Tuesday, July 19, 2005

On heart power, brain power and brute force

MarshallplanlogoBack in 1948, when President harry Truman was signing the Foreign Assistance Act, he was simultaneously taking America on a bold route nobody had explored before, that of true compassion and human care. Indeed, through what is best known as the Marshall Plan, the United States of America spearheaded European and global economic recovery at a time when the disastrous effects of World War II were being felt in every corner of our continent, Old Europe. This was perhaps one of the boldest initiatives undertaken by any US Administration on such a scale.
A bit more than 47 years after it was initiated, as the free world is facing a challenged never equalled since the end of the cold war, I was wondering what the dollar value of the Marshall Plan had been and how much this could be worth in 2005 dollars. After all, this is a time when America is spending over 200 billion US dollars to wage a war that does not seem to be bringing the rosy results promised by President G.W.Bush's Administration: a world free from terror, complying with the ideals of the western model of modern democracy and as a direct consequence of "action" democracy and stability in the Middle East.
Usinflationrates1948to2002Truman's plan for European economic reconstruction was worth 13 billion US dollars in 1948. Condisering the US inflation rate between 1948 and 2002 (for details please click on picture at the left of this text), I calculated the compounded rate of inflation (706%) and was able to determine that the Marshall Plan would be worth slightly more than 104 billion US dollars in 2002, or slightly more than 107 billion US dollars in 2005 (inflation rates for 2003 and 2004 taken from the web site of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics). Dear reader, that is 50% less than what the Bush Administration is spending on waging its war in Iraq. The tragedy of it all is that with an action plan based on brute force America is damaging its image possibly beyond repair. And I am sure President Bush and his team had the best of intentions (Someone I know says that the road to hell is paved with best intentions) as they chose to use violence instead of putting together a plan for...

  • global education,

  • access to potable water for millions of humans,

  • fair trade giving underdeveloped countries a fighting chance in world trade,

  • a cleaner environment and sustainable development

  • ... anything smart, generous, bold and truly compassionate that helps build a better tomorrow

Perhaps it is time to do something different. Again one the things one hears a lot in NLP seminars: "if what you are doing is not working, try something else. More of the same tactic brings more of the same results". Perhaps there is no clash of civilisations, perhaps violence breeds violence, Perhaps bombs actually strengthen terror, perhaps the world is not as simplistic as conservative US think tanks depict it, perhaps it is time to use brain power...

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