Helga Zepp-LaRouche, founder of the International Schiller Institute, called for closing the financial markets to halt the inevitable collapse of the global casino economy and to reorganize it, shutting down the speculative financial operations which have preyed on the global economy.
This is Helga Zepp-LaRouche speaking. I am the founder and president of the Schiller Institute.
It is absolutely clear, that after the roller coaster, dramatic losses of the financial markets in the recent days, the systemic crisis is spinning out of control. The only remedy to prevent a further devastation of the real economy, a dramatic increase of mass unemployment, and the loss of lives of the poor and vulnerable segments of the population is to close down the financial markets. This is the necessary first step, to then use this banking holiday to implement the reorganization of the financial system, starting with a global Glass-Steagall separation of the banks, exactly as FDR did in 1933.
The measures which were taken by the European governments and the US, such as credits for enterprises, delays in tax payments, and even possible direct hand-outs of money —the so-called “helicopter money”— while intended to keep the functions of industry, institutions, and the workforce going, will not be sufficient, because the system is hopelessly bankrupt. Most of the enormous amounts of liquidity which have been injected into this bankrupt monetary system after 2008, and then in an escalated way after September 17, 2019, have just increased the activity of the casino economy and the frenzy of the speculators. The effort by the central banks to maintain that speculative sector can only lead to a hyper-inflationary blow-out as in Germany in 1923.
The closing of the financial markets must be accompanied by an immediate emergency summit of the most important governments of the world: the US, China,
Russia, and India—supported by others—to determine the urgent reorganization of the financial system and the establishment of a New Bretton Woods System, as it was intended by Franklin D. Roosevelt and called for by Lyndon LaRouche, to restart the physical economy worldwide.
Such immediate steps are indispensable, since the coronavirus pandemic can only be brought under control if the spread of the virus is stopped and an adequate
health system is established in every country.
This is a test, to determine if humanity has the moral fitness to survive.
We are now experiencing the worst international health crisis of the past hundred years. This crisis is so extremely dangerous, because the coronavirus pandemic now coincides with the systemic global financial crisis that was already near explosion before the medical crisis broke out. The pandemic was merely the trigger. A solution exists—but only if western societies are prepared to replace all the axioms of the neoliberal model with an economic policy, which is not guided by monetarist considerations, i.e., to speculators’ profits, but guided instead by the absolute value of human life, the principles of science, and solidarity with the entire family of mankind.
Even President Macron of France has recently mentioned what can no longer be overlooked: The liberal democratic political system is ill-suited to react adequately to existential threats. The sooner Europe and the U.S.A. grasp the fact that we must take exactly the same public health measures that China took in January in the city of Wuhan and Hubei Province, the more human lives will be saved. Rather than making use of the time gained for the world by the Chinese government’s decisive actions—correctly characterized by the WHO as absolutely exemplary—the western governments have wasted priceless weeks. As a result, Europe has now become the epicenter of the pandemic and the situation in the United States is quite unclear due to the lack of testing up to this point.
But the necessary reorganization can’t be limited to the area of human health. We need a completely new paradigm in politics and economics if we are to prevent a collapse of civilization like that of the 14th Century. Many scientists in a number of nations are assuming that about 70% of the population will be infected within the next one to two years, at least until a vaccine can be developed and produced. Prof. Christian Drosten of the Berlin Charité Hospital cites a new study that says we can no longer count on a slower spread of the virus in the Spring and Summer. At the same time, it has to be assumed that the pandemic will spread further throughout the Southern Hemisphere during its Winter, and then come back to the Northern Hemisphere in the Autumn, strengthened and possibly in a mutated form.
This means that we not only have to correct the consequences of the takedown of our national public health system in the recent decades, and equip it in the shortest possible time to treat the expected number of patients. We also have to create the conditions for a global healthcare system in the short term.
