Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Stepladders and Thermometers


The great mystique associated with change is the fact that change, as confusing, dynamic and overwhelming as it may appear, is really quite ordinary. Within that confusion is of course chaos. Within chaos is dynamic tension and within that tension is the overwhelming nature of the change that is causing total upheaval. None the less, change is ordinary, always anticipated and expected. We are going to change it’s as simple as that. The reason we are going to change is that it is ordinary, anticipated and expected. Even though that change is confusing and causing dynamic tension which at times appears to be quite overwhelming in nature, it remains ordinary, anticipated and expected.

So what is the problem?

The problem is that some change is more confusing, dynamic and overwhelming than other change. Whereas all change creates dynamic tension and the greater percentage of change can within the ordinary response to change be easily managed, when change is magnified it becomes less manageable. And so is the story of our America today. Living in a nation on the verge of investing in the most advanced industrial structures we have ever created, living in a nation of potentially high level and advanced socio-economic dialogue that is wholly associated with extraordinarily magnified change, that change, because it has been put off for so long, is that much more overwhelming and equally more difficult to realize as a result. Even though multiple generations of Americans have both envisioned and anticipated the broad spectrum of change we in our nation are now confronting, the fact that one generation’s responsibility to embrace that change was hopelessly argued about and therefore not at all realized only frustrates the forward progression of change all generations must now discipline themselves to embrace.

The extraordinarily magnified change I am speaking of is solar energy. As ridiculous as it may sound, a contraption invented in the 1950s, evolved in the 1960s, evolved further in the 70s, 80s and 90s has unfortunately become the invented contraption of our collective social unrest. As it is has as well become the collector and processor of and responder to our greater national urgency to once and for all free ourselves from that social unrest, the solar collector, the remarkable little instrument in a box that captures the rays of the sun and turns those rays into clearly tangible forms of 21st century national economic prosperity has, through excessive and redundant argument, been held hostage to the fear of change for so long that we as Americans have successfully produced for ourselves an excuse not to confront that fear. Overseers of a wholly static industrial economy that is as incapable of moving backwards to celebrate the accomplishments of our 20th century, we are equally incapable of moving forward to characterize the solar collector as the instrument that enables us to celebrate the greater potential of our collective, multi-generational 21st century industrial dream.

While all of this might sound a little too philosophical, the fact remains, our US economy sits idle due to needless argument just as the energy inefficient homes we own sit as constant economic reminders of our failure to resolve that argument. Having been viewed initially as the inventions of those with overly imaginative if not altogether bizarre anti-oil green minds, solar collectors just as wind turbines and a host of other 21st century green technologies have today quite unfortunately been placed into the smaller realm of protective politics that can be perpetually argued when in fact they have always represented the larger realm of progress that thrives only when perpetual argument is replaced with proactive public policy.

A solar collector is the invention of a nation. Because it and wind turbines and the systems that manage geothermal and biofuel energy sources (among many others) are the invention of a nation, ultimately it is the responsibility of that nation to incorporate the technologies represented by these multiple inventions for the greater fulfillment and greater ownership of that nations greater industrial potential. As every home in America is more or less equipped today with a natural gas meter and electric meter owned by a public utility charged with managing the costs of the utilities these meters monitor and as a solar collector is a national public utility invention, what within the realm of protective politics is preventing the solar collector (and many other renewable energy technologies) from becoming the natural extension (s) of what is clearly a public utility grid wholly incapable of supplying the nation with not only a renewable source of energy, but a renewed approach to managing what has always been in our country, a vast array of both renewable and non-renewable energy sources? In turn, what within the realm of protective politics is preventing America’s leadership from embracing the proactive public policy that if put into place on a national scale would produce a diversity of industrial and economic growth never before witnessed by mankind?

As within the context of ordinary American conversation today, one would be hard pressed to find any American that does not have a fairly thorough comprehension of alternative energy technologies, why is it that within the realm of protective politics, none of this technology resides within our nation’s ordinary American marketplace? Why is it that proactive public policy remains hidden, isolated and wholly diminished?

Protective politics is our reaction to extraordinarily magnified change. In as much as we have collectively been acquiring a vast array of new technological information over the course of several decades, we have done so within the vacuum of protective politics. Within that vacuum, the evolution of fossil fuel technologies has most certainly kept pace with the evolution of green technologies. Yet, with virtually every expert from a wide variety of industries whose focus is essentially the profitable harvesting of an equally wide variety of either earth based, air or wind borne fuel sources, each industry remains locked into the singular protective political ideologies that supposedly protect a singular industry from being devoured by another seemingly opposing singular industry. Within the consciousness of what we conclude to be extraordinarily magnified change however, is ordinary, anticipated and expected. And, within what is ordinary, anticipated and expected is the obligation we have as a nation to do what is expected of us for us.

