Listening to various music on the plane back to America from Norway, Bruce Springsteen’s album “Born in the USA” inspired this Peace Economics approach to these song titles.
Working on the Highway
This song reminds me of the story of American on the rise. United by the Civil War and ever expanding Westward, America started the twentieth century a rising industrial power with the largest economy in the world. Frederick Taylor, inventing industrial engineering in the age of railroads in the 1890s, found out that productivity for laying railroads peaked at 64 degrees Fahrenheit. As temperatures increase above that level proportionately less work gets done. This shows how capital accumulation and the economy improves slightly with slightly lower temperatures or slows down slightly with slightly higher temperatures, as most capital, economic progress, and infrastructure starts with construction. A century of data confirms these patterns.
This song about those that peaked in high school reminds me about America’s fixation with World War II (WWII) and the so-called Greatest Generation. Yes, the Marshall Plan was infinitely better than the 1919 Versailles treaty which gave us WWII. But even the Marshall Plan only supplied 10% of the internally generated capital in Japan and Germany in the 1950s. Important startup capital, but low military spending was the real secret ingredient that gave both Japan and Germany average economic growth rates over 8% for the decade of the fifties. They both thank America for democracy, especially the more modern parliamentary type, including Japan’s antiwar constitution and Germany’s equal representation with owners for workers on corporate boards. Thanks America. The military burdens of empire have held America back ever since WWII, hence the fixation with those glory days of the so-called good war. Most wars ever since have ended badly.
Born in the USA
America’s 329 million includes 47 million immigrants, largely thanks to the 1965 Immigration Act. That’s 14.4% of the US population. In the age of empire after 1945, immigrants have bolstered the economy with one Newsweek article suggesting that immigrants make about 2.5 times as much as other Americans. This “all roads lead to Rome” keeps the American economy a world leader, despite the economic erosion of the highest military budget in the world. Many physicians, dentists, lawyers, engineers, scientists, accountants, and rich businesspeople are among those immigrants often educated in the US and seeking to stay. Meanwhile ever since the number one nuclear weapons contractor spokesperson Ronald Reagan tricked people into cutting the top tax rate 60% while only helping the middle class 15% in the name of a 25% tax cut, income inequality has quadrupled top 1% incomes while the 99% have had their incomes frozen for forty years. Yes, that stagnancy even includes the rest of the top 5%. And the real winners are the top 0.1%. Only about 25% of immigrants are the poor South of the border type, and about 80% are legal.
I’m Going Down
Peace Economics shows strong international comparison correlations with high crime, corruption, and low health for the higher militarized economies. This is the essence of the social decline of empire that accompanies the slow steady economic decline. Even today political crisis pervades the three most militarized countries in NATO, America, Britain, and France. Trump has disrupted America, Brexit befuddles Britain, and Macron’s elite policies with a blind spot to income inequality in France have created turmoil in all three countries. All three have faced unwanted Russian interventions. Meanwhile the most successful economy in Europe, Germany, has had up until now the lowest percentage of military spending at a mere 1%. That 1% military has been the secret of success for pre-WWII America and post-WWII Japan. The last three decades Japan has grown little while Japanese capital has brought up the whole Far East neighborhood, starting with the Four Tigers of Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea and proceeding after that with China. The Fujian province next to Hong Kong is where the high growth started in China in the 1980s. Hong Kong was taking over China economically before China took over Hong Kong politically in 1999. And low military Italy overtook Britain in 1987 in per capita income, the same year Japan passed America in per capita economy. Then Britain found North Sea Oil, and Japan peaked in 1994 at 40% higher per capita income over America and has slumped to 25% higher in 2000 and continues to slump.
Americans famously used the Alamo “no surrender” policy to fend-off the Mexican army long enough to rally enough troops to defend Texas in 1845. Much later, America adopted the unconditional surrender demand for fighting the tyrants of World War II. Then the Republican Party took the idea too far, applying it in domestic politics, led by Newt Gingrich in 1994 as the first Republican Speaker of the House in forty years. Extremism and the politics of personal destruction took hold after 46 years of the Cold War, ironically just after the Cold War ended. But the excessive militarism of the long high military spending in peacetime years of the Cold War (1945-1991) had kind of baked into the cake the habits of empire. So entwined was the nation in militarism that George H. W. Bush had to tempt a cash starved Iraq (drained by the Iran war) into trying to reclaim oil rich Kuwait as the 18th province separated from the rest of Iraq by the British in 1921. He told his ambassador to Iraq to say the US didn’t care about border disputes after encouraging the Kuwaitis to slant drill underground for oil under the ground in Iraq. Then he acted with outrage and rallied the UN to “free” Kuwait. This saved the military from appearing irrelevant after the end of the Cold War, holding the Cold War defense budget cuts to 25% while Europe cut their forces 50%. Empire was saved enough to be restored in the second Bush presidency after eight years of peace and prosperity. Meanwhile, the second Democratic presidency after the Cold War was met with total noncooperation from the Republican Party and the Republican Party brought their Southern style politics North in 2010 to rebuke the first Black president. Extremism was normalized, making Trump possible, in a new post-truth society of unlimited propaganda. America had the equivalent of Caligula, the crazy emperor of Rome who lasted four years.
One Page Principles Summary of Peace Economics: https://www.academia.edu/4044456/SUMMARY_Military_DisEconomics_Accuracy13_1p. 13
Please cite this work as follows:
Reuschlein, Robert. (2018, December 14), “Born in the United States”, Madison, WI: Real Economy Institute. Retrieved from: https://www.expertclick.com/NewsRelease/Born-in-the-United-States,2018165532.aspx
Dr. Peace, Professor Robert Reuschlein, Real Economy Institute
Nominated Vetted 2016, Given Odds 2017, Strongly Considered 2018 Nobel Peace Prize, Possible Favorite in 2019 Nobel Peace Prize Announced October 4th.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, Info: www.realeconomy.com