5% to over 5% and depends on the physiology of the individual and the capacity of the local healthcare system. The death rate is also uncertain, due to low testing rates. The percentage of infected persons requiring hospitalization ranges from 10% to 30%.
It is possible to target the following areas of disease transmission and morbidity: reducing the transmission rate through social distancing, hygiene, masks, and business closures; reducing the infection rate through vaccinations; treating the virus itself with antiviral medications; and preventing the acute respiratory distress syndrome that the virus causes in acute cases. These methods will be discussed in greater detail below.
Africa: A Case Study
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to 1.1 billion people, 14% of the total population of the planet. Due to their colonial past and present, the nations of the region suffer extreme poverty, lack of electricity, and slum conditions in its urban centers, at anywhere from 2–5 times the average global rate. Sub-Saharan Africa has:
14% of the world’s population
60% of the world’s extreme poor
70% of those worldwide lacking access to electricity
20% of urban dwellers worldwide living in slums.
Measures of Underdevelopment
|Total Population (billions, 2020)||7.8||1.4||1.1||0.2||0.011|
|Population in Extreme Poverty||9%||0%||41%||47%||80%|
|Lack Access to Electricity (%, 2017)||11%||0%||55%||46%||56%|
|Urban population in slums* (%, 2014)||30%||25%||55%||50%||74%|
Data Source: World Bank, which defines a slum* as a housing unit lacking one or more of the following: running water, adequate sanitation, sufficient living area, or durability of housing.
This is a part of the human race where the potential relative population-density has clearly plunged way below the actual population, courtesy of the genocidal policies of the British Empire and their Wall Street sidekicks.
Consider also the case of Haiti, by far the poorest country in Latin America and the Caribbean, with conditions similar to those of the most immiserated African nations. Haiti has a population of 11.1 million. Health experts have estimated that the COVID-19 pandemic could claim about 800,000 lives in Haiti — over 7% of the population.
Nigeria, with about a fifth of Sub-Saharan Africa’s total population, has key poverty and related indicators that are typical for the whole region. The problems that Nigeria faces in combating the coronavirus are emblematic of not only Africa, but the entire Third World.
In the developing sector in general, including countries like Nigeria, large percentages of their populations live in inhuman squalor. The majority of their workforces are in the “informal economy,” surviving from day to day on street activities that range from the gray to the black economy. In many cases, up to 70–80% of their workforce is part of the informal economy. “Sheltering in place” or locking down without work means literal starvation for very large numbers of people, as well as certain infection with COVID-19 in the slums where they live. Wash your hands repeatedly? This is a cruel joke to the millions and millions of Africans, Asians, Latin Americans and others who do not even have running water.
So how should the pandemic be addressed in such nations?
1) There must be a totally centralized national approach, in many countries centered on the military, which is often the only institution capable of organizing and carrying out such an approach. In many cases, for good or bad, they are also the only remaining national institution still standing, and with popular credibility.
2) The population, especially in the cities, has to be fully tested and segregated into two broad groups: Group A, who do not have COVID-19; and Group B, those who tested positive, even if they are asymptomatic. The health care and other public officials conscripted to perform the tests must be supplied with advanced testing equipment in sufficient supply, along with adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and other protection.
3) “Group B” must be immediately quarantined in separate housing units, whether hotels, converted office buildings, sports and convention centers, or quickly constructed new modular housing units. Those new facilities must have work and recreational facilities in situ, for those well enough to use them, as well as necessary staffing of skilled personnel, including nurses and doctors. Those health professionals will also have to be quarantined, so as to not infect their own families and friends.
4) Sick and very sick patients must be hospitalized. New hospitals have to be built with sufficient beds to handle the patient load, and dedicated exclusively to COVID-19 cases. Adequate staffing by doctors and nurses has to be organized, including by nationally conscripting them.
5) “Group A” must be quickly formed into education and work brigades, both in industry and agriculture, much like FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps project in the Great Depression in the United States. They must produce food, housing and clothing sufficient to feed themselves, as well as “Group B.” This will require a return to national food self sufficiency, which in turn will necessitate the importation of the capital inputs for modern agriculture — such as fertilizer, pesticides, tractors and irrigation. The local workforce must also start building the housing, hospitals, and other required infrastructure to get the job done. This will require on-the-job training and large-scale transfer of modern technologies
What China is already doing in Africa with the construction of new rail lines and other infrastructure is exemplary. The extension of the World Land-Bridge into Africa is essential, and will benefit enormously from in-depth cooperation between China and the United States in particular, as well as other countries.
But more must immediately be done by the world community to address the African situation, as we elaborate at the conclusion of this report.
Continue to Part II
Public Health Measures
In Part I, we laid out our overview of tackling the global pandemic from a global standpoint. Here in Part II, we will discuss necessary health measures in more detail. Part III will take up the physical, economic, scientific, and political changes needed to make these measures possible on a global scale.
Health Care for Serious Cases
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (University of Washington School of Medicine) estimates, as of April 8, that a peak of approximately 100,000 hospital beds, 20,000 ICU beds, and over 16,000 ventilators will be required, based on current rates of spread and medical care. According to a survey by the American Hospital Association, in 2018 there were just shy of 800,000 staffed beds in U.S. community hospitals, and around 70,000–80,000 adult ICU beds. Since these beds are not typically empty, just waiting for patients to need them, the large number of beds does not mean that there will not be shortages, especially local shortages, as the number of hospitalized patients reaches its peak.
The current level of total hospital beds in the United States, in its broadest measure, is 2.8 per 1,000 people, barely one-third the 1970 level of 7.9 beds. On the basis of “community hospital beds,” which most of the population uses, there are only 2.4 beds per 1,000 people.
Consider the power, water, sanitation, and transportation requirements of hospitals. Using the United States as a case study, an additional 575,000 beds would be required to bring the national average to 4.5 per 1,000 people. According to a 2007 report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the largest 3,040 hospitals, with approximately 915,000 beds (at the time of the study), used about 458 trillion BTUs of energy per year: 194 trillion BTUs in the form of electricity (57 billion kWh) and the remainder in the form of natural gas, district heating, and fuel oil.
Using this figure, hospitals with an additional 575,000 beds would require about 36 billion kWh of electricity per year. That translates into power plants supplying 5,000 MW at an 80% capacity factor. This would be the equivalent of five large nuclear reactors or two Grand Coulee Dams (running at average capacity). And that doesn’t even take into account the natural gas requirements!
In the same report, EIA estimated that these 3,040 large hospitals used 133 billion gallons of water per year. Hospitals with an additional 575,000 beds would require an additional 84 billion gallons per year. For a sense of perspective, the world’s largest proposed desalination plant, located in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, would provide about 100 billion gallons of desalinated water per year.
To bring online another 15 to 20 million hospital beds — to bring the world hospital bed count to the Hill–Burton level of 35 million hospital beds — would require about 100,000 MW of generating capacity, as could be supplied by 100 large nuclear power plants or nearly 2,000 small scale modular nuclear plants. Global water requirements for these new hospitals would require about 4 trillion gallons annually, which is about half the volume of water contained by the Three Gorges Dam.
Hospital beds aren’t much good without doctors and nurses. The current crisis is seeing retired health care workers coming back to work, and there are cases of medical schools offering early graduation for students in their final year if they are willing to immediately go to work as doctors. As virus hotspots move around the world, healthcare providers able to travel should be encouraged to work in other regions and countries.
Using influenza pandemic scenarios considered in a 2005 planning study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there could be several million hospitalizations in the United States, with up to a million or more patients requiring ICU treatment and half a million requiring mechanical ventilators. Projecting from these figures to the present world population, 10 million people could require ventilators, with an estimated 1 million each in Africa, Latin America, and India.
Personal Protective Equipment
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is used at health care facilities to prevent patients from transmitting disease to health care workers or other patients. This includes gloves, respirators and masks, face visors, goggles, gowns, hair coverings, and full-body suits. Without the high-quality filtration afforded by a N95 (or equivalent) certified mask, workers are put at serious risk of catching the disease themselves. Shortages are causing enormous price increases and tensions among nations seeking to produce or to import equipment from those nations that manufacture it.