Solar energy is not an odd and isolated air borne commodity, it is instead, a universal day to day occurrence that can only be partially harnessed. Much the same as wind energy, solar energy simply occurs. Because it does and because it does so in both consistent and inconsistent weather related patterns, regardless of the geographical region of its occurrence, its dependability and that of the wind can and must be looked upon as a wholly valid and most clearly renewable “master commodity”. Within the context of this title however must be the realization of its consistent and inconsistent nature. And, within the context of its nature, the industries that thrive from the technological management of its multiple (in) consistencies should clearly be put into place throughout our United States of America.

Unfortunately, the harvesting of both solar and wind energy has been placed into the same traditional industrial harvesting categories as oil, oil shale, coal, timber harvesting, hydroelectric, natural gas, etc. If it’s windy in California, we’ll build windmills. If it’s sunny in Colorado, we’ll build solar farms. If it’s in abundance somewhere, we’ll harness it and ship it somewhere else. As solar and wind energy are actually in abundance everywhere and all other industrial categories are not, perhaps within our protective political ideology we are overlooking the larger proactive social and economic dialogue that should embrace the holistic harvesting of solar and wind (and many other) renewable energy sources.

As you are reading this essay and are hopefully fascinated by its evolution, I want you to take a break from it for a moment. Regardless of where you live, regardless of what time of the day or night, I want you to go outside. Before you do, please gather up a lightweight stepladder, a clipboard and two thermometers. Once outside, place one of those thermometers at the southern base of your home’s foundation while placing the other at the northern base. Leave the thermometers in place for fifteen minutes and while waiting, take the time to sit in both of the areas where you placed the thermometers. As you sit there, write down how you feel about both of these areas on your clipboard. Once you have done this, note the temperatures on the two thermometers.

Next, leave one of the thermometers in place on either the north or south side of your foundation and place the other inside of your house in approximately the same location as the one you have left outside. While doing this, again take the time to sit in both of these locations and note how you feel while noting as well the actual temperature registered at both locations. Leaving the outside thermometer in place, take the inside thermometer back outside and place it beneath the eave of your home directly above the one that remains at your foundation’s base. Again, spend time in both of these places and note how you feel while noting as well the temperatures on the two thermometers. Once you have done this, take the thermometer you placed beneath the eave and place it on the surface of the roof directly above the eave. Again, as you do this, take the time to jot down how you feel and of course, note the two temperatures.

As you can continue this process and in doing so document the actual temperature of your home and the varying weather conditions you feel while circumventing the entire architectural footprint of your home, you will come to notice two very distinct realities. The first of course is that no two thermometers readings will be the same. The second is that you will have experienced a variety of climatic changes that affect the way your body responds to both the inside and outside environments of your home.

When you think about this for a while and do so within the mindset of a 21st century environmental engineer who also happens to be a shareholder in a solar panel company, another company that manufactures the interface technology needed to coordinate the communication between the solar panel, natural gas meter and electric meter and yet another company which is a micro-public utility provider, and, still another company that manufacturers low voltage landscape lighting, emergency egress interior lighting and task specific lighting for arm chair reading either inside or outside of your home, something quite obvious begins to occur. What occurs is that you find yourself an investor in a host of 21st century advanced technology manufacturing companies whose primary focus is interfacing the naturally occurring solar and wind currents that create the forward thinking and healthy environment of your 21st century home with the micro-utility grids established by 21st century municipal power companies that are linked to regional power companies that are in turn kinked to national alternative energy utility grids that are in turn linked to national, regional and community fossil fuel utility grids.

After you have done all of this, take the stepladder, the clipboard and the two thermometers back inside and continue to read this essay. As you read, consider the fact that while we in America are experiencing extraordinarily magnified change, change is ordinary, always anticipated and expected, particularly if you want your 401k to assure your long term financial security in what for all practical purposes has the distinct possibility of becoming a thriving 21st century common sense based industrial economy.

The Blue Collar Industrialist


M. Patrick Dahlke

Sunday, April 5, 2009



If everything that we could imagine going wrong does indeed go wrong and our US economy continues to shrivel, there are, more than likely a number of dysfunctional industrial elements that will serve as distinct reminders as to why it will. As all of these elements are intricately linked with one another, the failure of one more or less assures the failure of another. As the industrial domino affect has already created a worldwide economic downturn, there is virtually no reason to believe that this affect will not continue. As it does continue and will continue to continue, it is imperative that we look at the superstructure that is enabling this extraordinary chain of events to continue.