The current crisis is in no way unexpected. In 1974, Lyndon LaRouche initiated what he called a “biological holocaust taskforce,” tasked to investigate the impact—above all, on the developing nations—of the austerity policy and conditionalities of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. LaRouche and his colleagues presented the results of these studies in a series of reports that warned that the decline in living standards on several continents, which these institutions would be unleashing over the coming years, would lead to the resurgence of old plagues and the occurrence of new diseases and pandemics.
When one considers the conditions in many nations in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and even in the poorer regions of Europe and the United States today, it becomes very clear that only a global change of policy can remedy this. About two billion people currently have no clean drinking water and most so-called developing countries have nothing close to a modern healthcare system. Famine exists at the present time in several southern African countries. A locust plague, against which the international community did not act in a timely way, threatens to lay waste dozens of nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America. As a result of the so-called “wars of humanitarian intervention” and the underdevelopment already referred to, millions of refugees have fled toward Europe and America to escape danger to life and limb.
Therefore, if we want to prevent the coronavirus pandemic from spreading in waves and migrating from the Northern to the Southern Hemisphere and back—thus potentially creating the breeding grounds for additional similar and worse viruses—we must initiate radical changes.
Systemwide Changes Required
Hospitals with isolation wards must be built throughout the world, following the example of the city of Wuhan and Hubei Province, which built a total of 14 temporary hospitals, including the necessary intensive care beds. World Health Organization standards must be observed in doing so. China, for example, built facilities with 16,000 new hospital beds in just one month.
International scientific research centers must be established for research on the COVID-19 virus and other viral and bacterial pathogens. Vaccines must be developed and tested. The results of research in biophysics, nuclear biology and space medicine must be made available immediately to all nations. The point of reference for this is the conception of a Strategic Defense of Earth (SDE) developed by Lyndon LaRouche, in which the protection of human life from pandemics is one focal point.
These worldwide measures require investments that cannot be made under the conditions of the present, collapsing financial system. The current actions of the central banks in injecting liquidity into this financial system by the trillions of dollars, and even the allocation of budget funds by governments, is due to a hyperinflationary monetary explosion, and is unsustainable.
If we are to fight the coronavirus pandemic successfully, and build and equip the necessary hospitals, we need the total package of actions proposed by Lyndon LaRouche a number of years ago:
A system of bank separation must be introduced immediately on a worldwide scale, based exactly on the model of the Glass-Steagall Act signed by President Franklin Roosevelt on June 16, 1933. Commercial banks must be put under Federal protection under this system and completely separated by a firewall from speculative investment banking firms and units, which will no longer have any access to the assets of the commercial banks, nor have the privilege of being saved by taxpayers’ money. The toxic paper of these banks, including their outstanding financial derivatives contracts, must be written off. Legitimate receivables that are connected with the real economy or with pensions and other assets of working people should be classified as valid in the new system as well. Some types of claims for payment must be provisionally frozen and reviewed for validity by Federal institutions.
A national bank must be founded in each country, in the tradition of Alexander Hamilton or on the model of the German Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (Reconstruction Finance Corporation) after World War II. Their purpose is to supply Federal credit for productive investments that will provide the physical economy with the necessary funds. The issuance of these credits must be guided by the principles of high energy-flux density and an optimal increase of the productivity of productive capacities and the powers of labor, through an emphasis on scientific and technological progress.
Among the participating countries, a system of fixed parities must be established, and cooperation treaties must be established among sovereign states for the purpose of well-defined infrastructure and development projects. These treaties together represent in fact a New Bretton Woods system as it was intended by Roosevelt, with the explicit intention of providing credit for the industrial development of the developing sector.
An urgent increase in the productivity of the world economy—to accommodate a world population of presently almost eight billion people —must be facilitated through an international crash program for the realization of thermonuclear fusion power and other advanced technologies, in such fields as optical biophysics and life sciences, in order to find solutions for challenges such as the coronavirus. This increase in productivity must also be enabled through international cooperation in space technology and travel, which can establish the necessary next higher economic platform for the world economy, as this concept has been developed by the economist Lyndon LaRouche.
