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"© Afta NAFTA"

Our Bountiful Continent Circa 2017

A Novel

For those who have wondered what it will be like in the North American Technate.


The tour begins: for the benefit of posterity, I , Edward Thorp, Director of the Foreign Relations Sequence, am relating, as nearly as my memory permits, the circumstances of a most momentous event in the history of man. In the fifth year of North America's Social Dynamic, an organized body of representatives of all nations of the world had requested, and had been granted, permission to tour and observe every production and service sequence of North America. It was thought appropriate by the Continental Board of Directors to open the inspection tour by having the Delegates sit in while the Board was in session.


The Director of the Continental Board of Directors, John Brooks (who was chosen by the Directors of all the sequences, for his insight and knowledge of the whole array of sequences, and for his natural enthusiasm and leadership), opened the meeting by rising to his feet to extend a hearty welcome to the visitors. After he was seated he said, "Edward Thorp, inasmuch as you are the Director of Foreign Relations, I am delegating you to see to it that our distinguished visitors are made comfortable and are given the opportunity to acquaint themselves with every sequence, regardless of what area of the North American Continent they choose to visit."

The Director's next comment was: "Inasmuch as all the sequences seem to be running smoothly and the people of this continent are happy with their lifestyle of abundance and leisure time for recreation-yes, and many more things are too numerous to enumerate-we of North America pause and count our blessings. "That being the condition in which we find ourselves seems that the two most urgent things on the agenda are implementing our continental hydrology and setting up adult recreational facilities. It seems at this period that those sequences almost overlap." "I think," John Brooks said, "we should first hear Ronald Jenkins, Director of Hydroelectric Power and 1, Waterway Sequence."

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When Ronald Jenkins arose to give a report, one sensed by the expression of everyone there that he was a revered man and a key figure in the glory of our new social dynamic not only was Jenkins tall and handsome, but his manner of speaking showed that he was knowledgeable and modest. without sounding boastful, Jenkins said, "If all goes well, within the next two years our continental hydrology will be complete, for all practical purposes. And in the foreseeable future, we on this continent will never be short of power, and fresh water can be diverted to any area on the continent where it is needed even to desert areas. Therefore, it is most probable that within a few years we will register advantageous climatic change on this Continent. "I would like at this point," he said, "to compliment, the men and women of the Recreational Sequence on their choice of locations and on the kinds of facilities they have completed while operating under adverse conditions."

Next to report was Mrs. Sarah Roberts, Director of the Recreational Sequence. Mrs. Roberts's opening comment was "Ronald, I sometimes have a bad conscience, caused by our nipping at your heels, when it is obvious that you are achieving the almost impossible. I want you to understand that the pressure is on us also, what with service hours diminishing and people attempting to find recreational outlets during their leisure time. Not to mention the Educational Sequence asking for facilities to accommodate the school classes on the inland-waterway tours. "I will have you know that we are putting the pressure on the Transportation Sequence for more pleasure craft to ply the water of the canals. We are putting pressure on the Housing Sequence for facilities along the waterway, plus theaters for the drama students. I don't like to seem pushy, but the enthusiasm of everyone I talk to is catching, to say the least."

When the Director of the Educational Sequence, Miss Thelma Brown, was asked to give a report, she arose with a radiant glow on her face, indicative of one so anxious to give an account of success that she appeared to burst at the seams. Her opening remark was: "We are, for the first time in the history of man, creating in the student an enthusiasm that is unbelievable. We are adopting a method whereby a young teacher starts with a class of young children and they stay together until it is time for each student to specialize in a sequence. The teacher and the student stay together and study together, thereby forming a close-knit organization. As part of their education they travel over the whole continent and visit every sequence. As a result, when it is time to specialize they know from observation into what sequence they fit. "We encourage the parent to accompany the student group, affording an education for the parent as well as the student and teacher. We think that, by this method, it will be a rare event to observe an adult who is a misfit in society. "We in this sequence don't wish to leave the impression that educating the youth is the only activity of importance in our new America. We do, however, think that all activity should revolve around education, because, in the final analysis, everything revolves around the young, if we are to maintain a desirable civilization on this continent. I will conclude by saying that when we become of retirement age we can, in retrospect, think with pride on a service well rendered."