While it is obvious that the financial industry is on the skids and virtually every other industry is directly affected by the fact that it is, the financial industry being on the skids is not in any manner whatsoever an indication of why our nation is in the midst of economic decline. Given the fact that virtually every industry has gone to the financial industry for financial help, it must be recognized that the quest for financial help, entirely overshadows the much larger fact the very few industries in America actually understand the larger scope of the bigger picture. As that bigger picture is all about thinking entirely out of the box of conventional economic theory, it is as well all about thinking entirely out of the box of conventional industrial theory. Having said this, the fact that every industry is seeking financial assistance from the financial industry belies the fact that all industries are also seeking regulatory assistance from the government that regulates the financial industry.

In other words, as every industry in America is looking for financing, every industry is as well, looking for direction. As the lack of direction is clearly causing our economic decline, that same lack of direction can be attributed to specific industries that until this historic and monumental evolutionary decline were the benchmark of both our nation’s industrial and economic strength. The fact that these industries represent the core elements of our nations industrial and economic superstructure is very disturbing and the reason of course is that as our superstructure is failing, it is doing so only as a result of a remarkably high level of miscommunication between these core American as well as core global industries.

Essentially, as of right now in 2009, we in America are absolutely clueless as to what we are supposed to be doing next even though clues as to our future industrial direction abound. While every industry is currently seeking cash, every industry is as well, trying to figure out how to generate cash. Yet, until the mechanism that regenerates our superstructure is in place, none of us will indeed, have any cash.

The title of this essay is “THE TOP TEN INDUSTRIES THAT WILL FAIL IN 2009”. The reason for this title is that within the great irony we in America are facing today, this essay could just as easily have been entitled “THE TOP TEN INDUSTRIES THAT WILL FLOURISH IN 2009”. Getting to the actual point of this essay however, let’s look at the industries that will either fail or succeed.

The auto industry appears on the surface to be one of those industries that will fail. As this industry has not been able to produce the perfect auto for many decades, it has none the less, continued to produce automobiles. The question therefore, is not only what the perfect automobile is, but, what the perfect definition of personal and professional transportation must and will eventually become in our 21st century. While auto manufacturers worldwide are experiencing dramatic drops in sales, at the same time auto owners worldwide are experiencing a dramatic drop in their desire to purchase an automobile. While part of this lack of desire can be directly associated with the inability of an awful lot of people to be able to afford a new automobile, a much larger part of this lack of desire is based upon the fact that Americans and their global counterparts simply have many more forward thinking industrial ideas on their mind. With the enormous expansion of technological ideas taking place in our nation and our world today, the notion of getting into a car and driving somewhere has quite literally been replaced with staying home while getting somewhere altogether different in the process.

The agriculture industry is next up on the list of industries that will more likely than not, experience significant failure. The reason this industry will do so is twofold. First and foremost, this industry has not reconciled its dual role in producing crops for food and crops for fuel in our 21st century industrial economy. With the agricultural industry existing for all practical purposes within the same industrial state of confusion as the auto industry, the fact that cars are not selling belies the fact that the agricultural products that should be fueling these cars are not maturing substantially enough in the proper industrial direction of being able to do so. Given the fact that agricultural products in our 21st century industrial model must substantially be utilized for the production of fuel, the secondary role of this industry must as well, come to face its evolutionary future.
Within that future, regional agricultural food markets must be developed.

The third industry to fail in 2009 will be that of healthcare. The reason for its inevitable failure however, has virtually nothing whatsoever to do with the underlying theme that has kept it both alive and highly controversial in the past twenty years. Affordable healthcare, an innocuous term that has been bandied about within the corridors of the health, insurance and legal industries for far too long, is simply a misnomer and one that has no bearing whatsoever on the future of what is clearly unfolding as a significant emergence of advanced environmental healthcare technologies. As the notion of getting sick and being uninsured in the cases where such sickness could be long term and directly affect ones ability to make an income is rapidly being replaced by the super technological advancements in medical procedures, suggesting that someone could be sick for a long time has more or less become redundant. The notion of affordability therefore is equally redundant as the larger notion of creating healthy, technologically advanced personal living environments sits quite clearly on the outskirts of conventional healthcare consciousness.

The fourth industry to fail in 2009 will be the residential construction industry. Of all industries to fail in 2009, this industry is clearly the most monumental essay of late 20th and early 21st century economic decline and the hopelessly negative emergence of both family and community dysfunctionalism that has caused this decline. The reason is simple, for every American home built in the last two hundred years, the vast majority of Americans who live in these homes have simply lived in the psychological past these period homes represent. Whereas one would think that in a constantly changing, growing and emerging industrial society, all aspects of industrial development associated with that growth would be reflected in the constant and continuous upgrading of ones personal abode, quite sadly, this simply has not taken place here in our America as much as it has in other cultures. Because it has not, we in America are faced with immense populations or hamlets of negative iconoclastic behavior whose entire socio-economic developmental focus is the memory of the wood stove, muskets and chewing tobacco mentality of the Civil War era or other eras wholly devoid of proactive or forward thinking industrial momentum.

