Apollo: New Taxes most important spinoff.

9 May

IBM has existed longer that I have. I was born a month after the Battle of Britain. Babbage was a distant memory, Turing was about to do his stuff, IBM would catch the trend and bash away at warehouse-sized electronic brains.

British politicians would let down British computer scientists, and the whole British computer industry, and let it fade away across the pond. Then, Apres-Sputnik, the morons at Westminster and Whitehall committed the same insane walk-away from the communications satellite industry.

After World War 2, the Cold War brought us ICBMs, intercontinental ballistic missiles, with nuclear warheads, and with guidance provided by on-board computers, leading-edge then, regarded as primitive now. The fighter jets that evolved needed light-weight guidance computers. Transistor technology was the spinoff. Nothing boosted scientific and technological progress so much as war.

NASA’s Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs accelerated the entire spectrum of scientific and technological specialties because it demanded that fragile intelligent organic lifeforms not only travel from planet Earth to its twin-planet Selene but also return home.

An aspect often overlooked by morons in the media, and plonkers in politics, alike, is the way that the Space Program needed, and successfully enforced, a giant leap in the specifications of the technology in America’s factories.

In turn, the vastly-advanced manufacturing capability of companies in USA, from the 1960s, was able to produce systems at all levels of the space industry, ground support and in-flight operations, alike, of specifications previously only dreamed-of in their precision and performace.

There is no article that you can buy, or that you use, at work, that is unaffected by Apollo. In home, school, shop, factory, office, transport-vehicle, communications-facility, hospital or you-name-it, people use spinoffs without realising it.

‘People’ includes those ignoramouses who slag off (or used to, many of them have died off, butter-mountain-builder William Proxmire included) NASA, and embarrass themselves with burblings about Velcro and Teflon, which pre-dated Apollo but were greatly improved in specification during it.

The new Apollo spinoff kit was not owned by the Public purse. The patents were owned by the contractors and their sub-contractors. The high-tec world began with the space-race.

The NASA generated economic growth in turn generated income tax, sales, tax, and profits tax. This tax was the profit generated by the Public investment via NASA.

By 1969, $3 had returned for every $1 invested. By 1972, it was $7 for $1. By 1982, is was (with some difficulty) guessed to be at least $20 for $1.

I first gave house room to what i thougt of as a computer in the autumn of 1989, when I availed myself of the excellent services of the Littlewoods mail order catalog to buy an Amstrad ‘PCW’ word-processer. It came with a dot-matrix printer. I had it on the never-never, and I never actually finished the payments.

When the entire economic and industrial infrastructure has become a function of the space age, the question has to be “how much bigger is the game now than it was in 1957, when the USSR began the whole race?” That gives an idea of the true spinoff of public investment, via, NASA, at the leading edge of science and technology. Apollo kept USA at that leading edge.


One Response to “Apollo: New Taxes most important spinoff.”

  1. Jay Stuart May 9, 2010 at 5:13 pm #

    So you did not finish the payments on the Amstrad, Wonderful! Littlewoods like other mail order outfits during that era were always overcharging their customers. Probably still are.

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