Remember to ask me about Bucky Fuller's proposal to drop tractors on North Viet Nam ...

Sent: April 17, 2002 5:15 AM

And nearly two years later she did remember and so she asked:

"Hi, I was wondering if you knew where I could find the Buckminster Fuller paper about Tractors and Vietnam. I mentioned it to my economics professor and I'd like to show it to the class. not that the other four people in the class will care, but I'm interested to see what the professor thinks of it. "

I replied:

I have spent quite a bit of time looking for it and have yet to turn it up on the web. So I will write it up for you in more detail, if I have not sent it to you already.

Sometime in the late '60's Buckminster Fuller proposed that dropping tractors out of B-52 bombers made more sense than dropping bombs. The tractors and the bombs carried exactly the same sticker-price. So, for approximately the same price as our ineffective carpet-bombing campaign, 100% of the US military's stated objectives would be achieved (except for the enrichment of the defense contractors engaged in bomb-making). But plenty of village infrastructure would be destroyed (by tractors falling through the roofs), approximately the same number of civilians would be crushed, and nearly all the other requisites for collateral damage would be satisfied, AND, in contradistinction to the aftermath of the carpet-bombing then occurring, the communities would be ENRICHED and be prepared to rebuild the infrastructure and transform their economy.

In effect, we would instantly create a capitalistic, entrepreneurial economy, based on a distributed industry of cannibalizing broken tractors (each would break in a different way, depending on how it landed) and thousands of people would find work remanufacturing them into working machines. Which would be used to replace human labor and seed the mechanized westernized post-agrarian economy based inevitably on on petroleum development is the South China Sea.

So, that is the PowerPoint of it. And you can expand the detail in any area you need to to make it debatable.

But it has evolved in my head - taken root and blossomed into something else.

What I would propose discussing, and what I may already have sent or said to you, is that the ultimate way to deal with both unexploded land mines and the problem of distributing humanitarian aid, is to drop sacks of unprocessed grains - wheat, rice and beans, on the minefields.

Those mines that are set off by the sacks of food would have killed people. those that do not explode from impact alone may still have magnetic triggers that might respond to buses, trucks, etc., so I presume that putting rolls of metal screens inside the bags might be necessary, but in any event the effect would be immediate.

In the areas that have mines, the grain that sets of the mines will be scattered widely, and thus will either sprout where it falls or be dispersed widely but still be concentrated enough to be collected as food by individuals. The screens can be used to separate the grain from the dirt. Even when the bags fail to hit mines, the bags will rupture if they are properly designed, scattering the grain, and making it unattractive to the pirates.

This is a critical link, dispelling concern that the humanitarian supplies will fall into the wrong hands, since the food will be too dispersed to interest the pirates, who basically are just people who so lazy that they would rather steal than work.

©(mostly) Joe Breskin 17 April - Dad's birthday - 2002