The fifth industry to fail in 2009 is the collective entities of both public and private education. As there is virtually no grandparent or parent of children attending either our public or private universities who is not fully aware of the fact that the goal of education is entirely at odds with the failed promise of education, paying for the unfulfilled objectives of higher education has come face to face with the reality that such payment is superfluous. What’s the point?

The point is simple. This essay is entitled “THE TOP TEN INDUSTRIES THAT WILL FAIL IN 2009”. The opposing point is that this essay could just as easily have been entitled “THE TOP TEN INDUSTRIES THAT WILL FLOURISH IN 2009”. As I have only mentioned the five industries that have the potential to fail thus far in this essay, there are of course, five more industries left that could possibly be defined as failures. At this juncture, I think it is imperative to ask ourselves a few questions. Should we list the other five that have the potential to fail, or, should we instead take the time to say why the first five industries don’t have to fail?

Public and private higher education is a promise we as Americans made to ourselves decades ago. Within that promise was the realization that without some form of disciplined and civil thought, industrial progress would wane. If such progress did wane, we collectively as a nation of United Americans From The States would be faced with the realization of starving to death both socially and financially. Having spent two hundred years living within the framework of a constantly evolving industrialized social framework, why would we in 2009, suddenly decide to say the hell with it?

Of course we have not, and, in spite of the fact that we are dealing with some structural industrial and economic difficulties that appear to impossible to sort out, we will indeed sort them out. As a promise is a promise and the greater promise is that of what we have promised to our children, it strikes me that public education today remains the definitive link to actualizing that promise. But how? How do we pull off the most remarkable transformation of both public and private education in the history of our United States of America? The answer of course is that we look to our industrial inventiveness. Within that inventiveness and if just twenty years ago there were 209 subjects we sent our children to college to learn and today there are 2009, we have 1800 new subjects with 1800 new sources of funding that will assure eighteen thousand new jobs in eighteen thousand old communities here in our America. As there are many more than eighteen thousand communities in our America, my point is my point. Public and private education is on the top of the list of “THE TOP TEN INDUSTRIES THAT WILL FLOURISH IN 2009”. If we choose to make it so.

The second most flourishing industry in our nation is the residential housing industry. The reason it has become so is that we have over the course of the last two hundred years, built a nation of communities with distinctly different and historical architectural as well as cultural footprints. Within the melting pot of these collective heritages, we have in turn embraced the continuity of technological advancement. In doing so, a Belgium immigrant blacksmith of America’s 1800s evolved his family’s industrial heritage from hammering horse shoes then to crafting technologically advanced watering troughs engineered to divert, purify and redefine the use and function of rainwater in 2009. In turn, as one generation after another had to breathe the air of the blacksmith’s shop, each generation became that much more conscious of indoor air quality both in the shop and the home adjacent to the shop. As time moved forward and varying technologies began to interplay with one another, before long, purified rain water engineered to coexist with purified air created green wall systems in the homes of fourth generation Belgium immigrants. In turn, fourth generation industries sprouted continuously assuring the financial strength of the shop owner, homeowner and community both the shop and home were located in.

Within this constantly evolving diversion of original ancestral industrial brilliance and with the help of both 21st century public and private education, a great, great granddaughter at one of America’s leading edge, environmentally focused universities knowing full well that rainwater flowed continuously throughout their two hundred year old American home history was able to not only apply those technologies but educate others in the advanced sciences of both rainwater and air quality management. And of course she was in turn able to educate in the bilingual languages of both her Belgium and American ancestors.

The third most flourishing industry in our nation is healthcare. Of course, part of the reason for the success of the healthcare industry is that a man who two hundred years ago as a blacksmith, emigrating to the United States not at all realized that by doing so he would be fulfilling a much larger industrial dream, as he had virtually no idea at the time just exactly what that dream would come to and between the time this man emigrated and today in 2009 when his great, great granddaughter his family would be building state of the art watering troughs, something else even more dynamic was occurring.