An industrial gear-up is required to ensure that adequate supplies of PPE are available.
The physical layout of a hospital or other care facility can have an enormous impact on the quantity of PPE required. In a healthcare setting that includes only confirmed COVID-19 cases, care need not be taken to avoid transmitting the disease from one patient to another, and health care workers can wear protective equipment through an entire shift. But if nurses must attend to patients of mixed COVID-19 status, best practices mandate that they equip themselves with PPE before entering a COVID-19 patient room, and then dispose of the equipment immediately upon leaving, to avoid carrying the virus to the uninfected patients they will next be visiting. With this setup, ten sets of PPE could be consumed per day per patient room. Thus, health care facility arrangements that separate COVID from non-COVID patients can permit significant savings of PPE. Accurately separating these patients requires testing.
A properly fitted N95 respirator protects the wearer from 95% of particles over 0.3 microns in size. While the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus itself is smaller than this size, the virions do not float around entirely on their own and are effectively blocked by N95 respirator masks.
A 2015 study by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, examining three scenarios of demand, estimated that if 20–30% of the U.S. population were to become ill, some 4 billion N95 respirator masks would be required. Extrapolating this figure to the world’s population, the global requirements would be on the order of 100 billion N95 masks for the duration of the outbreak: some 15 billion in Africa, 10 billion in Latin America, and 20 billion in India.
Rapid Point-of-Care Testing
Developments in testing technology now allow for thousands of tests to be processed per day by a single piece of equipment in a dedicated laboratory (high-throughput) as well as for rapid test results at the point of care. The development by Abbott Laboratories of a portable testing unit capable of delivering a positive result in as little as 5 minutes or a negative result within a quarter hour greatly speeds the process of processing patients presenting with possible COVID symptoms, allowing them to be sent to the appropriate COVID-only or non-COVID facility or hospital wing.
Health Care for Mild or Asymptomatic Cases
Everyone confirmed to have the novel coronavirus should have the opportunity to be isolated from their neighbors, roommates, and families. This means that asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic individuals must be offered free room and board accommodations in facilities designed to keep them isolated and healthy. Hotels — which have occupancy rates in the single digits — could be repurposed to this effect, with adequate PPE supplies and training for a reduced hospital staff. The types of shelter arrangements provided following natural disasters would also be appropriate for these individuals.
This was the approach taken in Wuhan, in which every positive confirmed case was isolated under medical supervision, whether in a hospital, gymnasium, or hotel. Mild and asymptomatic cases could then socialize and engage in group exercise classes — far better for their mental health than hiding in a room at home, fearful of infecting their loved ones! Two negative nucleic acid tests for the virus, taken 24 hours apart, were required before people could leave the isolation facilities. This form of isolation, going beyond staying (and infecting) at home, helped drive Wuhan’s eventual victory over the virus.
In fact, China’s achievement in Wuhan remains the most successful model to date for combating the coronavirus.
Since anywhere from one-quarter to one-half of those infected with the coronavirus display extremely mild symptoms or no symptoms at all, it is impossible to rely on symptoms to locate all cases of the disease. Large-scale community testing — emphatically including for those without symptoms — will make it possible to isolate cases in an effective and targeted way and make contact-tracing more manageable. South Korea tested one in 170 people and used this knowledge to trace contacts, alert residents via text messages of nearby cases and hotspots, and reduce the spread of the disease.
The large-scale shutdowns currently used to crush the spread of the coronavirus do carry a toll, both economic and social. While these shutdowns are appropriate given a relatively low level of testing, truly large-scale testing will make it possible to make intelligent decisions about lifting restrictions.
To test the world at the South Korea level of one in 170, would require 45 million tests. But many people will require more than one test: Examples include a person who has tested negative but who has had recent potential exposure or a person in an isolation facility who is being tested to make sure it is safe to discharge them. To perform 60 million tests (factoring in some people being tested multiple times) at current worldwide testing rates would take the better part of a year.
The nasal swab tests most widely used at present operate by detecting components of the virus’s genome. These are referred to as PCR tests, named for the polymerase chain reaction process by which the genetic material is multiplied by 1,000,000 to 1,000,000,000 times to allow it to be detected.
Another kind of test would use blood, rather than swabs, and would detect, instead of the virus itself, antibodies produced by the body to fight the disease. These antibodies are present in people who were once infected but have since recovered. A virus test would come back negative, but an antibody test would be positive. With these tests, it will be possible to identify potential blood plasma donors (for convalescent blood serum therapy) and identify people who are no longer infected and likely to be immune. If further research reveals that the immunity enjoyed by those who have recovered is long-lasting, perhaps such people could be allowed to return to work, or be recruited to serve in the community as coordinators of meal deliveries, workers in isolation facilities for mild cases, etc.
Yet another form of testing could use samples of untreated sewage to detect the general presence and prevalence of the virus in a community.
Treatments and Vaccines
Pharmaceutical interventions can save lives and reduce disease in several ways. Vaccines “teach” the immune system about a pathogen, allowing it to immediately fight it when encountered in the future. Antiviral medications can target the virus itself, by preventing its entry into cells or its replication. Antibodies, derived from the blood of recovered patients or produced in a laboratory, can help the immune system fight the virus. Combating cytokine storms is a fourth approach, which could reduce the deadly respiratory effects of the virus, while not fighting the virus itself.
Readers eager to learn more can visit the accompanying information page “Pharmaceutical Interventions to Defeat COVID-19.”
Vaccines are used in advance to protect people from contracting a disease, by “priming the pump” of the immune system to get practice in defeating something that is similar to the pathogen but does not itself cause harm. People who are vaccinated against a disease are able to quickly fight it off if they come in contact with it, since their bodies are already prepared to do so.
The first phase of research is to establish the safety of the new vaccine. Researchers must make sure that the vaccine doesn’t itself cause problems. If study results are promising, the next phases of study will determine the effectiveness of the vaccine. Then manufacturing capabilities must be developed to produce the specific treatment. These multiple stages are the reason that a timespan of 12-18 months is given for vaccine development and production.
Once the virus has taken hold in the body, treatments can prevent it from entering cells, prevent it from replicating, or target it for destruction by the immune system.
Several already existing medications are undergoing testing:
- Avigan (favilavir / favipiravir) — an anti-influenza drug developed by Fujifilm in Japan, it is now included in China’s treatment plan and is being studied in several countries, including the United States, China, and Japan.
- Remdesivir — undergoing trials in several nations, this drug was originally developed to combat Ebola by Gilead Sciences in the U.S., a company with significant experience treating other viral infections.
- Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) and chloroquine — originally used to treat malaria, these drugs have been used for auto-immune disorders as well. Trials are underway around the world, and many hospitals are already using hydroxychloroquine for their COVID-19 patients. Hundreds of millions of tablets are being produced even as its effectiveness is being studied.
Antibodies are structures created by the human immune system, which attach to pathogens, deactivating them, preventing their entry into cells, or marking them for destruction by the immune system. They can be created in the laboratory by using yeast, mice, or other animals as “factories.” At least a dozen groups are working on developing antibodies against the coronavirus.
Plasma of Recovered Patients
When someone recovers from the coronavirus, their blood continues to contain antibodies created by their own immune system to defeat the virus. Their donated blood can be transfused into severely ill patients to help their bodies fight the disease. U.S. hospital use of this technique began in the last weekend in March, and appeals on social media are now recruiting recovered COVID-19 survivors to donate their blood to help others.
Preventing Lung Problems
There are some drugs that do not target the virus itself, but seek to reduce the death rate and symptoms of COVID-19.
An advanced stage of the disease, in which severe and life-threatening respiratory problems develop, is associated with an excessive response by the body’s own immune system, in which the patient’s body damages healthy lung cells in addition to those harboring the virus. Two antibody drugs already approved for other conditions — Kevzara (sarilumab) and Actemra (tocilizumab) — are being studied and used to reduce this excessive immune system activity. Entirely new antibodies are also being developed for this purpose.
Steroids can be used to reduce the immune auto-response, although they have the side effect of weakening the immune system. They are also becoming widely used by physicians.
Society must maintain stability, and people who are ill must be able to follow public health measures.
