"I've always thought that basalt is just stone, a volcanic stone," said Tony.
"Sure it is stone, Tony," said Steve. "But it's more than just stone. It's an extremely fine-grained stone and very dense, and hard. Its stronger and less brittle than glass, and its melting point is 500 degrees below the melting point of glass so that it can be reinforced with glass fibers when needed. It's also nicely fluid when melted. It can be extruded into fibers, even micro fibers, or any other shape you can imagine, such as wall panels or single unit roof modules. Basalt is the perfect stuff for automated fabrication, and it's better in quality than anything on the market is today. What makes basalt an even more ideal building material, is the fact that there is plenty of basalt right in our backyard in the USA. The Columbia River Basin contains 170,000 cubic-kilometers of this top grade building material. That's enough to cover the entire USA twelve meters deep. Nor would you need to dig into the ground to get to it. It's sitting on the surface. All you need to do is pick it up, melt it, purify it, and reshape it into whatever you want to make of it. The stuff is 100% useable. No waste results. The only input that you need is a bit of process heat. The stuff melts at 1,200 degrees Celsius. Glass melts as 1,700 degrees. We can easily get this kind of process heat from nuclear power. The leading edge High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor would be ideal for that. It's sometimes called the pebble bed reactor. It's the safest and cleanest nuclear reactor ever designed. It doesn't even require uranium. It burns thorium rather than uranium. In fact, Tony, the HTGCR is more than safe. It would increase security in the world. Its design can tolerate small amounts of weapons grade plutonium in its fuel mixture and burn it up. It would eventually cleanse the world of this poison. It also breeds its own fuel. It breeds almost as much as it consumes. We can mass-produce these thorium reactors in a modular design, Tony, and use them for almost any application. There is plenty of thorium in the world, far more than uranium. The HTGCR or the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor, would be ideal for our house-building project. Both reactor types provide 500-degree process heat with a high-energy flux density. We can use some of that heat to generate electrical power and run some of it through heat-pump concentrators to get the kind of heat that lets us melt basalt, steel, glass, and a lot of other things as well. That's how we would achieve the automated mass production for the new housing units that are urgently required as a first step to jump-start the world. The new housing units would be produced with the same efficiency with which we produce egg cartons today."
"Wow, I had no idea," said Tony in amazement. "I really thought that couldn't be done."
"And you are wrong about something else, Tony," said Steve. "I didn't say that we need to build tiny housing units that would meet the immediate needs of the homeless. I was thinking more in the order of producing the millions of new houses in the range of 2,000 square feet in floor area, and bigger. We don't just face a crisis in terms of homeless living, but also in slum-type living. Many of the places that people are forced to live in for the lack of anything else, aren't fit for human habitation, much less for human development. The housing scene is fast becoming a crime scene of horrendous crimes against humanity. We probably need to build tens of millions of new low-cost houses just to dig the nation out of the slum hole. With large-scale automated production, powered by nuclear power plants, that's easily accomplished. We can even make the needed furnitures in a similar fashion, including beds, possibly also clothing and shoes. I can see basalt micro-fibers becoming the textile of the future."
"Now you are dreaming," Tony interrupted me. "The needed plants and equipment to build millions of houses would cost tens of billions of dollars. There isn't a bank in the world that would lend you that kind of money, much less for a project to help the poor."
"Who needs to go begging to the banks to achieve what must be achieved," said Steve and laughed. "Congress would simply cancel the Federal Reserve System and replace it with a National Development Bank. By doing this, the nation would simply extend the needed financial credits to itself at interest rates equivalent to the administration cost. So, why do you say it won't work, Tony? It would work easily. As you said yourself, our nation is spending billions each year to built more killing machines, and beyond that, tens of billions more on covert operations around the world to destabilize other governments, wreck other nations, create terrorist armies, and so forth. God only knows how many billions we have spent on the Arc of Crisis policy all by itself, to destabilize the Soviet Union with Islamic fundamentalist terrorism that didn't exist until we created it. It cost us billions to do this and we are still suffering the consequences. In fact the consequences are getting worse. So, why shouldn't we shut this terror machine down and utilize the economic resources that we waste each year on destroying the world, to do something constructive for a change and uplift ourselves as a nation and humanity as a whole. So, Tony, don't say that we can't afford what needs to be done that society can live. If you are saying this, you are a hypocrite, perhaps not by intent, but in effect you are."
Tony shook his head and smiled. "Maybe I am a hypocrite. But by the same token you should judge yourself insane for suggesting that any of that will ever work," said Tony.
Steve just smiled back at him. "What I'm suggesting has already worked, and it has worked well until a bunch of traitors wrecked it. It could work again, and more efficiently this time. It is referred to in American history as the Hamiltonian Credit System."
Tony smiled again and didn't say anything in reply. Suddenly he laughed. "Your entire project is unworkable for another reason, Steve," said Tony. "It is unworkable for the simple reason that it is too late for that. What good would it be to build your $2,000 houses if you can't place them? It costs roughly $200,000 just to buy a building lot to put the house on."
"Who said anything about buying building lots, Tony?" said Steve and laughed again. "Why would one do that? Who needs to buy building lots? Didn't you hear what I said? I am talking about building brand new cities, hundreds of them for a start, spread across the vast empty spaces of New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and so forth. I am talking about small community oriented cities surrounded by new industries, all interconnected by high-speed trains. The building lots for the houses would be free. The only cost incurred would be for installing the services, such as roads, water, sewage, electricity, telephone, electronics, and provisions for future services. Of course the required services would be laid in an industrial type fashion at very low cost. The entire finished house wouldn't cost more than $3,000 each for the actual physical construction, transportation, and installation. The big costs would all be located in the national infrastructure upgrading, in system designs, process engineering, and water and power systems. It would cost us a few billion before the first house was built, but once the new economy is up and running it would rapidly transform the country and inspire the world to duplicate the new renaissance."
"How could you even hope to inspire Congress to accept a program that would uplift the world?" Tony interjected. "The War-Party that has infested our Congress, the Senate, and the country, has no interest in any program that uplifts the world at large. They are committed to programs that grind other nations down, to make them dysfunctional, to break them up, to enhance poverty and impotence, and so forth, as a means for maintaining America's dominance. The people committed to this policy won't let you get past the front gate."
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