It turns out that this man’s great, great granddaughter had a brother who unfortunately was afflicted with upper respiratory ailments that were through genetic profiling, proven to be directly related to the air quality of the original blacksmith shop. With the same dedication as his sister, but unlike her his career direction found him in the medical profession. As his technological interest in blacksmithing took on an entirely different albeit similar focus, health education proved to be his stamp on the constantly evolving architectural blueprint of his family tree. Teaching proactive and preventative environmental healthcare became his forte and within the discipline of his chosen medical profession, he was able to design and implement and environmental healthcare initiative through the local hospital he held his medical practice in. Knowing full well that the application of advanced rainwater and air quality management was at the core of this healthcare initiative, he soon became known throughout the community he lived in as the traveling air quality doctor. Working in unison with members of both the local and regional residential construction industries, he and his associates in turn were able to diversify the medical industry. In doing so, the cost and focus of healthcare spread over a wide ranging collection of seemingly unrelated industries. Brought affordability of healthcare into the proactive context of 21st century sustainable industrial and economic viability.

The fourth most flourishing industry of America is agriculture. With a clearly defined industrial imperative finally in place, America’s agricultural industry having successfully wedded its 21st century crops for fuel initiative with the larger fossil fuel initiative of the 20th century, the symbiotic movement between bio and fossil fuels merged with the solar, wind and geothermal industries to produce both regional public utility grids and regional transportation fueling networks. Within the framework of these networks, community service stations flourished to the point where once again a motorist could go to a service station and actually expect full service once he or she shut off the multitude of engines that powered the multitude of vehicles they drove into that service station.

A clean windshield once the benchmark of an S&H Green Stamp caring neighborhood industrial economy again became the signature of customer service. Checking under the hood again became a ritual that brought the driver out of his or her car to talk with the attendant about the goings on in the community. Within those 21st century gas station talks however, something had clearly changed. And. Of all that had changed, it was the conversation of about the local grocery store that changed the most.

Given that the local grocery store had been transformed into a proactive, multi-dimensional agricultural shopping center, it had as well been transformed into a community college of sustainable nutritional and environmental education. Within the boundaries of that education was of course the financial prosperity of the community both the grocery store and the service station served and represented. Co-mingling with these two community socio-economic anchors was of course the local hardware store.

What made these three community centers of commerce flourish however was the larger relationship they each shared with the greater regional farming networks that produced and processed not only the industrial fuels these communities relied upon but the organically grown food that fed their families as well as the residential garden compost and home construction debris constantly being recycled within the continuous nature of these advanced industrial processes. As it was not the least bit uncommon to see hybrid light duty delivery and service vehicles co fueling with fossil fuel powered construction vehicles, it was as well not the least bit uncommon for the local motorist to off load used cooking oil at the service station that redirected that oil back to the regional refinery it came from. In the same breath, those hybrid delivery vehicles moving from grocery store into the residential neighborhoods for food delivery did as well move a small army of experts into and out of the burgeoning high tech residential construction zones that were now flourishing in every community. With the local service station functioning as a refueling station for a multitude of vehicle types, it was as well functioning as a headquarters for the technicians that monitored the combined energy use of both the motorists technologically advanced vehicle and technologically renovated home.

As it was becoming clearer and clearer to all in the community that such monitoring was essential, given the fact that our nation’s agriculture industry had successfully wed it role as food provided with energy provider, the local service station simply became the logical place for such monitoring to take place. Being able to monitor the energy performance of one’s vehicle while also being able to monitor the overall energy performance of one’s house, the service station being connected via advanced information technology simply became the place where not only would an air filter for an automobile could be ordered and installed, but an air filter or water filter for the home that housed that auto could be ordered and scheduled for installation as well. As the equipment used to monitor the performance of the auto was now being used to monitor the technology of the home, in the process of washing windshields and checking under the hood, checking under the roof was added to the evolved social dialogue of neighbors pumping new age gas.

As the fifth industry to flourish in 2009 was indeed the auto industry, it was quite remarkable that just as easily it could be described as the first industry to fail in 2009. Its failure or success being directly related to the capacity of all other industrial sectors to define a collective 21st century national industrial benchmark from which all industrial participants were enabled the un-restrained dialogue of proactive economic growth, was then the overriding determining factor in that success. As our industrial economy, which is still based upon our nation’s larger humanitarian imperative evolved first by 1800s Belgium immigrant blacksmiths shoeing horses as well as many other immigrants applying many other 1800s technologies, the purpose of their vision was the collective need they had and we still have as a nation to constantly redefine our collective notion of human transportation our human movement.