Sick leave, unemployment benefits, basic income stipend payments
It is impossible to require people to remain at home if they rely on their daily work to supply their necessities of life. It is impossible to require homeless people to remain at home.
Employees must be provided with sick leave time to allow them to quarantine themselves to arrest the spread of the virus. Loans and grants must be made to businesses to allow them to continue to pay employees unable to work. Unemployment protection should be expanded to include those in nontraditional employment situations. To protect those who work informally and could not be expected to benefit from such programs, direct assistance in the form of basic income payments and the supply of necessities such as food and basic supplies is required. It is important that the isolation facilities for positive cases include people without homes, and that food and other necessities be included to allow everyone to isolate safely.
Moratorium on foreclosures, evictions, and utility shutoffs
Basic income to ensure the necessities of life will not be sufficient to pay mortgages, rent, utilities and car payments. A moratorium on foreclosures, evictions and utility shutoffs (including internet and telephones) must be implemented during the time of lockdown, and payments on mortgages and personal loans should be made optional. Businesses negatively affected by these policies will be able to apply for aid.
Securing financial system stability
The world’s financial system, particularly that in the trans-Atlantic world, includes quadrillions of dollars in financial instruments that can never be settled. There should be no general attempt to maintain the values of financial markets. The financial collapse now occurring may have been triggered by the coronavirus, but the conditions for the blow-out have been laid by decades of disastrous policies. As Lyndon LaRouche expressed concisely with his triple-curve image, the physical productivity of many so-called “western” nations (including the United States) has decreased in per capita terms over the last several decades, in a way that accelerated with the collapse of the Soviet Union, while financialization has increased at a rapid and accelerating rate.
The required summit of the leaders of the United States, Russia, China, and India must take up the need for an orderly bankruptcy-style reorganization of the financial markets, to set the stage for banking to play a useful role in financing a global economic and health gear-up.
Social Distancing / Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions
Closing of non-essential businesses
People whose daily work is not truly essential for the functioning of society should stay home. Financial and logistical arrangements required to support their livelihood must be implemented. ideas
Everyone should wear masks when they are among other people (which should be kept to an absolute minimum). This will provide the wearers themselves some protection against infection and reduce the potential for wearers to spread the disease. They also reduce face-touching. Read why here. (Note that the CDC now does recommend wearing masks.)
Hand washing / sanitation
Frequent hand washing with soap can help reduce the spread of coronavirus, as does the use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
But there are over three-quarters of a billion people on this globe without access to improved water. Two and a half billion people lack access to improved sanitation infrastructure. The costs to health and well-being are staggering. According to a fact sheet issued by the CDC, citing research published in the Lancet, every year 800,000 children under five years of age die from diarrheal diseases. Lack of sanitation and of water for drinking and hygiene contributes to 88% of deaths from diarrheal diseases worldwide.
Urging a community without sanitary facilities to practice frequent handwashing is both insulting and foolish. A crash program to develop sanitary facilities must be implemented, supplemented with the provision of hand sanitizer for hygiene purposes.
In the United States, the NSA’s intimate knowledge of the whereabouts of everyone with a cellphone can be put to good use! As one example, it could be used to provide text alerts to people who have been in the vicinity of someone who later tests positive. This approach was used in South Korea to help people get a better sense of their risk of exposure, and is part of the relative success that nation has seen in reducing the spread of coronavirus.
When testing is performed at a high enough level to give a sense of the different incidence of the virus in different areas, travel restrictions may be sensible to prevent its spread from areas with significant community transmission. This may make more sense as the first wave of the pandemic is crushed.
Continue to Part III
Industry, Infrastructure, and Politics
This is the third part in a three-part series. In Part I, we gave a road map for tackling the COVID-19 pandemic from a global standpoint. In Part II, we discussed the necessary health measures in more detail.
Providing the health measures in Chapter 1 will require major investments into manufacturing and into basic economic infrastructure. Here in Part III, we take up the physical, economic, scientific, and political changes needed to make these measures possible on a global scale. The inexcusable condition of the world, in which poverty still exists in the year 2020, must be remedied. This is eminently possible, as China’s experience in eliminating poverty over the past four decades has shown.
The platforms of physical improvements we make to our surroundings provide the human species with a synthetic, nurturing environment far superior to the “natural” environment we share with the apes. By controlling water flows, draining swamps, irrigating fields, building canals, railroads and roadways, developing water and wastewater systems, creating electrical and communication grids, and improving the flora and fauna, the human species has a unique power to make this Earth a garden. This infrastructure includes such soft infrastructure as an educated and culturally uplifted populace. Much of the investment into eliminating poverty will be of the form of basic economic infrastructure. And the current coronavirus pandemic points to the particularly urgent need of health infrastructure. But can a hospital be built where there are no roads or electricity? What are the requirements for the provision of health services?
Numerous companies have expressed interest in retooling for the production of ventilators, from automakers to aerospace companies. The list includes:
- Automakers General Motors (which will work with Ventec Life Systems to produce 10,000 units a week), Ford Motor Company (which has committed, with General Electric, to produce 50,000 by July 4), McLaren, Jaguar Land Rover, and the VW Group.
- Aerospace companies such as Brazil-based Embraer, Europe-based Rolls Royce and Airbus, and the American firm SpaceX.
Current producers are ramping up production:
- Philips is doubling production to 2,000 per week, and Getinge will increase production to 3,750 per week. Drager, Vyaire, and the Smiths Group are all working to produce additional ventilators for governments.
If all goes according to projection, the companies listed above would supply at least 300,000 ventilators by July. An April 9 Politico article reports that estimated demand solely from the United States and several Western European nations was for one million ventilators; the world’s needs will be higher.
3M intends to double its international production to 2 billion N95 respirators over the next year, and is presently producing about 100 million respirators per month.
Honeywell Industries has upgraded a facility in Rhode Island and is revamping its aerospace facility in Phoenix as part of their overall increase in production to 120 million per year.
Required Global Policy Changes
The coronavirus pandemic now afflicting the world is only one of the deadly viruses we face. The financial virus chiefly centered in the City of London and in Wall Street has proven to be no less deadly over the past decades. The cultural virus infecting the addled minds of foolish politicians still fighting the Cold War threatens to wreck the potential for precisely the kind of collaboration required to defeat the other viruses.
A summit discussion involving President Donald Trump, President Vladimir Putin, President Xi Jinping, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi is urgently required to achieve the cooperation needed in the short term to address the menacing health crisis. Such a summit is also the means by which, according to Lyndon LaRouche, a new and just economic system can be put into place globally.
The world must join forces as a single humanity to stop the impending mass-death in Africa, in particular, as the coronavirus spreads. Brigades of engineers, medics, and other skilled personnel from scores of nations must be mobilized, deployed and coordinated under the United Nations and African Union, and with full respect for the sovereignty of all nations. Building health and sanitation infrastructure, assisting in supplying necessary medical and protective equipment, and assisting with administration of health systems are among the urgent jobs at hand.
African nations must also be granted an immediate cancellation of their foreign debts; the world must choose life over debt.
Similarly, all sanctions, armed conflict, border disputes and the like must stop internationally. Much better to use those resources for the common battle of mankind against the coronavirus.
A Paradigm Shift
Lyndon LaRouche warned nearly fifty years ago that President Nixon’s August 15, 1971 takedown of the Bretton Woods system would lead to devastating economic effects that would result, in the end, in fascism. This is seen today in, among other places, the green outlook whereby people supposedly concerned about the world’s future act to deny energy development to the world, condemning millions to early deaths. Some few years later, in 1974 and 1975, LaRouche warned that worsening economic conditions would create the conditions for the rapid spread of diseases, including new diseases, threatening a biological holocaust. While it may seem that China and major developed countries are bringing the current pandemic under some form of control, what will the next months bring to the developing world if there is not a radical and sudden change?
To create an economy resilient in the face of such crises as the emergence of new diseases, requires enormous investments in basic economic infrastructure, as well as a reconceptualization of economics.