The only institutions which can carry out such a worldwide program are the leading governments of the planet, which must be representative of the entire world’s population in their composition. Therefore it is in no way sufficient that the governments of the G7 should agree among themselves; these solutions can be implemented only with the involvement of Russia, China and India.
That also means that geopolitics must finally be overcome and replaced by the idea of the common future and goals of mankind. If we do not want to fall into a new dark age, we have to replace neo-Malthusian ideas, the anti-scientific “Green New Deal,” monetarism and Eurocentrism with the ideas of physical economy, guided exclusively by the scientifically provable principles of the laws of the universe.
And finally, perhaps the most important change which we must make in our thinking: We need a new humanist Renaissance, a renaissance of classical culture. For the world has been brought to this point not least by the unbounded hedonism which went along with liberal and neoliberal democracy. The moment has arrived when the ideology of “anything goes” must be put aside. We will overcome this crisis only if we are inner-directed in accord with the love of humanity. But it is for that, after all, that we are human beings!
Tuesday, March 31 at 10:00 am EDT (16:00 CET). The world is in a grave crisis which is unlike anything before. The good news is that, given that it is the terrible policies of the past decades that have put us in this situation, it will be impossible to “go back to normal.” Helga Zepp-LaRouche has called on young people of the world to take leadership at this moment of great change to fight the two deadly viruses now threatening humanity—the coronavirus pandemic and the meltdown of the global financial system. The world must emerge from this crisis with an entirely New Paradigm of peaceful relations among nations, and a new economic system based on cooperation for the progress of all humanity. As is becoming more and more stark with the coronavirus pandemic, an urgent priority will be to build a modern global health system to ensure the right to life of all people on the planet.
This video conference is an opportunity for young people across the world to speak with Helga Zepp-LaRouche and join the fight for this New Paradigm. After opening remarks by Helga, representatives from each nation will give a 2-4 minute report on their organizing, and a Q&A will follow.
It is essential, Helga Zepp LaRouche said today in her Schiller Institute webcast, to address, without panic, the looming danger of a possible pandemic of Corona Virus, coming as we face a potential financial crash and a continuing danger of war. In addressing these dangers, don’t fall for the line that the Corona Virus might cause a financial crash; while it could be a trigger, in reality, the danger of a pandemic outbreak has been made possible by the destructive neo-liberal economic policies which were brought in with the paradigm shift of 1971.
Just as Lyndon LaRouche forecast that shift, and the damages it could inflict on mankind, he consistently presented an alternative. Today, that requires a mobilization to use an emergency summit to introduce a New Bretton Woods, backed by a 4 Power agreement; and his Four Laws, which represent a “precondition” to realize a successful transition to a New Paradigm. In reviewing the challenges ahead, she called on Schiller Institute members and supporters to act to stop the locust swarms in east Africa and southwest Asia, which threaten to produce “food insecurity” for 30 million people—meaning starvation conditions—as this is the test of moral fitness for survival.
This means defeating the racist, colonial mindset which still dominates the West, along with the anti-Russia, anti-China frenzy, pushed by the same networks which are responsible for the “endless wars” that President Trump is working to end.
The “overwhelming optimism” of Trump’s State of the Union address (SOTU), combined with his likely acquittal in the Senate vote later Wednesday, create a moment of optimism in which it is possible that the strategic and financial crises threatening mankind can now be resolved. With Trump freed from the threat of being removed from office, Helga Zepp LaRouche called on viewers of her weekly webcast to support him in a full break with the geopolitical doctrines which have created the crises. She emphasized a mobilization for full funding for the Artemis program, for an emergency summit between Trump, Putin and Xi, and the exoneration of LaRouche, as among the most crucial battles ahead.
The exoneration of her husband, she said, would enable people to study his ideas, in economics, history and science, to rise to the level of strategic thinking necessary to take advantage of this moment. One of the real problems we face, which can be overcome by familiarity with LaRouche’s method, is that the connection between Energy Flux Density, and Potential Relative Population Density, is not understood.
