Thursday, February 17, 2011

Markets, luxuries and America: 1930's

     Steel was a relatively recent construction material, then.  Bridges, skyscrapers, wheels and cars were mostly iron.  Lots of things simply rusted, losing strenghth.  One break though invention was the "worm gear", which was an elongated piece of steel shaped with twisting grooves.  The earlier gears, used in mahinery, were square, flat, and not precise; these were prone to break.  Worm gears allowed for much more psi tension as well as smoother shifting.  Air plane propellers developed, their number of blades and new designs increased speed.
      Life was simpler then than now.  Yet, the 1930's were more complex than the 1890's.  America has marched forward into a very mobile and style conscious nation.  The Great Generation would not know us.  They fought two World Wars to keep America safe for democracy - - -not for communism, monarchy nor socialism.  They could not understand today's chicanery.
       If today's generation were to encounter a 1930's farmer, a laborer, or a skilled technician ( like a blacksmith), people would guess these old timers as foreigners from an under developed country.  The dialog would experience a wide vocabulary gap, because these folks did not have cell phones, I-pods, internet systems, plastics, synthetics, medical devices, automatic hybrid autos, space stations, frozen foods, American Idol, 9 MM weapons, air conditioning, etc.
      Unfortunately, as America's urban centers life-style imploded, this earlier sense of community and self- reliance vanished.  Our bigger, fast paced, modern society moved to a expect government to provide every day functions that family, freinds and neighbors once did.  The reader can gain a better feel of contrast by reading Sarah Plain's autobiography, "Going Rogue: An American Life".  ( OK... put aside politics; set aside personal views about the former governor.)  DO READ her book for understanding the harsh, rugged life in frontier Alaska.  Do read it for the sense integrating  family, community, self-reliance, and controlling government.  The book has insights about local voter power, demonstrating one's individual abilities for personal achievement.  It prescribes independence, instead of dependency.
      Here's a reality check for you.  Let's say a catastrophe struck America.  Everyone's utilities stopped and became non- functioning: no electricity, no gas, no sewage, no water, and no fuel.  What would you do?  What if all grocery and convenience stores had no food: no canned items, no meat, no fresh vegetables, no bread, etc.  How would you remain alive?  Suppose all medical assistance disappeared.  Who would you sue, or what federal agencies exist to help?
      The folks of the 1930's understood the important basis for survival skills, need for their community network, best use of necessities, and that some things are more valuable than money.  Their government simply ran functional projects, not national mandated programs.  Friendships carried deep meaning, personal responsibility, and support.  Each believed a neighbors surroundings were important, an interlink with the essentials of life. 
      America was ornery and as bawdy as ever, but the country was not a selfish place.  There was a belief in our unfilled destiny to greatness: Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.  This core value opened a pathway for personal achievement, rather than an interlocking dependency on government programs.  Ann Rand, author of this era, wrote about America's future.  Her insights about big government are in “Atlas Shrugged". Grab this book off your local library shelf, take notes, and compare. It, too, is a must read.

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