Early Morning Thoughts, July 20, 2019
Fifty Years seems like a long time, eh?
I am able, largely due to my own efforts and decisions in my own life, and due to the fact that I didn’t step on one of the landmines in that life (and thus cut my life short), to actually look back fifty years to a time fifty years ago when I wore a younger man’s clothes. I liked those times fifty years ago. Of course, now that I am past the ¾ century mark, one could argue that I’m just another retired old guy who is pretty useless to himself and to others. In fact, I’m pretty certain the government views me that way and simply wishes I would die. Oddly enough, I don’t view myself that same way. To me, I’m still alive and quite well, thank you very much for asking.
And, for me, and maybe for all humans, today is a holiday of sorts. Fifty years ago today, man accomplished one of the great BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) and the world was in celebration. I’m referring to the Apollo 11 lunar landing, of course. This date, July 20, 1969 – exactly fifty years ago, may have been America’s pinnacle of glory as a country because, when I look back I don’t see any other successful American government BHAGs since then.
So, let’s look back in time a bit and see how things have changed since 1969, shall we.
As an aside, I generally attribute 1913 as being the worst year in American history largely because that was the year the US government (as opposed to the American people) turned over control of our country’s economy to the Rothschild banking cabal. If I could remove one year from our American history, it would be 1913. 1913 was a horrible year for America. But, that’s an aside.
In the year 1969, one U.S. fiat dollar was equivalent in buying power to about $6.98 of buying power in 2019, a difference of $5.98 over 50 years. In other words, and in government generated calculations, what could be bought for one dollar in 1969 now costs about six dollars. Private financial consultants see that change in costs as being over seven dollars, so there appears to be some disagreement in how much the dollar has been devalued. The fiat Federal Reserve Notes (which are based on debt and are no longer based on gold) thus experienced an average inflation rate of at least 3.96% per year during this fifty year period, meaning the real value of a dollar decreased. The Canadian dollar, with a difference of about $5.64, was almost as bad.
However, as bad as inflation was for Americans, America was perhaps not the worst. For comparison, in the UK £1.00 in 1969 would be equivalent to £16.32 in 2019, representing an absolute change of £15.32 and a cumulative change of 1,532.35%. So the Brits have suffered a much higher inflation rate than have the Americans. Tragic, huh? This is what governments and private banking systems do to the human populations.
In 1969, the American population was about 202 million. The average annual wage (depending on data source) was between $6,500 and $8,000. I was making over $10,000 at the time, so I was pretty fat and happy. In fact, I never saw any reason to want to make more than $10,000 per year. Foolish me, I just didn’t understand the effects of government and banker induced inflation on the value of our money system.
In 1969, the median value of an American home was less than $20,000, and while Hawaii may have been the most expensive (at an estimated average of $35,000), Arkansas was apparently the least expensive at about $10,000. Median rent in America was about $110 per month while Alabama and Arkansas were each about $70 per month.
In 1969, the average cost of a new car was $2,000. The average cost of a gallon of gas was $.32 (i.e. 32 cents per U.S. gallon). The average cost of one gallon of organic, non-GMO, cow’s milk was $1.10. The average cost of a loaf of organic, non-GMO bread was $.23. A USPS first class postage stamp was $.06 per ounce. Compare these 1969 costs to costs that you pay in 2019.
You get the idea. Life was evidently much cheaper in 1969, and the value of our money certainly has been diminished since then. But, let’s get back to the subject of BHAGs, shall we.
Initiated by John F Kennedy, the Apollo 11 lunar landing was a great and wonderful BHAG event, and I had been, fortunately, a part of that activity. In fact, I wrote a small text/image document that briefly discusses what we did at MIT as part of the Apollo program.
Remembering that 1969 was a time in history when most math calculations were made on a slide rule (commonly available personal computers didn’t come until a decade later), Apollo did start America thinking about space and technology on a more serious level. And, BTW, we need to thank Russia for being the first in space in 1957 as the kick-starter for American involvement. Yes, I suspect we were simply fat, dumb and happy Americans in 1957, and Russia woke us up.
1957 was a time of technical naivety for Americans and maybe for all humans. In those early years, we used cameras and their photos to triangulate the positions, course, and speed of the first satellites. Looking back, that’s a ‘wow’ for me. Here’s another article I wrote that demonstrates how amateurs and volunteers helped governments track the early satellites.
“Like all adventures that we get into, we often don’t even know we are involved in a life adventure – we get immersed in the activities and just do it. No inhibitions. No problems. It’s just a young person’s magnificent obsession with some project that helps them grow up and become adults who are then trained in and able to focus on, some particular aspect of life.”
So, “What Is a Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG)? A big hairy audacious goal, or BHAG, is a clear and compelling target for an organization to strive for. The term was coined in the book “Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras. A BHAG — pronounced “bee hag” — is a long-term goal that everyone in a company [or organization] can understand and rally behind. BHAGs are meant to excite and energize people in a way that quarterly targets and lengthy missions statements often fail to.”
The Apollo program was that way for Americans, and the world applauded the end results – the actual lunar landing. But what have we Americans done since then? When I originally posted the question above, I was thinking of what BHAGs the US government had accomplished since 1969. However, I should note that BHAGs are often private and often catch on even with people who are outside the organizations that start them.
For example, SpaceX’s goal to “enable human exploration and settlement of Mars” has caught international attention. That’s a good thing. Facebook, as much as it has an extremely dark side, has inadvertently created a few BHAGs of its own over time, including to “make the world more open and connected” and “give everyone the power to share anything with anyone.” And even Google wants to “organize the world’s information and market it universally accessible and useful.” For Volvo, their BHAG is all about car safety and that by 2020 no one should be killed or seriously injured while traveling in a new Volvo. For Microsoft, their BHAG was to have a computer on every desk and in every home. So, it appears that some organizations still provide humanity with BHAGs. And that is all good.
But what has the US government done since 1969? Where are the BHAGs that have come from the American government in the last fifty years? Was Kennedy’s Apollo the last American government BHAG? Has the US government done anything but kill people and destroy property since 1969?
Those are the questions for today.
Have a great day – remember and honor the Apollo successes, and think about your own good (BHAG) thoughts for tomorrow.