Throughout America’s 20th century that movement was defined and realized by our collective need to connect the many communities of a America via a transportation system that combined, rail, waterway shipping, interstate highways and air traffic for the collective good of our national industrial economy. While today the same imperatives are needed, they are not needed in the grand scale of the 20th century. Instead they are needed in the micro-scale of local urban and rural community development. Unfortunately, far too many architects of our 21st century industrial vision have locked onto the big picture for the validation of their big dream. Thinking that first we must build entirely new nationwide public utility grids and transportation grids, their vision lacks the common sense associated with technological retrofitting. As the driving force behind an industrial economy is the creation of industries that create jobs that finance the growth of new infrastructure, the jobs of our 21st century are virtually all local in nature. While the end goal of our 21st century is to have perfected the perfect industrial relationships that should exist between solar and wind and biofuel, fossil fuel and agriculture, that relationship is virtually impossible to form if we continue to think from the top down perspective of our nation’s 20th century. Co-mingling of infrastructure will be the key to our nation’s 21st century industrial prosperity and until we can realize the extent of such co-mingling, the industries of 2009 that will fail, most likely will fail.

The Blue Collar Industrialist


M. Patrick Dahlke

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Then of course, there is green gold


Picture yourself as a guy or a gal living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the mid 1800s. As you do so, think about the fact that in the thoughts and conversations you are having with yourself and others in your community, doing something other than what has become hopelessly boring and routine compels you to search for greater meaning in both your personal and professional life. As a result of sharing your thoughts through conversations with others, your perspective of how you and others choose to respond to the world that is obviously changing around you is also changing. Deciding either separately or together to go with the forces that are shaping that change and realizing that life in Philadelphia is not necessarily responding to that change at a pace similar to your own, your sense of being unfulfilled comes to match your desire do something altogether different and altogether far from the normal life Philadelphia appears to represent.

Being an avid reader of the local paper, which back in the 1850s was just beginning to expose the people of Philadelphia to the greater horizons of an emerging America, one particular event consistently catches your eye. As the California Gold Rush of 1848 is heralded as the happening thing in America, your attention and your imagination are wholly captured as you make a quite powerful personal connection with that particular happening. Thinking that if you were to uproot and move from Philly to San Francisco, your vision of change would be fulfilled, you do so. In doing so, you find yourself quite able to disassociate yourself from the normal and indeed banal existence of Pennsylvania and turn yourself instead into a genuine California Gold Digger.

As you journey from Pennsylvania to California, you find yourself being exposed to a variety of regional American cultures and of course a variety of regional social nuances. In your obsessive pursuit of independent wealth however, it seems that no matter where you stop along the path to gold, these social nuances appear to be quite imperfect and quite annoying to you. None the less, because you made the decision to move, these nuances in one manner or another, exposed you to an American way of life that was indeed quite diverse and was indeed filling some part of your subconscious creative mind with what at the time was a whole bunch of consciously unrecognizable new age golden ideas. Being obsessed with the pursuit of your own personal gold standards, these unrecognizable ideas were left unregistered and became trademarks of your dormant and unfortunately unfulfilled industrial imagination.

Arriving in San Francisco after your journey across America you stake your claim, set up your isolated tented homestead, peruse the geography of your domain and begin to unpack your stuff. As part of your stuff was the stuff you departed Philly with, in your unpacking, a greater part of your stuff was stuff that you had acquired in your move across America. The newly acquired movement stuff was of course the stuff you had attained through having conversations with people across America who also had stuff and who also had dreams of California Gold. Much like yourself, these people were also avid readers and they too had read about the rush. As they read and you read, the conversations you had centered around the equipment you would need in order to be prepared for the eventual new life you would be leading as a California Gold Digger.

While the conversations didn’t amount to much and the equipment you purchased from those you had the conversations with was admittedly sparse, now that you were unpacking your gold stuff along with your old Philly stuff, you felt quite confident that all of the stuff you were unpacking was indeed all of the stuff you would need to become independently wealthy and of course totally free of the social constraints of those who unlike yourself had simply decided not to pursue such wealth.

As luck would have it however, so to would fate and within the constraints of both luck and fate, the tent you erected upon your staked California claim began to fall apart just a little bit faster than your ability to find the gold that would eventually help build your dream of owning a castle in a land devoid of social constraints. Realizing that perhaps your dream was slightly askew while also realizing that your tented fortress was but a temporary stay in an environmentally and economically unstable American roadside camp, you began to inventory your belongings in much the same manner as you did when you left Philly and arrived in San Francisco.

In the process of doing so, your imaginative subconscious began to awaken. As it did, the conversations with the many socially constrained Americans you had met upon your path to gold and initially thought to be so meaningless and boring took on a new life. Soon it became apparent to you that while those that did read about the gold rush but decided not to take the path that supposedly led to that instant gold were within their social monotony, diligently building the industrial mechanism that brought wealth to America in the 1800s in an entirely different and much more tangible form.