In contrast to the optimism of the moment, she spoke of the “Rumpelstiltskin Moment” of Nancy Pelosi; the debacle of the Iowa Democratic Caucuses; the “barrage of racism” against China on the Corona Virus; and the Bloomberg campaign’s championing of Green fascism, as examples of the threat which must be overcome. 2020 is the year that the old system likely will collapse—let’s make sure it is replaced by a New Paradigm, which acts in the interest of the Common Aims of Mankind.
The BRICS international website, infobrics.org, recently published an article with the banner headline, “Can the BRICS Be a Catalyst for a New International Monetary System Based on Infrastructure Development?,” by Paul Gallagher of Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) and Richard A. Black of the Schiller Institute. The 2,000 word article proposes solving the current monetary meltdown crisis by applying the economic science of Lyndon LaRouche for national development to the BRICS’s currently under-utilized New Development Bank (NDB) and proposes the creation of a new Russian Bank for Infrastructure and Industry. The article was submitted to the BRICS by the Russian National Committee on BRICS Research.
After outlining the explosive danger created by current Anglo-American monetary policy, the article points to a solution:
“Two members of the BRICS, China and Russia, are already involved in new initiatives which are breaking with the old patterns of non-investment in infrastructure: China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Russian Federation’s plan to “light up Africa” with nuclear-power vectored electricity generation. The American physical economist, Lyndon LaRouche, had shown in research papers published over many years, that major infrastructure—high-speed railroads, third and fourth generation nuclear power, major water management systems—are the central and irreplaceable producer of added value in a national economy. LaRouche had shown that “the actual role of infrastructure in a viable form of economy… amplifies the productive powers of labor, a science-driven increase of physical productivity at the point of production.” Let us examine how the New Development Bank of the BRICS could be expanded in size and in conception to become a seed-crystal for a new monetary system for development.”
The proposed creation of a Russian Bank for Infrastructure and Industry is then used as a template, showing the way for the creation of other such national banks, as well as US participation, based on the proven principles of Hamilton. Read the full article >>>
What really happened in 1989, when the Berlin Wall came down, and what can we learn from investigating the events of that historic period? In reviewing the reality of what actually happened thirty years ago, when the Berlin Wall was brought down, in contrast to the official narrative put forward by the neoliberals and geopoliticans, Helga Zepp LaRouche makes a passionate case for why this time will be different. The chance for world historic change exists briefly, but this time, she says, the opportunity is bigger. In contrast to 1989, when only the forces associated with her husband, Lyndon LaRouche, and the Schiller Institute, had a strategic plan, today there is the Belt-and-Road Initiative, and a growing recognition that a new crash is coming, and that sticking with the Old Paradigm imposed by the British Empire would be deadly.
She presents the decisive issues of 1989 as one who participated in them, and explains how the British Empire survived then, through assassinations, threats, and corruption, including the jailing of her husband. But the New Paradigm which is emerging globally, shaped by the ideas of LaRouche, is increasingly seen as the only viable option today, as the danger of a new crash has increased. Those defending the old order in Europe and the U.S. are increasingly exposed, with the investigations into the origins of Russiagate bringing out more evidence daily.
Now is the time to read the works of Schiller, she said, to become aware of the potential for each human being—including yourself!—to become a beautiful soul, and to use this discovery to become a force in making history, to make sure that humanity does not miss this opportunity.
Helga Zepp LaRouche provided a fascinating assessment of the changes sweeping the globe, and the opportunity these changes have made possible to realize cooperation to usher in a new era of peace and development.
