Dr. Stephen Hubbard – Wartime RFC Created New Industries from Scratch

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Okay so i’m going to talk briefly about what the rfc did and how it applies to today so a little bit of this has already been covered in 1939 the united states had somewhere between the 17th to the 19th smallest army in the world it was almost insignificant was smaller than portugal we only had about 2500 planes that had been mentioned maybe if you’re generous

About 200 were useful for combat but they might not have survived very long in terms of production we um just two things i’m going to look at aluminum and synthetic rubber aluminum was 164 000 tons and synthetic rubber was basically nowhere it was a little bit that was uh experimental and then just uh four to five years later the army was 30 times larger we had

80 000 planes and stunningly we were producing 8 000 planes a month which no one believed could ever happen aluminum was up almost by a factor of 10 and synthetic rubber was near a million pounds and among others for that plane production some of the planes of course were the b-24 which were coming off of uh ford’s river rouge plant and um they were producing

One plane an hour finally in 1945 with 110 000 parts in it and that’s also something that no one ever believed could happen and all of this of course was because of the rfc and uh cooperation so going into uh world war ii there were bets placed by both hitler and tojo as to how the war would go and so uh hitler of course the nazi germany uh felt that they would

Defeat that his uh form of government would win out over democracy because basically u.s industry was too profit hungry to work together and they had basically created an amalgam of industry and government and he felt that that was vastly superior to anything the united states could ever do and in japan basically tojo and the war council felt that the desperate

Racial and social groups in the united states would never be able to cooperate and of course this was the view of a homogeneous culture that was bringing war to the world so that they could all experience the uh superiority of imperial japan and so basically then to win this battle um government the basically the racial and social groups all work together and

Especially industry and government work together and this is where the production miracle came from as the united states literally went from a dead stop to out producing the combine combination of japan and germany in just two and a half years and both of those countries had a 10-year running start to get into war production and this was because of the loans

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From the rfc and the cooperation between government and so among others we’ve talked about synthetic rubber so as an example it was basically at the start of the war there’s a question is like what was the most important thing to do and it actually wound up if you read donald nelson’s the arsenal democracy it turns out buying some ore carriers to get more ore to

Steal for steel production was the most important thing right at the start of the war and it turns out the steel that was made from that or those early ore carriers when it went into the planes that helped build uh win the battle of midway it was that tight a race to um when world war ii but also synthetic rubber turned out then became the rubber became the most

Important invaluable commodity in the entire country because everything either required rubber whether it was being made for the production facilities or going into it so for instance a tank needed a ton of rubber um a battleship 75 tons every um uh person in combat needed 20 32 pounds of rubber for all of their gear and shoes and everything else and so creating

This synthetic rubber industry which was basically um there was nothing existed beforehand was part of the rfc’s work to uh get five first um uh test plants going which were criticized as being an outrageous waste of money and then in three months later after it became clear of just how crippling the shortage would be um jesse jones was criticized for not moving

Quickly enough and that why weren’t these plants bigger and producing more because it was going to take a while to get them going so many others also what we got from the indus enormous industrial effort and the cooperation between government and industry was advanced metal manufacturing where vanadium tungsten titanium and aluminum were all we learned how to

Produce them in industrial quantities and manufacture them industrial quantities of course i talked about the river rouge plant with producing a b24 every hour and of course the um b-29 which costs three times the amount of the to create the atomic bomb to carry it and both of those led to the modern civilian aircraft industry and why us has been basically first

In aerospace for so many decades afterwards the machine tools um there was a machine tool that was created that would literally weld the sherman tank they discovered that they could produce them several times faster if they welded them together but that was a time-consuming process and someone came up with a jig that basically took the entire time tank and spun

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It around and welded it and so this is what enabled us to out produce uh germany and when the the tank battle steel we learned how to produce enormous quantities in both uh plate and sheet and the entire petrochemical industry was pretty much born during world war ii um it had there had been some of it of course beforehand but the explosion and synthetics and the

Realization of what you could do with petrochemicals came from world war ii and then finally pharmaceuticals um the little known effort to get a volume production of penicillin which turns out there was a moldy cantaloupe that was found in a supermarket by one of the administrative staff woman who was shopping and they were told anything that’s uh moldy and so

This uh turned out to be the grandfather of all penicillin that’s used today um because it would grow through a volume of liquid rather than just on the surface and there’s arguments as to like what helped win world war ii was it the uh b-29 was it all the things you i’ve just talked about was it the atomic bomb and there’s a significant argument to be made that it

Was penicillin why because more people for the first time in any war um died in combat than died from wounds after the war and save millions of lives so where are we today so how does this apply today so the the question is was of course senator manchin said uh biden was not elected to be roosevelt and so this begs the question do we need a roosevelt today and the

Answer winds up being absolutely yes and why is this well if you look backwards you can convince yourself that uh senator manchin has that we’re still in the post-world war ii bloom phase with the golden era annual growth is four to six percent most of our infrastructure is new or under 50 percent of its design life coal will be a major fuel for the next 50 years

And the united states has number one infrastructure in the world and the reality uh most of our infrastructure is 50 to 100 percent past its design life gdp growth is only 1.7 to 2.3 percent or one-third to one quarter with corresponding dramatic loss and tax revenue um especially for west virginia the lowest quartile or 20 percent of the country has seen their

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Income decline over the last 40 years they’re not part of the booming stock and bond crowd who’ve done so well um florida in fact 40 of the united states doesn’t currently earn enough to ever retire um afford um long-term care or elder care for their parents and that’s what created what i call the wilted economy or where consistently to you drop so forty percent

Of the country basically their retirement plan is they’re just going to die in place they’ll never be able to retire and so this is why we need the national infrastructure bank forward is to first there’s a big argument that went on with infrastructure which is what was needed with one group saying almost nothing was needed and of course the other group was saying

Go big but both were desperately missing the data of exactly what is the shape of u.s infrastructure i personally feel the deficit is somewhere between four and seven to perhaps as many as as much as 10 trillion dollars there are excuse me five to ten trillion dollars that’s um somewhere between a quarter to 50 of the annual gdp so how do you tell whether that’s

Correct or not or not and the answer is you basically you can stand up a system in department of homeland security where agencies all across the country write in and give basically through a forum on the web what their current backlogs are in their capital project projections just like you would have in any major corporation and within a few a few months even plus

Or minus 20 to 30 accuracy we have a 200 or a 100 billion dollar infrastructure deficit or do we have a five or seven trillion dollar infrastructure deficit and that will then specifically answer the question is the loan on rebuilding our infrastructure as we would do the national infrastructure bank is that going to is the loan going to cost more or are you

Going to lose more through lost productivity and accelerated decrepitude of all of our infrastructure and then we can also reassure all of our factories that we’ve lost off shark reading and millions of jobs and as i said create the national infrastructure bank which i see as part of a national barn raising effort to bring the country together and to make us first again thank you

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Dr. Stephen Hubbard – Wartime RFC Created New Industries from Scratch By Coalition for a National Infrastructure Bank