Lyndon LaRouche was adamant that economics is not about money, or about values that could be expressed in monetary terms. Rather, the secret of economic growth is the ability of the creative human mind to discover and develop new physical principles that expand the capabilities of the human species. As a rough measure of the value of a discovery, or of a cultural outlook, Lyndon LaRouche used the metric of increase of potential relative population density — a measure of what the population density could be, relative to the quality of land and improvements made to it. That is, how many people could be supported, per square kilometer, on the basis of a certain repertoire of discoveries, technologies, and culture? And what sort of culture could act to increase that value? That is the location of economic value.
In one of his last policy papers, Lyndon LaRouche demanded the immediate implementation of four laws that he said were necessary for the United States. They are needed for the world as well. First, a banking reform based on principles of the 1933 Glass–Steagall law, to deny speculative investment the protection of government while ensuring commercial banking could play its useful role. Second, national banking arrangements whereby governments can make long-term credit available for physical economic purposes, rather than for financial stability as has been the practice of the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank. Third, metrics for the application of the needed credit, based not on financial gain but on physical economic growth. Fourth, the new discoveries needed for human growth over the next fifty to a hundred years: nuclear fusion, space research, and fundamental breakthroughs in biology, to name three powerful examples.
By unlocking the true economic potential of our current repertoire of scientific discoveries and the potential to further expand it, poverty and hunger can be entirely eliminated within a generation, or even within a decade. Nuclear fusion power will change our relationship to energy, water, and resources. Fusion-powered rockets will keep us safe from any asteroids threatening to careen into our planet. Biological advancements will cure disease and allow for the rapid eradication of newly emerging threats. And, most importantly, the fear of large-scale international conflict can be overcome as we come to realize our common aims, here on Earth, and beyond!
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The Belt and Road and Apollo Program: Sources of Inspiration
By Hussein Askary and Jason Ross
In just a few days, world leaders will gather in New York for the 74th U.N. General Assembly summit, whose theme this year is “Sustainable Development.” The gathering is expected to attract developing nations’ leaders who are eager to see the implementation of the prioritized UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG2030). The priority goals are the eradication of poverty (Goal 1), eradication of hunger (Goal 2), providing good healthcare (3), quality education (4), clean water (6), available and affordable energy (7), economic growth (8), and infrastructure and industrialization (9). Despite the very real urgency of achieving these goals, the US, the EU, and the UN bureaucracy itself will likely place the greatest emphasis on Goal 13 (Climate Action)!
Wealthy doomsday prophets from Western countries will be descending on the UN building in New York, flying in planes, sailing on yachts, or crawling on the ground to preach the prophecy of the “end of the world” through the collapse of Earth’s climate—caused, they say, by continued economic growth and industrial development. They are joining a growing group of powerful financial and banking interests in the Western world who intend to enrich themselves through what they call “green growth” and “green finance.” The intention is to stop real economic growth and technological and scientific progress on a global scale to “save the planet.” In the meantime, the aspirations of poor countries and developing nations will have to take a back seat, because, obviously, there are more urgent matters than eliminating poverty and hunger, providing healthcare, education, and clean water and electricity to billions of people.
During the colonial period, the people of colonized nations were told that they were inferior beings, for whom poverty was the natural condition. In the post-colonial period, they were told that their poverty was the natural result of having corrupt leaders. Today, developing nations are told they are poor because the greedy, greedy industrial world caused climate change, and that they should never ever attempt to emulate the industrial world. Instead, they will get “climate-change mitigation” aid and handouts. Following this outlook would make poverty permanent (sustained) for generations.
The continued drumbeat for ending economic development is not new, but it has reached a hysterical level threatening both industrialized and developing nations. The vague discussion of “sustainable development” is partly to blame. The authors of this article are inclined to believe that there is a fundamental contradiction and discrepancy between how this term is propagated in the West and how it is perceived in China and other developing nations. In China and other developing countries, it is read “sustainable development” (with emphasis on “development”), while in the West, the emphasis lies on “sustainable.”
The Main Premise: Limited Resources!
The term “sustainable development” was formally codified by the United Nations through the 1987 Brundtland Report. (footnote 1) It is usually associated with promoting the use of so-called “renewable” sources of energy, such as solar and wind power, and is generally concerned with alleged adverse impacts of human activity on the environment. The referenced report states that “sustainable development” is defined as sufficient development to cover the “basic needs” of poor societies, i.e., the bare minimum to ensure survival, as well as extending to all nations and peoples the opportunity to fulfill their aspirations for better living standards.
However, the report states that many people in modern societies “live beyond the world’s ecological means, for instance in our patterns of energy use,” and warns that “sustainable development requires the promotion of values that encourage consumption standards that are within the bounds of the ecological possible and to which all can reasonably aspire.” How are these bounds determined? The report concedes that “the accumulation of knowledge and the development of technology can enhance the carrying capacity of the resource base. But ultimate limits there are, and sustainability requires that long before these are reached, the world must ensure equitable access to the constrained resource and reorient technological efforts to relieve the presume.” But are there truly ultimate limits for irreplaceable resources? Are the limits fixed by nature, or are they determined by our discoveries and inventions?
The notion of limited natural resources and the so-called “carrying capacity” of the ecological system are not applicable to human society, since it is the level of scientific and technological progress which defines the range of “resources,” rather than an a priori “natural” limit. Therefore, adopting the “sustainable development” goals determined by such notions as are presented in the Brundtland Report poses a great obstacle to eliminating poverty and providing higher living standards and quality of life for all individuals and nations. What is needed is either a new definition of these notions, or the adoption of completely different concepts.
China has proven that the way out of poverty and onto the path of progress is through fast-track “industrialization” and large-scale development projects, including mega-projects, using the full range of resources, whether scientific, human, or natural. For example, all useful sources of energy, such as coal, oil, gas, hydropower, and nuclear power, must be used. While it is imperative that the sources of power with a greater energy-flux density, like nuclear fission and fusion, should replace the less dense sources, it is neither reasonable nor moral to ask poor nations to avoid the sources of power that enabled the United States, Europe, Japan and others to become modern industrial societies. The speed of power expansion required necessitates the use and construction of hydrocarbon power sources, while the needed nuclear industrial base is developed and scientific advances for fusion are made.
China’s economic miracle is based on implementing sound policies that seem to be the opposite of those demanded by such international institutions as the World Bank, the IMF, international environmental organizations, and financial consulting corporations and think tanks. China has followed a policy which was, ironically, the policy that made the US the greatest economic power on earth by the end of the 1940s, and made a ruined Germany the second greatest industrial power in the post-World War II world.
China’s is a dirigist policy of centralized, state-financed development of infrastructure and industry through national credit for long-term development, by using the latest technological and scientific innovations and developing new ones.
This discrepancy—between the proven successful methods of development, both current and historical (as in industrialization of the United States and Germany, for example) on the one hand, and what is now being promoted by international institutions on the other—must be addressed and eliminated. The new paradigm of development spearheaded by China and the BRICS nations is a key element in this process.
It is therefore necessary to state in clear terms, here, in this context, that the definition of the term “sustainable development” should mean the ability to maintain a process of providing ever higher levels of productivity and standards of living, both physically and culturally, to whole societies through scientific creativity and technological innovation. “Sustainable development” should not be used to mean the adaptation by society to an ever-shrinking base of fixed resources, because there is no such a thing as limited resources! What puts a limit to growth is the lack of cultural, scientific and technological progress.
China: The epitome of a developing nation
Between 1981 and 2018, China lifted 800 million of its citizens out of poverty—as attested by such institutions as the World Bank—by investing in urban and rural infrastructure projects, by completing mega-projects in transportation, water, and power, and by building an industrial and scientific capacity unparalleled in world history. The only close example of such rapid industrialization is the 1930s and 1940s New Deal and WWII mobilization under U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This unparalleled achievement can be replicated, in its outline, by all developing nations, although with different dimensions and characteristics. Over the past forty years, China built more water management projects than the United States had done in a hundred years. Another metric that emphasizes the immense magnitude of the undertaking is the fact that China used more cement in the three years 2011–2013, than did the United States during the entire 20th century! The Chinese 20,000 km high-speed railway network has already surpassed the combined networks of the Western European nations. China has 37 operating nuclear power plants (70% of which were built in the past decade alone), and a further 20 plants are under construction.