Among the processes she highlighted are:
1. The significance of the Barr-Durham investigation moving into a criminal inquiry, putting the whole British-Obama intel apparatus in the spotlight, while exposing the fraud of the “Ukraine impeachment” drive;
2. The acceleration of the financial crisis, and the de facto acknowledgement of the central bankers themselves that they have no alternative but to continue the same failed policies which created this crisis;
3. The unrest spreading against the neoliberal austerity policies ordered by the central banks, to protect their collapsing system;
4. The realignment underway in the entire Middle East, as a result of Trump’s decision to coordinate with Russia to end the “endless wars”;
5. Despite the continuing anti-China idiocy on display in VP Pence’s latest speech, even he acknowledged the positive potential for a U.S.-China trade agreement, as this is what President Trump wants;
6. The Russia-Africa summit, which provides a vision for the U.S. and Europe of what is possible if those nations would drop their imperial axioms.
Ignore the media, which is trying to do public relations for the criminal British imperial networks—get active with the Schiller Institute, as the time has come for the spreading of the ideas and method of Lyndon LaRouche.
Presented at the 2019 Euro-Asia Economic Forum, which took place in historic Xi’an, China, bringing together over 1,000 people, representing more than 58 nations from Europe and Asia, for two days of presentations and discussion. Helga Zepp-LaRouche gave this speech as the keynote presentation to the Forum’s “Think Tank Meeting” on Sept. 11.
For most Chinese, it is very difficult to understand why so many institutions in the West are reacting so negatively to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI, or New Silk Road), and why an anti-Chinese mood has been stirred up recently; why in the USA, for example, Chinese scientists and 450,000 students are suspected of being spies, which is reminiscent of the worst days of the McCarthy period, while in Europe, some security authorities are making similar allegations. It is difficult to understand, because the Chinese people experience the reality of the BRI from a completely different perspective.
For the people of China, the experience of the last 40 years of reform and opening-up policy since Deng Xiaoping is an incredible success story. From a relatively poor developing country—as I myself experienced it in 1971, when I was in China for the first time—China has developed into the second, and in some categories even the first national economy in the world. Eight hundred million people have been freed from poverty; a wealthy middle class of 300 million and soon 600 million people with a good standard of living has developed. The pace of modernization is unparalleled in the world, as is demonstrated, for example, by the expansion of a 30,000-kilometer high-speed railway system that will soon connect all the major cities.
Schiller Institute founder, Helga Zepp-LaRouche addresses the 2019 Euro-Asia Economic Forum.
Since President Xi Jinping put the New Silk Road on the agenda in Kazakhstan, in September 2013, China has also made cooperation with the Chinese model of success available to all other states for “win-win” cooperation. In the mere six years that have passed since then, there has been an incredible response to the BRI, which now has 130 nations and more than 30 large international organizations cooperating with it. This, the largest infrastructure project in human history, has launched six major corridors, built railway lines, expanded ports, built industrial parks and science cities, and for the first time offers developing countries the opportunity to overcome poverty and underdevelopment.
From the very beginning, the BRI has been open to all the countries of the world. President Xi Jinping has not only explicitly offered cooperation to the USA and Europe, but has also said in countless speeches, that he is proposing a completely new model of international cooperation among nations, a “community for the shared future of mankind.” In doing so, he has proposed a higher conception of cooperation, unprecedented in history, which overcomes geopolitics and replaces it with a harmonious system of development for the benefit of all. In this sense, the BRI is the absolutely necessary economic basis for a peace order for the 21st century!
While in many countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America, and even some in Europe, the New Silk Road is welcomed as the greatest vision, as a concept of “peace through development,” as Pope Paul VI had formulated it in his encyclical of 1967, Populorum Progressio (On the Development of Peoples)—yet its adversaries call the same policy a “competition of systems.” Many Chinese do not understand why this violent reaction, fuelled by geopolitical motives, is taking place. Meanwhile, the West has begun to habituate itself to the changes that have fundamentally altered its political orientation and its scale of values over almost the last 50 years.
The crucial point is that a paradigm shift has taken place in the West since 1971, leading in the opposite direction from the path that China has taken.
