[ExI] Respirators and ventilators

Dan TheBookMan danust2012 at gmail.com
Tue Mar 17 15:20:52 UTC 2020

On Mar 17, 2020, at 4:22 AM, John Clark via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> On Mon, Mar 16, 2020 at 7:21 PM spike jones via extropy-chat <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> > On Behalf Of John Clark via extropy-chat
>> >…How about a emergency order by the federal government to ventilator manufacturers to buy a half a million ventilators to supplement the 62,000 that already exist … John K Clark
>> > Every manufacturing facility for ventilators on the planet is already going at capacity
> Then get more manufacturing facilities. If during WWII Ford was flexible enough to switch from making cars to making B-24 bombers in a matter of months

The B-24 was made by Consolidated, an aircraft company founded in the early 1920s. It was based on designs from before the US entered the war. Also, there was a lead time before US entry into the war where US manufacturers of war stuff were supplying the UK and France from the start of the European (via the cash and carry policy and then the Lend-Lease follow up). So this wasn’t Consolidated going from making, say, single engine crop dusters to making long range bombers in months. Instead, it had over a decade of experience making military aircraft. (Granted, WW2 really ramped up aircraft innovation.) 

> and GM change to making Sherman Tanks

The Sherman tank was likewise designed and prototypes before US entry into the war. GM did make it, but Ford did, along with many other companies. And I don’t mean Ford took parts from other companies. Instead, other companies built the tank along with Ford. Again, too, this was stimulated by the UK demand for war stuff before the US declared war. So, it wasn’t like the US declared war and then asked these companies to throw together some tanks.

> then air conditioner manufacturers could switch over to making ventilators on a scale never seen on this planet before.  Of course during WWII the US had a competent administration that knew the difference between its ass and a hole and the ground to coordinate the entire thing, so I guess it's out of the question today.

The analogy kind of breaks down here. Much waste and idiocy happened during WW2 particularly because of federal oversight. (Look at the history of US torpedos as an example.) The big differences between now and then are that there 1) workers could be easily shifted over to manufacturing because of chronic unemployment then (unlike now) and 2) European demand for war stuff had been stimulating demand for two years before the war. (On the latter point, the late 1930s even before Germany invaded Poland was already stimulating this demand for other wars like the Spanish Civil War and the Second Sino-Japanese War. By comparison, the virus scare now kind of came out of nowhere... okay, not really. The Ebola scare and SARS should’ve signaled something, but this wasn’t like the UK buying up bombers in 1940.)


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