Enter the BRI
The announcement of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) by Chinese President Xi Jinping in late 2013, (footnote 2) which was a breakthrough for the New Silk Road policy adopted by China since 1996, transformed China’s development policy into a global strategy, an all-inclusive initiative for all nations, without exception, to join and to shape. The BRI hinges on the construction of infrastructure mega-projects whose scale has not been seen in the world since the U.S. New Deal before World War II, the post–World War II reconstruction of Germany, and the U.S. space program of the 1960s.
The BRI is based on the solid foundation of China’s own economic miracle in the past few decades, and is backed by the entirety of the massive financial, technological, human resources base, and political power of China. It has evolved from a national Chinese project of economic development and industrialization into a massive intercontinental initiative for connectivity and economic cooperation, an initiative that more than 120 nations have joined so far. The BRI is already becoming the biggest economic undertaking in the history of mankind. The developing sector nations, many of which enjoy massive geographical advantages and human and natural resources, are poised to reap major benefits from this global initiative.
The fact that China is sharing its amazing experience of industrialization and development of the past three decades with the rest of the world is a key element of success.
Through the BRI, China is offering the rest of the world its know-how, experience, and technology, backed by a $3 trillion financial arsenal. This is a great opportunity for West Asia and Africa to realize the dreams of the post–World War II independence era, dreams that have unfortunately been sabotaged for decades. The dramatic deficit in infrastructure both nationally and inter-regionally in West Asia and Africa can, ironically, be considered in this new light as a great opportunity. Although many other industrial nations in Europe, Asia and the Americas have technological and labor capabilities similar to those of China, they lack the vision and political will to apply these capabilities and to finance their use. Since West Asia and Africa are such strategically important areas for both East and West, it is, therefore, a perfect place for bringing the capabilities of the nations of the world into one concrete project of peaceful cooperation and development.
Encouraging signs have simultaneously emerged from African nations that have realized the importance of joining and benefiting from the new paradigm of development based on industrialization and large-scale infrastructure projects. Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Kenya, for example, have all designed impressive national development plans that are being implemented in rapid steps. But even here, China’s role is decisive.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)—the most compact and well-defined BRI project—is revolutionizing Pakistan, a nation which until a couple of years ago was indebted and broken, economically. Now, Pakistan is bustling with optimism and its economy being transformed by all the power, water, transport, and logistics projects being undertaken at breathtaking speed under the CPEC. The industrial base of Pakistan which was mostly shut down in the past few years due to lack of electricity, is poised to reemerge now. Pakistans ports, like Gwadar, are in the process of moving from an isolated and abandoned fishing village to world-class maritime transport and logistics hub. China’s investments in Pakistan are reaching USD 60-70 billion from the originally planned level of $45 billion.
Before the CPEC projects came to fruition, Pakistan’s economic development was stymied by the lack of electricity, which lack prevented the needed growth to escape the actual debt trap related to a lack of development. As a result of its large trade deficit, Pakistan’s growing foreign debt reached $95 billion in 2017. It has been running a yearly trade deficit of over $23 billion for the past few years. Pakistan’s main export items are raw materials and staple foodstuffs, and its main manufactured export is textiles. Staple food and raw materials suffer from price oscillations, whereas the textile sector’s competitiveness is crippled by the unreliable and inadequate energy supply. And it is precisely the crucial energy sector and transportation, that are the main focus of Chinese investments in the CPEC.
Pakistan’s energy imports have contributed significantly to its trade imbalance and indebtedness. Over the fiscal year 2017–2018, imports stood at $60.86 billion, 2.6 times the $23.22 billion of exports, resulting in a historically high trade deficit of $37.64 billion. Nearly a quarter of Pakistan’s imports were energy (oil and gas), amounting to $14.43 billion. (footnote 3) These energy imports constitute nearly half of the annual deficit! On August 3, 2018, the Pakistan Express Tribune reported that the British Standard Chartered Bank was to extend a $200-million commercial loan (at 4.2% interest rate) to Pakistan to finance LNG imports. The SCB is one of Pakistan’s largest lenders, with $1.1 billion in loans in 2016–2017 alone. This is how a nation walks into a debt trap.
Before the full completion of CPEC power projects, Pakistan’s total installed electrical capacity was 25,000 MW (2017), with the average demand being 19,000 MW.
Installed capacities, broken down by production type, was as follows: 1. Hydrocarbons (thermal) 14.7 GW, comprising 64% of installed capacity, 2. hydropower 7.1 GW (31% ), 3. nuclear 0.7 GW (3%), 4. wind, solar, biogas 0.4 GW (2%). (footnote 4)
Considered in terms of actual electricity production, the figures are as follows: (1) hydrocarbons (thermal) 58.5 TWh, comprising 60% of electricity production, (2) hydro 32.9 TWh (34%), (3) nuclear 5.0 THw (5%), (4) wind, solar, biogas 0.8 TWh (0.8%).
In the decade preceding the CPEC, Pakistan’s annual electricity consumption lingered in the range of 70–80 TWh, approximately 50 watts (or 440 kWh/yr) per capita. With the completion of a portion of the CPEC power projects, the nation’s electricity consumption rose to 100 TWh in 2018, bringing the average up to 500 kWh capita. This growth is good, but the figure is still far too low, and tens of millions of Pakistanis do not yet have access to grid electricity.
The CPEC energy projects will play a significant role in expanding electricity access in Pakistan. (footnote 5) This can eliminate the energy deficit and prepare the economy for a further surge in industrial activity. The breakdown of the investments that are completed, under construction or negotiation is as follows: Coal plants: 8,580 MW; Hydropower: 2,700 MW; other thermal plants (natural gas): 825 MW; Solar power plants: 900 MW; wind farms: 350 MW. (footnote 6) The expected total new electricity generating capacity is 13,355 MW. And the total cost of all these power generation projects (including mining of coal and electricity transmission lines) is estimated to be $23-30 billion, which is approximately the cost of two years’ imports of oil and gas, and less than the annual trade deficit.
To tell Pakistan today to stop the coal power plants amounts to telling its people to commit collective suicide.
Pakistan was never enabled, or allowed, by its Western “friends”—who needed the country to fight the Soviet army in Afghanistan throughout the 1980s and the Taliban since 2001—to fully develop its clean and “carbon-free” nuclear power. This is poised to change, since China and Russia are fully capable of assisting in the construction of nuclear power plants. The choice of coal power at this moment is due to the fact that Pakistan has the raw material in abundance, because it takes a relatively short time (18-24 months) to construct a modern coal power plant, and because the necessary skills, equipment, and planning to produce them in large numbers currently exist. Nuclear power plants are complicated in both time and physical requirements. While coal may not be an ideal choice over the long term (30-40 years), the only reasonable alternative is nuclear power, for which the necessary construction capabilities must be geared up worldwide. For the Pakistani nation and economy to reach the platform of being able to build or participate in building its own nuclear power plants, its economy needs to be revived and developed now.
The attempt to supply the energy needs of Pakistan—or nearly (footnote 7) any nation, for that matter—by so-called “green” or “renewable” technologies for electricity production, would be an exercise in extortionately expensive futility, leading to real human suffering.
Chinese President Xi’s Philosophy of Development: “Make the cake bigger!”
By carefully reading the speeches and writings of the Chinese President Xi Jinping without ideological prejudice, we conclude that what Xi means by “sustainable development” is not what politicians and economists in the West mean by that term.
In his speech to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China on October 18, 2017, Xi thoroughly describes the goals of development set out by him and the party, and clearly explains his understanding of the “Scientific Outlook on Development.” According to him, this is one of the key five guiding principles of the Communist Party of China (besides Marxism-Leninism, Mao Zedong Thought, Deng Xiaoping Theory, the Theory of the Three Represents). In point four of his speech, “Adopting a New Vision of Development,” Xi said: “Development is the underpinning and the key for solving our country’s problems.” He emphasized: “We must pursue a model of sustainable development featuring increased production, higher living standards, and healthy ecosystems.”
Rather than focusing on “limited resources” and how to divide them, Xi often uses the metaphor of “rather than fighting over a small cake, make the cake bigger” when urging his party comrades to think outside the box. Most indoctrinated so-called experts in the Western world would see this today as a contradiction of terms, because they believe that increased production and raising the living standards cause ecological problems and will inevitably hit the wall of limited resources.