Toward a New Fascism
When President Nixon triggered the dissolution of the Bretton Woods System on August 15, 1971, with its fixed exchange rates and gold reserve standard of the dollar, he set the course towards an increasing renunciation of a policy oriented toward the real physical economy, in favor of a policy aimed at the monetary profits of the financial economy, which was increasingly oriented toward maximizing those profits.
This tendency was reinforced by the abolition, in 1999, of the Glass-Steagall banking separation system, and the accompanying complete deregulation of the financial markets, which led to repeated financial bubbles, and finally to the crash of 2008. Yet the central banks have done absolutely nothing to remove the causes of that crash, but on the contrary, have promoted speculation in the casino economy at the expense of the real economy, through continued quantitative easing, zero interest rates and now even negative interest rates. As a result, the trans-Atlantic financial system, today, faces the danger of an even more dramatic crash than that of 11 years ago.
The late American economist, Lyndon H. LaRouche, JR. , 2018
The American economist Lyndon LaRouche, my recently deceased husband, farsightedly warned in August 1971, that a continuation of Nixon’s monetarist policy would lead to the danger of a new depression and a new fascism—if it were not replaced by a new world economic order.
In 1972, LaRouche also opposed the Malthusian-inspired thesis of the Club of Rome, that the “limits to growth” had supposedly been reached; a false doctrine on which the entire environmentalist movement is still based today, and which has led to a “greening” of a large part of the political party spectrum of the West.
LaRouche replied with his book, There Are No Limits to Growth, which emphasizes the role of human creativity as the engine of scientific and technological progress, which is the factor that defines what a “resource” is. At the same time, he also warned that the shift in values towards a rock-drug-sex counterculture associated with this neo-liberal economic policy, would, in the medium term, destroy the cognitive faculties of the population, and thus not only cause a cultural crisis, but also ruin the productivity of the economy.
Unfortunately, this is exactly where we are today.
China took the opposite path in 1978. It replaced the anti-technology policy of the Gang of Four, with a dirigist real economy, based on innovation and financed by a state credit policy.
What is not understood in the West, is that the Chinese economic model is identical, in its basic principles, to the American System, as developed by the first Secretary of the Treasury of the young American Republic, Alexander Hamilton, and his concept of the National Bank and sovereign credit creation. This concept was elaborated by the German economist Friedrich List, who is very famous in China; it was the framework of Lincoln’s economic advisor Henry C. Carey, and it influenced the economic policies of Roosevelt’s Reconstruction Finance Corporation, with which he led the U.S. out of the depression of the 1930s. The Reconstruction Finance Corporation was later the model for the Kreditanstalt fur Wiederaufbau, with which Germany organized its post-war reconstruction and the German economic miracle.
So today, China is doing the same thing that was the basis of the economic success of the USA and Germany, before they turned away from this policy and replaced it with the neo-liberal model, whose “success” can be seen today in the example of the world’s largest derivatives trader, the bankrupt Deutsche Bank.
Cai Yuanpei and Aesthetic Education
An extremely important aspect of the success of the BRI, which is insufficiently understood in the West, and, in my view, not sufficiently emphasized by China, is the basic cultural orientation of the 2,500-year-old Confucian tradition of Chinese society, which was only interrupted during the ten years of the Cultural Revolution. In China, thanks to this tradition, the common good plays a greater role than individualism, which has acquired a greater significance in the West since the Renaissance, but which, to some extent, has taken on a life of its own with today’s liberal change in values, and has degenerated into “everything is permitted.”
The Confucian tradition also implies that the development of the moral character is the highest goal of education, which is expressed in the term junzi, which roughly corresponds to Friedrich Schiller’s concept of the “beautiful soul.” It has therefore been taken for granted in China, for more than two thousand years, that respect for public morality and the fight against bad qualities in the population are the prerequisites for a highly developed society.
In the West today, with the abolition of the Humboldt educational ideal—the core of which had also been the development of the “beautiful character”—the idea of the necessity for moral improvement goes completely against the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the times. It is therefore only from the point of view of the liberal system, that someone could call China’s an “authoritarian system,” but by no means from the point of view of China’s own cultural history.