Ohio River Valley communities were building farms carved from land perfectly suited for doing so. They were as well building factories that produced steel which in turn was used to produce steel rails and the locomotives that traversed those rails and eventually linked one end of our nation to the other with the driving of the proverbial golden spike. Michiganders used that steel to give birth to an infant automobile industry whereas Chicagoans used that same steel to produce the structural elements of our nations burgeoning architectural and building trade empires. Corn huskers from Nebraska thrived as did livestock raised on the corn that was shipped by rail and locomotive eastward to the stockyards of Chicago and further eastward to Pennsylvania and beyond. Omaha, Nebraska became the national agricultural health college of western journeying big country cattleman and Midwestern farmer’s as Denver, Colorado became the gateway of the Rockies. Within that gateway and from Texas to Montana, big country cattlemen merged with big country loggers and big country steel men to produce a symphony of industrial commerce that had virtually no bearing whatsoever on the quest for California gold.

As the California Gold Rush quickly became a useless essay on an equally useless population of those who sought fast profits from lazy dreams of fast wealth, it did as well symbolize the end of an era for those inclined to make money on superficial, socially disconnected and dysfunctional dreams as opposed to those who earned money by hammering tools, growing crops and feeding American families not from the gold of nitwits but from the wit of environmentally brilliant industrialists who saw within their collective industrial mindset, the brilliance of an ordinary day to day earthly harvest.

America’s industrial 1800s passed and in doing so the industrial era represented by both instant gold seekers and disciplined gold harvesters also passed. As the real gold of the 1800s was never really measured by the accomplishments of a few self centered mineral speculators, it was in retrospect, most certainly measured by the accomplishments of hundreds of thousands of Americans that had successfully spread out across the ever expanding wilderness of our nation at the time. As America grew in physical size, it also grew in industrial capacity and in turn grew economically due solely to its industrial inventiveness and of course as this generation of gold seekers and harvesters waned, a new generation of gold seekers and harvesters were born.

Within the same mindset that enabled the industrial growth of the 1800s to emerge, a new industrial mindset for a new industrial century emerged in the 1900s. In the process, Gold Diggers once again surfaced. This time however the search for precious minerals that had historically been considered the standard of supreme wealth for centuries of civilizations was entirely redefined. In that redefinition, the quest for gold, silver and copper was set aside and replaced by the search for black gold. Within no time at all, oil, oil, oil, oil and more oil became the standard from which all aspects of America’s industrial wealth in the 1900s would ultimately come to be measured by.

As the evolution of America’s 1900’s industrial process had indeed brought us to the realization that oil had tremendous value, the scope of that value was the understanding that unlike the gold that few would ever need or be able to afford in the 1800s, oil in the 1900s had a universal need and of course offered universal wealth to all of America. With virtually every segment of America’s industrial economy thriving as a result of our successfully managed use of oil, we quickly became the largest and most powerful industrial nation in the world and all of course was going quite well for us for quite some time.

Never really understanding the negative side effects of our consumption of oil however, those effects began to emerge and slowly but surely, the positive independent industrial and economic strength we had amassed as a result of oil came to reflect our negative dependence on what ultimately would come to be defined as a limited natural resource. Unlike the quest for gold in the 1800s whose discovery or lack of had very little negative financial bearing on most of America, the realization that oil was in fact a limited national commodity underscored just how financially dependent we had become on this limited resource in the industrial 1900s.

Whereas gold, despite its limited attainability, represented a common theme of national wealth to the masses in the 1800s, whether or not the masses actually possessed or used or indeed had any use for the mineral had very little bearing on the overall growth of our nation’s industrial economy at the time. As there was simply so much industrial development occurring, harvesting a host of natural resources was driving that growth. In the 1900s everything changed. In the 1900s, not only had gold become even less of a sought after commodity, black oil was the driving force behind the rapid harvesting of a host of limited natural resources. As the effects of such harvesting are clearly present today in 2009, the fact that we have allowed oil to become our new national gold standard belies the fact that oil today just as gold yesterday has virtually no bearing on the growth of the industries we in America today have the potential to create nor the potential we have in America today to redefine the use of the same natural resources that have existed since the beginning of mankind.

As the Gold Rush of the 1800s was short lived and the Oil Rush of the 1900s is clearly proving to be just as short lived, the underlying industrial and organic elements of both the Gold Rush and the Oil Rush still very much remain in their historical place and have little or no bearing on the value or use of either gold or oil. Due to our overwhelmingly collective addiction on oil in the 1900s however, those elements have been set aside by a fundamental loss of both industrial and organic common sense. Still seeking to maintain control of the financial and political riches as well as the industrial power associated with oil, the technologies we have today that will wholly enable us to re manage those natural elements sit for all practical purposes along the same dreamy route the 1800s expatriated Philadelphian ignored on his original quest for California Gold.