Even more provocative to Western observers are Xi’s repeated calls for the industrialization of Africa. In his speech at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg, South Africa in December 2015, Xi said the following:
“Industrialization is an inevitable path to a country’s economic success. Within a short span of several decades, China has accomplished what took developed countries hundreds of years to accomplish and put in place a complete industrial system with an enormous production capacity…
“It is entirely possible for Africa, as the world’s most promising region in terms of development potential, to bring into play its advantages and achieve great success…. The achievement of inclusive and sustainable development in Africa hinges on industrialization, which holds the key to creating jobs, eradicating poverty and improving people’s living standards.”
President Xi did not say this as a provocation to the West, but because he truly holds this view, which is completely in sync with China’s own fantastic feat of development in the past three decades.
The most transparent and scientific definition of “sustainable development” according to Xi is described in a speech titled “A Deeper Understanding of the New Development Concepts,” which he delivered on January 18, 2016 at a study session of the implementation of the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee. The term “coordinated development,” he says, has acquired new features. In the usual Chinese philosophical manner that is not fearful of contradictions that lead to solutions, he stated: “Coordinated development is the unity of balanced development and imbalanced development. The process from balance to imbalance and then to rebalance is the basic law of development. Balance is relative while imbalance is absolute. Emphasizing coordinated development is not pursuing equalitarianism, but giving more importance to equal opportunities and balanced resource allocation.”
Xi continued: “Coordinated development is the unity of weakness and potential in development. China is in a stage of transition from a middle-income country to a high-income country. According to international experience, this is a stage of concentrated conflicts of interest, in which imbalanced development and various weaknesses are inevitable. To pursue coordinated development, we should identify and improve our weaknesses, so as to tap development potential and sustain growth momentum.” (footnote 8)
No state of equilibrium: Breaking the boundary conditions
In this speech and other speeches on the concepts of development, Xi has emphasized that the way to overcome such contradictions is to pursue scientific and technological creativity and innovation. It is very clear that Xi realizes that there is no such a thing as a “state of equilibrium,” but rather there is a process of progress and sustained growth, although he emphasizes that the goal is growth that is qualitative, rather than merely quantitative.
People in the West hear every day that the modern civilization has hit the wall, that limits of growth and technological development have been reached, that Earth’s carrying capacity has met its limit, and that the solution is to slow down, roll back industrialization and reduce the world population, because we cannot sustain growth indefinitely.
The proponents of zero-growth base their theories on a fictitious “state of equilibrium” in nature between limited natural resources and the biological needs of all species, humans included, on this one and only planet! Life itself, the biosphere and the human species have proven that there is no such a static state of equilibrium, but that there is a process of progress and development. But that process of development usually bumps into certain boundary conditions, because a previous key “natural resource” is depleted. However, creative and revolutionary technological leaps break that boundary condition and brings life to a new and more intensive platform of progress. In other words, when a society hits a wall, it has to build a ladder and climb the wall to come to the new, but higher platform of economic development. That ladder is scientific and technological progress.
Human Creativity: the Greatest — and Infinite — Natural Resource
In a discussion of the role of science as a driver for the development of any nation, President Xi stated in a speech delivered to the Fifth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee on October 29, 2015, “Innovative development focuses on the drivers of growth. Our ability to innovate is inadequate. Our science and technology is not fully developed, and is unable to create momentum to support economic and social development. This is the Achilles heel for such a big economy as China.” (footnote 9) Concerning the primacy of human creativity to so-called natural resources, Xi stressed: “So we must consider innovation as the primary driving force of growth and the core in this whole undertaking, and human resources as the primary source to support development. We should promote innovation in theory, systems, science and technology, and culture, and make innovation the dominant theme in the work of the Party, and government, and everyday activity of in society.” (footnote 10)
Elaborating on the history of the impact of scientific progress since the Renaissance on the industrial development of Europe and later the United States, Xi informed his Party comrades: “In the 16th century, human society entered an unprecedented period of active innovation. Achievements in scientific innovation over the past five centuries have exceeded the sum total of several previous millenia… Each and every scientific and industrial revolution has profoundly changed the outlook and pattern of world development… Since the second Industrial Revolution, the U.S. has maintained global hegemony because it has always been the leader and the largest beneficiary of scientific and industrial progress.” (footnote 11)
Xi is not expressing frustration and envy over the fantastic past progress of Europe and the United States, but is urging his people to learn from those successes. As Confucius said in the Analects: “He who learns but does not think is lost. However, he who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.”
President Xi’s thoughts are clearly in harmony with those presented by American Economic Lyndon LaRouche, who has defined and treated economics in a scientific manner the same way physics is treated. LaRouche, the pioneer of Physical Economics, defined the process of progress of society as the building of new economic platforms.
The LaRouche View of Economics: Successive Economic Platforms!
Following his service in World War II, economist and statesman Lyndon LaRouche tackled a central problem to understanding economic growth: the seeming impossibility of representing the incommensurable value of scientific revolutions. To give an example of the difficulty involved, consider the initial development of steam power. This new technology transformed the power of coal, which had been used as a source of heat, into a source of motion, making it tremendously more valuable than it had been. The ability to separate the process of production both from the muscle power of people and beasts, and from a reliance on such local peculiarities as the availability of wind or flowing water, transformed the economic geography completely. The power of an individual worked increased by an order of magnitude. Goods that previously were created by hand by artisans and were consequently available only to the wealthy, could now be produced efficiently in larger numbers, making them available to a broader population. How can these varied benefits — in changing resources, increasing productivity, and altering the importance of geography — be understood?
LaRouche begins his theory with a consideration of the most important metric of human economy, the potential population density that can be achieved by a given society’s cultural and scientific development, adjusted for the conditions of geography (including man made improvements to that geography). This metric, potential relative population density, gives a rough understanding of the economic power brought to bear by a civilization. True economic value exists in those processes and developments that act to increase this metric.
As an additional metric, LaRouche insists that the intensity of power applied by a society — at the point of production as well as more broadly considered per capita and per land area — must increase with economic growth. This metric, energy flux density, involves both the quantitative increase in power available, and also its qualitative nature, as expressed in its intensity. For example, a laser uses a greater density of energy than does a metal cutting device, yet it may be able to cut a metal part using less total energy. This is a reflection of the greater energy flux density embodied in the laser. A similar example is the increasing ratio of energy use specifically as electricity — a more concentrated form of energy — to total energy use in an economy.
In addition to the concepts of potential relative population density and energy flux density, add another: the concept of the economic platform as a superior concept to that of infrastructure.
As we progress, we rely increasingly on an improved environment. Rather than walking on paths made by herds of animals or floating on natural rivers, we use roads, rail lines, subways, sidewalks. We increasingly work in illuminated buildings and enclosed vehicles, safe from the ravages of weather, rather than unprotected outdoors. The substrate upon which we depend, this built environment, is often considered as an accumulation of pieces of “infrastructure.” LaRouche takes a fresh approach to this concept, as in a 2010 paper:
We should then recognize that the development of basic economic infrastructure had always been a needed creation of what is required as a “habitable” development of a “synthetic,” rather than a presumably “natural” environment, for the enhancement, or even the possibility of human life and practice at some time in the existence of our human species. . . .
Man as a creator in the likeness of the great Creator, is expressed by humanity’s creation of the “artificial environments” we sometimes call “infrastructure,” on which both the progress, and even the merely continued existence of civilized society depends. (footnote 12)
LaRouche reconceptualizes the history of human development from the standpoint of a succession of economic platforms. The earliest human civilizations were limited in their movements to land and to the oceans and rivers. And this water transportation itself required the technologies of ship-building and navigation. The sky itself served as an infrastructure platform, its stars providing a means of finding one’s way. The construction of new rivers, in the form of navigable canals, marked the next great stage of human advancement, providing a new platform upon which to develop. The land itself changed in value, as areas that were previously quite distant from the seas and rivers were brought within its reach, including through supplementary road networks. The railroads — rivers of steel — were the next great platform, utilizing the scientific knowledge of metallurgy and of the steam engine to transform our relationship to the land, and to space and time themselves. Distances that were traversable only in weeks could now be crossed in days.