Four participants of the 2019 Euro-Asia Economic Forum, Italian economist Nino Galloni, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, Solidarité et progrès head Jacques Cheminade, and his wife, Odile Mojon.
Anyone who wants to understand Xi Jinping’s intentions must consider his letter in reply to the request of eight professors of the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), about a year ago, in which he emphasized the extraordinary importance of aesthetic education for the spiritual development of China’s youth. Aesthetic education plays a decisive role in the development of a beautiful spirit; it fills the students with love, and promotes the creation of great works of art.
Confucius had already understood that the study of poetry and good music should have a decisive role in the aesthetic education of man, but a master key to the understanding of Xi Jinping’s vision, not only of the “Chinese Dream,” but of the harmonious development of the entire human community, is the scholar who created the modern Chinese educational system—the first Minister of Education of the Provisional Republic of China, Cai Yuanpei. During his travels in search of the best educational systems of his time, Cai finally, in Leipzig, came across the aesthetic writings of Baumgarten and Schiller, and, through the writings of the philosophical historian Wilhelm Windelband, became aware of Wilhelm von Humboldt’s educational concept. He was totally enthusiastic about the affinity of Schiller’s aesthetic education to Confucian morality, and recognized that Schiller influenced the spirit of German Classicism with “great clarity.”
Cai used these ideas to modernize the Chinese educational system, and created the new term meiju, for aesthetic education. This strengthened the idea, already found in Confucius, that the refinement of character can be achieved by immersion in great classical art, so that in this way, a bridge can be built between the sensual world and reason. In an essay of May 10, 1919, Cai formulated thoughts that could also build a bridge for today’s problems in the West:
“I believe that the root of our country’s problems lies in the short-sightedness of so many people who want quick success or quick money without any higher moral thinking. The only medicine is aesthetic education.”
Is the Good No Longer Conceivable?
Many people in the West today, find it hard to believe that China could be serious about its idea of win-win cooperation, because they have become too accustomed to the paradigm shift already described, with its axiom that all human interactions must be a zero-sum game. But we in the West should remember that the Peace of Westphalia of 1648, which ended 150 years of religious war, established the principle that a lasting order of peace must take into account the interests of others. It was the Peace of Westphalia which established international law and laid the foundations for the UN Charter.
It is the West, and not China, which has moved away from the principles laid down therein, such as absolute respect for the sovereignty of all states—adopting instead concepts such as the alleged R2P (right to protect), so-called “humanitarian” wars of intervention, and regime change through color revolutions, as we are currently witnessing in Hong Kong.
Xi Jinping’s vision of a “community of a shared future of humanity” corresponds to the Confucian notion of a harmonious development of all, a tradition to which Cai Yuanpei also contributed essential thoughts. He designed the dream of a “great community of the whole world” (datong shijie), which would be harmonious and without armies and wars, and which could be achieved through the dialogue of cultures, comparing the partaking of a culture by the culture of other peoples, with the breathing, eating and drinking of the human body, without which it can not live. Indeed, a look at history shows that any higher development of mankind has always taken place through involvement with other cultures.
It is significant that hardly any real analysts or politicians in the West have responded to Xi Jinping’s idea of a “community of destiny for the future of mankind” in any significant way. If it is mentioned at all, it is only in passing, as if it were not worth regard as anything other than communist propaganda, and as an announcement of China’s intention to play a leading role on the world stage in the future. But what Xi said at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in 2017, was that by 2050, at about the 100th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, the people of China should have democracy, human rights, a developed culture and a happy life. And, not only the Chinese, but all peoples on this planet.
This implicitly poses the question—and answers it positively—that should occupy all philosophers, scientists and statesmen and stateswomen, in view of the many chaotic developments on our planet: Can the human species give itself an order that guarantees its long-term survival, and is appropriate to the specific dignity of humanity as a creative species? Xi’s concept of the one community of a shared future, very clearly presents the thought that the idea of the one mankind be put first, and only then can national interests be defined in agreement with it.
