The wisdom of Bucky Fuller

Buckminster+FullerI was just picking up a passage or two from R. Buckminster Fuller’s 1980 work Critical Path today, and thought these were of particular interest.

In 1914, three years before the U.S.A. entered the war, J.P. Morgan, as the “Allies” fiscal agent, began to buy in the U.S.A. to offset the line-of-supply losses accomplished by the enemy submarines. Morgan kept buying and buying, but finally, on the basis of sound world-banking finance, which was predicated on the available gold reserve, came the point at which Morgan had bought for the British and their allies an amount of goods from the U.S.A. equaling all the monetary bullion gold in the world available to the “ins” power structure. Despite this historically unprecedented magnitude of the Allied purchasing it had only fractionally tapped the productivity of the U.S.A. So Morgan, buying on behalf of England and her allies, exercised their borrowing “credit” to an extent that bought a total of goods worth twice the amount of gold and silver in the world available to the “ins.” As yet the potential productivity of the U.S.A. was but fractionally articulated. Because the “ability to pay later” credit of the Allied nations could not be stretched any further, the only way to keep the U.S.A. productivity flowing and increasing was to get the U.S.A. itself into the war on the “ins’” side, so that it would buy its own productivity in support of its own war effort as well as that of its allies.

By skillful psychology and propaganda the “ins” persuaded America that they were fighting “to save democracy.” I recall, as one of the youth of those times, how enthusiastic everyone because about “saving democracy.” (P83)

There were a number of individual bankers who went far beyond unwise banking practices and who, as individuals, took personal advantage of the information they had of individual depositors’ affairs and of their privilege as top bank officers to do truly inimical things to enrich their own position. Few today remember that a half-century ago [1930] a number of New York and Chicago’s top bankers were sentenced into penitentiaries – the New Yorkers into Sing Sing – the senior partner of J.P. Morgan and Company, the president of the National City Bank, the president of Chase Bank. Every one of them had been found to be doing reprehensible financial tricks. They were selling their own friends short. They were opening their friends’ mail and manipulating the stock market. They were manipulating everybody. They were way overstepping the moral limits of the privileges ethically existent for officers in the banking game, so a great housecleaning was done by the New. Deal. (P91)

Bankers being thrown in jail for their crimes! Unfathomable!

The second great gasoline-line “pinch” of June, 1979 was put upon the public by the invisible energy-know-how cartel to painfully divert the public concern generated by the Three Mile Island radiation accident and threat of a reactor “meltdown.” Though the public had reacted strongly against atomic plants, the sudden energy supply squeeze administered by the oil companies made the general public so energy hungry again that it stopped, for the moment, listening to those who were attempting to curtail atomic energy plants. The “gas crisis” re-established “rational” public yielding to governmental support of atomic energy as the “answer” to the energy crisis. (P113)

He’s got a conspiracy theory there.

In one way the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. citizens are in much the same socioeconomic position. The Communist party which runs the U.S.S.R. consists of about 1 percent of their total population, while the U.S.A. is controlled by about the same 1 percent, who are the LAWCAP [lawyer-resurrected capitalism] strategists of the great U.S.A. corporations.
The U.S.A. is not run by its would-be ‘democratic” government. All the latter can do is try to adjust to the initiatives already taken by LAWCAP’s great corporations. Nothing could be more pathetic than the role that has to be played by the President of the United States, whose power is approximately zero. Nevertheless, the news media and most over-thirty-years-of-age U.S.A. citizens carry on as if the president had supreme power. All that he and the Congress can do is adjust to what the ‘free enterprise system” has already done. They are riding on the snapping end of the power-structure’s dragon’s tail. (P119)

That was 1980, but to this day people assume when they vote for president they are actually electing the leader of the country.

It must be remembered that, in their 1920s-formulated, successive-multistaged five-year industrial planning, the Russians had assumed a World War II to occur in the early 1940s, at which time it would be evident to the private-enterprise world that socialism could be successful – which private enterprise had always said would be impossible – ergo, the private-enterprise-dominated countries would start a war to destroy socialism but would do it in a highly deceptive manner by having a Nazi propaganda offensive launched against the German industrial cartels, which would suddenly be turned against the U.S.S.R. This is exactly what happened. The Germans first made the U.S.S.R. their ally. When well into Poland and at the Russian border, the Nazis turned treacherously against the U.S.S.R. The anti-U.S.S.R. strategy of the “Cliveden set” miscarried when, soon thereafter, the U.S.S.R. and the U.S.A. became allies. (P191)

[Sir Halford] Mackinder showed the British that Russia could, by taking Afghanistan and Pakistan, reach the Persian Gulf and then come through the Indian Ocean to intercept British cargo ships en route to the Orient. MacKinder identified on the map what he called “the Heartland.” The heart of Mackinder’s Heartland was Afghanistan, with its Khyber Pass leading to the east and its ability to break through into the Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf. MacKinder said, “Whoever controls the Heartland, rules the world.” Afghanistan was (and as yet is [1980]) the heart of the world’s heartland. (P194)

All taken in, I found Fuller to have insight I’ve rarely encountered.

About Mark Tokarski

Just a man who likes to read, argue, and occasionally be surprised.
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3 Responses to The wisdom of Bucky Fuller

  1. JC says:

    Bucky shaped my early thinking days quite immensely. I lived in a 2×2 frame, cardboard sheathed and spray foam insulated dome in the late 70’s, and built geodesic greenhouses and structures in the 80s. I even designed my own portable dome and canvas structures that were as big, yet lighter than teepees. If I would have been a good capitalist, I’d probably be well-to-do in my retirement.

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    • Have you read Critical Path? I lost interest after page 190 or so as he launched off into a catalog of the world’s resources and his dome designs. I wonder what I’ve missed.

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      • JC says:

        I did, way back when. I can’t remember if I finished it or not. Thanks for the reminder about his take on the history of finance and the WW’s. He was an awesome thinker, way beyond his time and out of the league of most his contemporaries and current thinkers.

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