the 1930’s recovery plans, in which the government went out and hired large numbers of the unemployed, and put them to work. On projects that were worthwhile investments in many cases - many of the the WPA projects around the country are still in use today and are an amazing legacy of that era. Employing 8.5 million people, the WPA built, inter alia:
- 800 airports, including for example New York’s LaGuardia.
- 78,000 bridges
- 125,000 buildings
- 650,000 miles of roadways
- Countless parks, golf courses and works of art.
Could something like this be done today? This is a really interesting exercise in community empowerment and mobilization on a grand scale.
What does the community (aka the US) want and need? What resources are available? Who is capable of leading and mobilizing the community to work towards these shared goals?
Think about it...
- shovel-ready projects
- planning, prioritization, risk management, funding, spending oversight
- skills, equipment and materials needed for projects (in 2009 more specialization in skills and equipment, fewer skilled workers, less transferable skills, processed materials)
- skills available (in 1930s, most workers could operate hand tools)
- knowledge sharing, collaboration (2009 internet provides huge advantage)
- training, development - essential to success
- logistics - food, housing, transportation (? opportunity to use oversupply of housing and commercial building)
- willing workers (in the 1930s many people would rather go hungry than accept welfare or hand-outs - they were willing to work for food.)