Connectivity grew and the economic potential of land increased by the availability of rail transport.
The next great platforms upon which human civilization will be based, will rely on new technologies of greater energy flux density. With the realization of nuclear fusion, building on the gains already achieved through the control over nuclear fission, our relationship to travel and to resources will be fundamentally altered. Processing of ores, which today requires the use of coke produced from coal for its chemical transformation, could be achieved in a much simpler way. The value of high-level concentrations of mineral deposits will decrease, as lower concentrations will be economically viable to use. Our relationship to water — a precious resource required in great quantities — will take on a new form as we use nuclear fusion to use the plentiful water in the world’s salty seas. Our power over space will grow exponentially as nuclear-powered rockets propel us quickly through the solar system, and move asteroids that might strike the Earth onto safer orbits!
In all of this analysis, money itself plays a secondary, although important role. Money, being a scalar value, cannot be used to assign a value to the steam engine, to the development of railroads, to the 1960s Apollo mission to the Moon, or to the coming breakthrough of nuclear fusion. While money can measure more of what existed previously, the benefits of these leaps is that they allow us to accomplish more than we could before. In each of these cases, the potential population density of the human race is increased, processes of higher energy flux density are used or unlocked, and a greater platform of created environment upon which other activity unfolds is born.
LaRouche has consistently urged the creation of economic and political systems that cohere with the laws of physical economics. This means national and international credit systems under which long-term credit can be provided for projects that increase the physical productivity of the nation or society, including in the many circumstances that such investments would not be financially profitable to a private investor. Instead of suffering under economic “laws” that have no universal validity, the financial system itself must be subjected to the creative will of man, and brought into coherence with the long-term goals of the species.
Key in upgrading our potential is the conquest of space, that great domain lying always over our heads, beckoning us to look up and to think big! From space, there is only one Earth, populated by a single human race. From space, the overwhelming potential of that beautiful, creative species becomes manifest. It is for this reason that many of the greatest space visionaries and engineers have developed profound reflections on the human race itself. The German-American Krafft Ehricke is one such example.
A species not Earth-bound
Space visionary Ehricke, whose scientific contributions made the Apollo Program possible, strongly disputed the “limits to growth” philosophy, and his arguments in opposition to it were informed by his deep relationship to science and technology. In a 1984 speech, Ehricke said: “If you have a no-growth philosophy and if you regress into the Middle Ages, then you create an environment in which that, what you are asking the human being to do — namely to live with less and being very modest … and not to grow — is impossible, because a dog-eat-dog fight is bound to break out under those conditions. We’ve come too far. We have to go on. Life shows us that technological advances are the road to go. But based on those technological advances, must come the advances of the species and the advances of our civilization.” (footnote 13)
Ehricke argued that in the process of evolution on Earth, organic matter faced this crisis and overcame it: “Earth was like a gigantic flower, which soaked up solar energy and also utilized other energy to establish basic organic compounds, and amino acids. And when life began to stir here, there lived, of those fossil assets, Haldane’s famous ’soup that ate itself up,’ or something similar to that, and of course, eventually the resources ran out. And the first great crisis of life on this planet occurred, because they were living off previously generated organic substances… It was then, that we saw for the first time, two things: That what seemed to be an absolute limit to growth, was no limit to growth. It was a hindrance, that had to be overcome, and was overcome by technological advances — incredible technological advances, namely photosynthesis.”
The “first industrial revolution” is how Ehricke termed this advancement whereby organic matter found in outer space a new, extraterrestrial resource—solar radiation—for its continued development and survival.
Ehricke called for the human species to do the same, by going to outer space to explore and tap the unlimited resources that the solar system and the universe offers us: “This goes far beyond that… Information metabolism transcends planetary limitations, and is the metabolism on which life moves now over into space itself.”
Krafft Ehricke summarized his philosophy of astronautics in three laws, formulated in 1957:
First Law: Nobody and nothing under the natural laws of this universe impose any limitations on man except man himself.
Second Law: Not only the Earth, but the entire Solar system, and as much of the universe as he can reach under the laws of nature, are man’s rightful field of activity.
Third Law: By expanding through the Universe, man fulfills his destiny as an element of life, endowed with the power of reason and the wisdom of the moral law within himself. (footnote 14)
In a stark contrast to the mantra frequently repeated respecting environmental concerns that “there is no planet B,” the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the July 20, 1969 moon landing by the US Apollo 11 mission (Neil Armstrong, Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin and Michael Collins), has spread a new wave of optimism across the world, because it is such groundbreaking achievements that remind people of their true mission in life, on Earth and the universe — the mission to be creative, to discover and explore new frontiers of knowledge, science and technology while at the same time resolving a myriad of issues and conflicts that stem from the pessimistic and cynical view that the nature of humans is egoism and the characteristic of nations is to undermine each other and fight over purported “limited resources.”
“A community of shared future for mankind,” the concept pronounced by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the UN General Assembly in September 2015, should no longer be Earth-bound, but rather encompass everywhere human civilization reaches in the Solar System and the universe beyond. The fruits of space exploration by any nation should be celebrated and shared by all nations. This idea is shared by the best of the US and European astronauts and space scientists. When Armstrong set foot on the surface of the moon, he said this was “one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” He did not proclaim it a “giant leap for the US,” but for all mankind, because he understood the full implications the achievement.
In a recent intervention at a George Washington University event titled “One Giant Leap: Space Diplomacy, Past, Present, and Future,” Buzz Aldrin called for the creation of an “international space alliance” where the U.S. would cooperate with the space programs of China, Russia, Europe, Japan and India. He correctly argued that colonizing the Moon and making it a launchpad for manned missions to Mars cannot be achieved efficiently by one nation. In addition to the technical necessity, cooperation is also a means to achieve global peace, and to advance scientific and technological cooperation which should eventually include every nation in the world.
Harrison (“Jack”) Schmitt, one of the astronauts on Apollo 17, which made the last human landing on the Moon, and who is perhaps the most insightful spokesman for the space program, told the Daily Telegraph (footnote 15) that “Moon and Mars settlement is extremely important for the dispersal of the human species throughout the Solar System, and possibly beyond.” Harrison Schmitt envisioned the “100th anniversary of Apollo,” saying that at that time “there will be settlements on the Moon, people living there permanently, producing the resources of the Moon… Settlements on the Moon are going to be a piece of cake.”
The Moon’s status as a launchpad to further space dreams arises from its physical characteristics. The lunar regolith (soil) harbors unique resources, its small mass allows for easy takeoffs, and its proximity to the Earth makes it a convenient location.
One of the Moon’s unique resources is related to power. The best designs for nuclear fusion power require nuclear reactions without neutrons (uncharged particles, which cannot be controlled electromagnetically), and the ideal fuel for these reactions is helium-3. This special isotope of helium is almost non-existent on Earth, but is constantly emitted by the sun. Because the Moon lacks a magnetic field (or an atmosphere), this fuel source flung generously by the sun is caught in the lunar soil, where millions of tons exist today. This helium isotope, the best fuel for nuclear fusion power, can serve humanity both in space and on Earth, to meet the needs of all nations for probably hundreds of years to come.
There are several other benefits of Moon industrialization. Water on the Moon can be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen, which can be used as fuel for rockets. Metals can be mined to set up local manufacturing on the Moon. This manufacturing will benefit from the Moon’s small size. As a result of the weaker gravitational attraction on the Moon, less than one-tenth as much power is required to a payload from the surface of the Moon to Earth orbit as would be required to bring the same payload from the surface of the Earth to Earth orbit. And since the Moon is relatively close by, the journey time is not long.
Schmitt emphasizes these benefits of lunar development:
“Not only will that assist a Mars mission, but helium-3 is an ideal fuel for electric power generation because it creates no radioactive waste and demands for electrical power are not going to decrease; civilization depends on it [electrical power], and this is one of the major potential and long-term sources.
“The Moon’s debris layer provides the opportunity to produce water, hydrogen and oxygen as fuels. It’s also very fertile, so if you want to produce food, that’s achievable. Settlements on the Moon are going to be a piece of cake.”