Today in 2009, the Gold Digger of the 1800s evolved to the Black Gold Digger of the 1900s has evolved to the Carbon Gold Digger of the 2000s. Whereas nothing has changed in the two hundred year history of global industrialization, the Carbon Gold Digger of 2000 is obsessed with the fact that indeed something has. Given the fact that carbon, just as oil and just as gold are simple minerals of the earth beneath us, for some reason today, the fact that carbon can be found in the sky comes as a complete mystery to those who for centuries have found mineral and financial wealth from the elements retrieved from the earth that lies beneath the sky.

Not forgetting for a moment that one of the most severe side effects of developing an industrial economy based upon the use of oil has created severe health, environmental and economic issues, the fact remains the same, the solutions for the health problems of the 1800s was in fact the development of oil in the 1900s and of course the solutions for the health problems of the 1900s will in fact be the development of a broad spectrum of industries that literally redirect airborne carbon back down to the gardens of the same nose blowing American farmers who chatted with the wandering ex patriot Philadelphian two hundred years ago.

As within the great mystery of constant change there remains the greater mystery of constant common sense, trading carbon credits is today as ludicrous as determining the price of a barrel of oil yesterday as was defining the value of gold the day before yesterday. Industrialization is a uniquely human process. Within the evolution of that process comes the universally patented ability of the inventor with the universal inventive mind to patent a universal industrial process that benefits everyone. As America’s industrial cycles have constantly coincided with America’s economic cycles, they have as well constantly coincided with the general perception that change effects not only the gold diggers but the gold harvesters of America in precisely the same manner. As there are innumerable industrial processes that have within the past thirty years of our nation’s history been patented, due to the fact that we still as a nation think that we must define a Gold Standard or a Black Gold Standard or a Carbon Gold Standard, the actual gold standard of national industrial progress hopelessly trapped in the abyss of overly grandiose terms remains hopelessly undefined and of course hopelessly unattainable.

To put these thoughts into perspective, consider that before we as a nation can ever even possibly expect to see any future economic growth, our singular industrial focus must be that of assuring every home in America is heated, cooled, ventilated and electrified by an array of applied passive and active solar, wind, geothermal, natural gas and biofuel technologies. Consider also that the manufacturing of alternative energy technologies as well as the manufacturing of all American made products must be framed within the economic constraints of harnessing factory emissions to produce additional sources of both heat and electrical generation. Consider as well, that until these higher levels of industrial management are realized in our factories and homes, we will have virtually no ability to realize the economic potential of virtually every other industry in America. As gold was the symbolic economic standard of the 1800s and oil was the economic standard of the 1900s, the dissection and re-management of multiple layers of naturally occurring atmospheric conditions interfaced with the advanced re-management of all natural resources directly related to those conditions won’t evolve to become the benchmark from which America can justify the mature growth of a 21st century carbon standard.

Unfortunately now and today, as virtually all of the technologies and industrial mechanisms needed to support a truly sustainable carbon standard are actually ready to be put in place, the argument over the establishment of the carbon standard has been relegated to the global theatre of the absurd. As carbon emissions are being characterized as the singular source of both ozone depletion and global warming, such characterization is but intellectual discourse between those who have become entirely too comfortable with living in the economic safety zone of oil consumption as opposed to oil management. Like idiots who assume that winning the lottery will allow themselves some sort of escape from reality, those that have the responsibility and expertise to apply green technologies and industrial mechanisms to our national economy have altogether failed to see the overwhelming economic growth potential of simply focusing on the remodeling and retrofitting of every single home in America.

As the wandering gold digger of the 1800s passed along his path to gold all sorts of Americans who were utilizing the technology of the day to improve their home, community, agricultural, industrial and economic livelihood and as the oil barons of the 1900s passed along their path to gold all sorts of Americans who were doing the same, it is the average American that ultimately paved the golden path. As the management of our nation’s economy has quite unfortunately been shaped by the absurd notions coming from the minds of those who can only be considered as rambling economists that pal around with rambling environmentalists, industrialists by the millions own the homes in America that must be now and immediately today in our America be retrofitted.

As the failure of our nation’s leadership to recognize this basic fact has produced a nation of disjointed citizenry, along with the application of green technologies must be the application of a universal industrial dialogue that corrects this terribly disjointed and dysfunctional socio-economic dialogue. Towards this goal, this author who has arrived at his larger industrial, environmental and economic assumptions by holding a framing hammer in his hand for most of his professional life, asks a simple question – should America’s industrial future be managed by those who have developed overly complex theories based upon the singular obsession of basic research or should that future be managed by those who have mastered the much larger and much more dynamic industrial art of applying that research?

Should America’s industrial potential be managed by economically dysfunctional architectural gold diggers or would that future be better managed by the master carpenters who build the tools that harvest the gold?

The Blue Collar Industrialist


M. Patrick Dahlke