Wednesday, June 1, 2016

History: The Year is 1798

I've uploaded year 1798 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

This is the World and Nothing Fits -- Mass production, milling machines and interchangeable parts.

The Power of Population and Famine 1975! -- The world's resources are limited! We're all going to die!

In Other News -- Napoleon and the Sphinx, British income tax and lithography.

This is the World and Nothing Fits

Up to this time, almost every item in the world is handmade and unique, but when a brand new country like the USA is facing a possible war with France it is going to need 10,000 muskets very fast. A single craftsman could build 50 muskets a year, but not 10,000. Eli Whitney is not a gunsmith. He is the inventor of the cotton gin, but his factory has burned down so he accepts the contract to produce those muskets. Although not in the original contract, it is obvious that Whitney will have to mass produce them with interchangeable parts. How will he do it? Someone will have to invent the high speed milling machine but not this year and certainly not the next. Whitney is going to string the government along with excuses until he and several contemporaries will use high speed milling machines to produce parts to a fine tolerance. The parts won't be perfect, but they will be close enough that a little filing will bring each part into compliance. FYI, with the coming of labor-saving machines, you are seeing the end of the guilds and like a modern factory layoff, a lot of skilled workers will be wondering what to do with themselves and who to blame. [1]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
It is difficult to tease out exactly who invented mass production, interchangeable parts and the milling machine. By the 1810s it was already happening. I don't think Eli Whitney started it. There was a rumor that he took government money to prop up his failing cotton gin business, but that rumor was about as reliable as the one praising him for his innate genius and humanitarianism. (Don't read too much into the stories either way.) John Hall of the Harper's Ferry Armory might have been the first to produce interchangeable parts, but I don't think anyone really knows. I have seen books assuring me that I can make my own milling machine out of basic parts. Sounds like fun but I'd rather build my own 3D printer. [2] [3] [4]

The Power of Population and Famine 1975!

The world's population returned to its pre-Plague numbers in the 1650s and is now estimated to be 1 billion souls. This "hockey-stick" growth pattern has forced an early demographer, Reverend Robert Malthus, to issue a desperate warning. He suggests that the doubling power of population is normally kept in check by war, disease and vice, but after those forces claim their share, famine claims the rest. IT'S A TRAP! There is no escape. As peace prevails and disease is conquered, the population explodes making famine all the more horrible. It is called a Malthusian (mal-THOO-see-an) trap and we are doomed to repeat this cycle. Currently over a million Englishmen are on the dole. Over 100,000 paupers have been forced into workhouses. In 1815, Great Britain will raise tariffs on imported food to prop up English farmers. This will make food more expensive and cause... yes, you guessed it... a famine. [5] [6] [7] [8]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The famine of 1816 was not entirely due to tariffs but Great Britain zigged when they should have zagged. BTW, at the end of 2015 world population was 7.25 billion. People keep saying we are on the brink of disaster and we keep on surviving... except for those who attempt price fixing and market protection schemes. Around 1970, I read the absolutely frightening book, "Famine 1975!" by William and Paul Paddock. It predicted a world wide famine so devastating that it would lead to nuclear war. Then came Paul Ehrlich's book, "The Population Bomb". The famous "hockey-stick" graph is in both books. The data was so clear. What happened? Obviously there was no world-wide famine. No nuclear war. A lot of people started using birth control. Abortion was made legal in the USA and people decided to no longer have such large families. No government mandate needed. Improvements in crop yields helped enormously. Now we have so much food, we can turn it into gasoline. The book "Famine 1975!" sits on my desk as a reminder of how easy it is to trust intellectuals and get caught up in a cause: Zero-Population Growth, Global Cooling, Global Warming and the Delta smelt. I'd like to take that hockey stick and shove it right... uh... never mind. All things in moderation. [9] [10] [11] [12]

In Other News

  • Napoleon takes Egypt but he does NOT shoot the nose off of the Sphinx. [13] [14]
  • Printing from a stone surface (or lithography) is invented. In a sense, the modern copy machine works this way. [15] [16]
  • A wartime income tax of 10% is imposed on British subjects. I'm sure it is just temporary. [13]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1798, Wikipedia.

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