The industrialization of the Moon could become the joint development project of the world. Not only does it open the frontiers of space, but it also breaks the pessimistic and unscientific ideology of limited resources. One of the important objectives of the Chinese lunar mission is to gather the helium-3 that is uniquely abundant on the surface of the Moon.
Lyndon LaRouche has been famous for his promotion both of nuclear fusion and of a fully developed Moon-Mars program, which would serve for decades as a driver of new scientific and technological breakthroughs. His 1988 campaign for U.S. President included a thirty-minute video, The Woman on Mars, which detailed his program to the general audience of American voters and thinkers worldwide.
In a presentation he gave in 2010, LaRouche put forward the motivations for humanity to reach into the heavens: (footnote 16)
Therefore, we have to go to Mars, not because we want to get there, but we don’t want to fail to get there! … We’re going to a new conception of basic economic infrastructure, which started with the space pioneers in the 1920s, and into the United States. We began to realize that mankind needs a new dimension, beyond railroads, beyond old water systems, needs a new dimension for the expression of humanity in the Solar System.
This is not just for “getting there.” This is for giving man a mission, a natural mission for mankind, on which we will base the culture which increases mankind’s options, and also the security of humanity. That is, by developing ourselves, instead of sitting on one planet and depleting that planet and doing nothing else, and becoming fat and lazy—instead of that, let’s take on a mission!
Let’s look ahead 75 years, three generations. And let’s take what we have now, with these—we’ve got young people under 25 who are in a disastrous state of education in life. They’re going no place, unless we do something for them. We’re going to have to give them a mission, and an opportunity, which inspires them, so that their children will not be so damned stupid. And therefore, by three successive generations of development … I’m satisfied that we could develop the scientific and technological capabilities, in three successive generations—all the time, bringing our people up to a higher level of productivity—to make up for what we’ve lost, and to go beyond that…
We know we have to develop the Moon, which is accessible to us, readily, with technology already developed by us. We know we can develop an industry on the Moon, because you don’t want to take off from Earth, and lug a lot of things up from Earth; there’s just too much effort involved. Go to the Moon, take your technology to the Moon, develop industries on the Moon: You can build the spacecraft and other things you need to go to Mars!
The lunar regolith (soil) includes many of the basic elements required for industrial production of rocket components and fuel. And its helium-3 is an ideal fuel for nuclear fusion, surpassing anything economically available on Earth. Once components are built on the Moon, they can be easily brought to Earth orbit. In fact, bringing payloads from the surface of the Moon to Earth orbit uses less than 10% of the energy required to bring them from the surface of Earth to Earth orbit! LaRouche continued:
Why do we go to Mars? Because it’s the nature of man to do so: The nature of man is expressed by the fact that we are not a fixed species, with fixed behavior. We’re a species that must develop, as mankind has developed, despite all the setbacks. Mankind has greatly improved, since our first evidence of what mankind was on this planet. Improved through technology, through intellectual development, stimulated by technology; by improvements in culture, especially Classical culture.
And the purpose of man, is to find his place in the universe.
Don’t worry about what the destination is. We’ve got to find our place in the universe: We must develop! Mankind is creative. Mankind must create! Mankind must develop!
And if we do that—the space program, as we would develop it—my estimate is, that it will take three generations to develop the capability to actually put human beings safely on Mars. To solve the problem of gravitation in interplanetary flight and that sort of thing. We can do it! We don’t have a population which is trained, yet, to undertake that mission. But we have a population, which is ready to be uplifted from despair, now, and plan that the grandchildren of people today, of young people today—the grandchildren of young people today will solve that problem! And it should be our mission to dedicate the United States, in particular, and the planet as a whole to that mission, to give mankind a sense and a determination of a future which should belong to mankind.
Mankind was put in this universe for some purpose. We’re not always too sure what that purpose is. But we’re sure of one thing about that purpose: It requires, as history has shown us, the development of the intellectual powers of mankind, the intellectual powers of man’s progress. The future, if it means anything to have children and grandchildren, is to ensure that the children and grandchildren have made an upwards step, beyond what’s impossible now. And to do as we’ve done before, from our past experience, in making the kind of progress, the changes in behavior, and progress, and increase in the power of mankind, to solve great problems, problems of disease, all kinds of problems.
What is the greatest focus for this human mission? LaRouche answers:
Therefore, we have to put a name on it, and the name we put on it for the short term, is the Mars Mission. And we say, that within three generations, we’ll take this wretched nation, this poor, broken-down, ruined, betrayed nation, and, in cooperation with other nations on this planet, we will develop a technology and the people capable of carrying it, which will, step by step, bring man to his true dignity, to recognize the place of man in the universe. Not to what we’re going to do in the universe, ultimately, but to know we’re there!
And we need that.
You know, people talk about immortality and so forth—what’s it mean? Just another person being produced, to replace the one that died? No. Immortality is the certain understanding, that you are living today, because you are doing something, which is going to lead to the development of man’s power in the future. Your immortality lies in your grandchildren, and your great-grandchildren beyond that. Your immortality, your purpose of your life, is what comes out of it! That you’re a permanent part of the universe! Because, by developing within the universe, you’ve demonstrated that you’re not just a drop on the planet: You are part of the universe, forever!
And that should motivate you.
It is from this greatest of mission-orientations that we can draw inspiration for developing the necessary platforms of economic development to enable people from all nations of the world to live lives allowing us to meaningfully aspire to contribute something of enduring value to all of human history.
The endless pursuit of that goal is the only process of development that can truthfully be called sustainable.
1. Former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland headed the UN-appointed World Commission on Environment and Development, which released the report “Our Common Future,” also known as the Brundtland Report, in 1987: http://www.un-documents.net/wced-ocf.htm
2. President Xi Jinping announced the creation of the “Economic Belt of the Silk Road” in a speech in the Nazarbayev University in Astana, Kazakhstan in September 2013. The Belt is a land-based economic corridor extending from eastern China to western Europe and engaging 69 nations in its path. One month later he announced, from Jakarta, Indonesia, the intention to launch the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road together with other nations. This includes building numerous ports on the sea lanes of the Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Mediterranean. The two projects complement each other and together make up the BRI. http://english.gov.cn/beltAndRoad/
3. “Pakistan’s Trade Deficit Stands at $30.19b” Salman Siddiqui, The Express Tribune, Aug 14, 2018
4. Figures from Pakistan’s National Electric Power Regulatory Authority, “State of Industry Report 2015”
5. For detailed description of the energy projects involved in the CPEC, consult the project’s official website
6. Since the expected capacity factor of solar and wind would be no greater than 30%, the energy generated by these systems should be estimated as being at most one-third their official capacity. These projects, by dint of the low intensity of their power sources, are also expensive. Considering both their cost and their likely capacity factors, the (intermittent) electricity produced by these projects will cost several times more than coal or large hydro.
7. There is a temporary exception of those few nations capable, by virtue of their geography, of utilizing large hydro plants and geothermal energy. Iceland is currently such an example, although future development will require energy beyond what can be supplied by these means.
8. Xi Jinping, The Governance of China II, pp. 226-227. (emphasis added)
9. The Governance of China II, Page 217. Speech titled “Guide Development with New Concepts”.
10. Ibid. Emphasis added.
12. Lyndon LaRouche, “What Your Accountant Never Understood: The Secret Economy” EIR, May 28, 2010.
13. “Lunar Industrialization and Settlement — Birth of Polyglobal Civilization” Presented at the October 1984 Conference of the National Academy of Science, on “Lunar Bases and Space Activities of the 21st Century”
14. Cited in Marsha Freeman, How We Got to the Moon: The Story of the German Space Pioneers (Washington, D.C., 21st Century Science Associates, 1993), p. 297.
16. Transcript available as “Change is a’Comin’” EIR, July 16, 2010
The writers are the authors of the Schiller Institute Special Report “Extending the New Silk Road to West Asia and Africa”. Both are long-time members of the International Schiller Institute founded in 1984 by the German thinker Helga Zepp-LaRouche.
Hussein Askary, Iraqi-Swedish citizen, founding board member of the Belt and Road Institute in Sweden (BRIX). email@example.com brixsweden.com
Jason Ross, American citizen, Editor in Chief of the 21st Century Science and Technology Magazine. firstname.lastname@example.org 21sci-tech.com