West Must Return to Cusa, Leibniz, Schiller
In order to be able to keep up with the discussion on this level, of how to shape this new order of “reformed international governance,” we in the West must return to the very humanist traditions that we have pushed aside with the liberal system. Corresponding ideas can be found in Nicholas of Cusa, who considered a concordance of macrocosms possible only through a harmonious development of all microcosms. Or in Gottfried Leibniz’ idea of a pre-stabilized harmony of the universe, in which a higher order is possible, because with higher development, the degrees of freedom increase and therefore we live in the best of all possible worlds. Or in Friedrich Schiller’s idea that there need be no contradiction between the citizen of the world and the patriot, because both are oriented towards the common good of the future of mankind.
In conclusion: China must help the West to understand the concept of the New Silk Road. China must not react defensively to the anti-Chinese attacks, but should instead emphasize the brilliant periods of its own history all the more proudly and self-confidently: the depth of Confucian moral theory, which inspired Benjamin Franklin to his own moral philosophy; the profundity of Chinese poetry; the beauty of Literati Painting. And China should challenge the West to revive its own humanistic traditions, of the Renaissance, of Dante, Petrarch and Brunelleschi; of classical music in the culture of Bach, Beethoven and Schiller; and of republican traditions in politics. Only when the West experiences a great “rejuvenation,” reviving the ideas of Alexander Hamilton, Friedrich List and Henry C. Carey, can the problem be solved.
Leibniz was very enthusiastic about China, and he tried to learn as much as possible about it from the Jesuit missionaries. He was fascinated that the Kangxi Emperor had come to the same mathematical conclusions as he had, and concluded that there are universal principles accessible to all people and cultures. He even thought the Chinese were morally superior. He wrote: “In light of the growing moral decay, it seems to be almost necessary that Chinese missionaries be sent to us, who could teach us the application and practice of a natural theology. I therefore believe: that if a wise man were chosen, to judge not the beauty of goddesses, but the excellence of peoples, he would give the golden apple to the Chinese.”
The German middle class and the German small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and cities such as Genoa, Vienna, Zurich, Lyon, Duisburg and Hamburg, and many more, have long since come to realize the potential that lies not only in the expansion of bilateral relations, but above all in the expansion of cooperation in third countries, such as the industrialization of Africa and Southwest Asia.
The enthusiasm that is evident in international cooperation in space travel—the ESA cooperation in the projects of the Chinese Space Agency, the idea of international cooperation on the future Chinese space station, the construction of an international moon village and the terraforming on Mars—underlines that Xi Jinping’s vision of the community of a shared destiny for the future of mankind is within reach.
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 6 Corridors of the Economic Belt of the New Silk Road (A-F) and the Maritime Silk Road (F) which were announced by President Xi in 2013. The other global transcontinental corridors were envisioned by the Schiller Institute as early as 1992. Credit: Belt and Road Institute in Sweden (BRIX)
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!”
Chinese President Xi Jinping.
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)
This chart of human population over historical time reflects the unique characteristic of human life among all life known to us. Our species continually breaks the limits to its growth, by developing new knowledge that opens up new resources and increases the productive powers of labor.
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?
Lyndon LaRouche (1922-2019) speaking at a live webcast in 2010.
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 science city on Mars, as proposed by Lyndon LaRouche. In 1988, he wrote that “If the United States follows the approach I have proposed, we shall have our first permanent colony on Mars by the year A.D. 2027. During a few years following that, that colony will grow into an increasingly self-sustained community, the size of a medium-sized city on Earth. Long before A.D. 2027, the average U.S. taxpayer will have gained an enormous personal profit from the earlier, preparatory stages of the program as a whole.” The development of new scientific breakthroughs and technologies allows us, uniquely among known species, to transform our relationship to nature by improving the productive powers of labor. This creative potential, common to all people, is the basis for international collaboration in space, science, and culture, to advance the common aims of mankind.
“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