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Next to report was Richard Mills, of the Transportation Sequence. He spoke very slowly and was precise in his choice of terms, I assume to impress the other Directors with the dire responsibility of heading such a complex sequence as transportation. He said: "We in this sequence are concerned, not only with transporting people and materials, but with conserving energy. We are relying heavily on Continental Research to discover ways to transport people and materials with the least amount of energy expended. At present we are using all types of energy to transport things on this continent, but we see in the near future a condition whereby we will be using recurrent energy, for the most part. When the continental hydrology is completed, most of our cross country heavy freight will be transported on the inland water ways, using mostly hydroelectric energy, thereby further conserving energy that is nonrecurring. "Lateral hauls will be made by rail and truck. We attempt when possible to haul in quantity, in order to eliminate duplication. As for transporting people, we are at present using all methods, including rapid trains on wide track (with low center-of-gravity, axle less cars), which can safely attain velocity of two hundred miles per hour and which are used mostly for cross-country hauling. While in populated areas use various means, including elevated trains, monorail, tramway. Bicycling has become so popular of late that we are developing bicycle lanes where needed. We still maintain automobile service, but it is amazing how rapidly that service diminishing. Some of our people still use the automobile and motorcycle as pleasure vehicles, but they are seldom used otherwise, except in the more rural areas. In the rural areas busses and trucks are more in use. "We are still using aircraft to some extent. Not only do we use them for transporting people, but for transporting perishable products, such as fruits and vegetables, from the more tropical to the more frigid areas. "People of the Agricultural Sequence inform me that, in a short while, there will be hothouses erected at every center of population and staffed by people who are adept at growing vegetables, thereby alleviating air transport to a great extent. "I am informed by the Continental Research people that progress with cross-country tube transportation, of both people and freight at extreme high velocity, is looking very favorable an shortly be in operation. That again will use for motive power, hydroelectric energy, thereby conserving our limited supply of fossil fuels.


 We of the Transportation Sequence are confronted, not only with transporting people and freight, but with transporting fuels and electricity. At present we are transporting fuels by, ship, barge, pipeline, and tank cars. We see in the near future that most fuels will be transported by pipeline with hydroelectric energy as the motive power. "We are installing hollow electric cable (immersed in oil inside a pipeline) that will transport electricity, which when stepped up to one million volts D.C. for a distance of three thousand miles with only a ten percent loss, can be tapped at any location and transformed to A.C. The unique thing about North America is that, for the most part, electricity travels south, while fruits and vegetables travel north. "As a closing remark, I want to say that this continent is blessed with a topography and precipitation to afford hydroelectric energy for a high-energy civilization for as far into the future as we can see. This continent has a north-south land area, with enough arable land to produce all the flora and fauna required. Yes, we are a fortunate people. So, along with sumptuous living let's keep conservation foremost in our minds. As Miss Thelma Brown so aptly stated, let's give lots of thought to posterity." -

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An interesting report was given by Louis Tognazinnil, Director of the Communication Sequence. He informed us that the postal service is on the decline. That people now communicate mostly by telephone with a view plate. Television is rapidly being re- placed by holography. There is a decline in the use of radio, except in transportation vehicles and marine craft. Newspapers are still read to some extent, but are gradually giving way to bulletins, which are published in leaflet form. The telegraph is still used for long distance, especially for communication between sequences. He said, "In closing, I want to compliment the Educational Sequence on .their use of television and holography. I would, however, like for the Educational Sequence to encourage the student to read books of all kinds, because their education will never be complete without the knowledge imparted by all authors, both past and present. Also, it hurts me to think that an art so beautiful as penmanship should ever be neglected, because it is a very personalized communication."

George Susa, of the Animal Husbandry Sequence, recommended that leather, after it had left the animal, be a separate sequence. He contended that the tanning of leather and the fabrication of leather goods require a special skill and are un- related to animal husbandry. He said, "The two functions should not overlap." The setting up of a Leather Sequence was sanctioned by the Continental Board, pending the recommendation of a Director for the new sequence.

George Boman, Director of the Chemical Sequence, recommended that plastics and their application be a separate sequence. Even though plastics are chemical compounds, the arranging of molecular and atomic structure and its application to useful forms are a special skill. His recommendation was granted pending the recommendation of a Sequence Director.

Kenneth Wolford, of the Distribution Sequence, informed us that the people in his sequence had discovered that it is a waste Of time and energy to make an energy charge for each food item consumed. It is more practical for each food distribution center to keep a record of food consumed in its center. It is impractical to make an energy charge for local transportation, because each transportation system is recording the energy converted in its function. His recommendation was granted.

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When Ray Segars, Director of the Textile Sequence, was requested to give a report, he rose from. his seat and stood for several seconds before speaking. His expression denoted humor. Finally, after putting his hand over his face to stifle a cough, he said, "Well, I have so much to say that I hardly know where to begin. However, I will say that people of middle age are so Pleased with their wearing apparel that they can hardly believe what they are experiencing (due, I assume, to their memory of fabrics of built-in short wear, for the sake of business profits). Even though we are still fabricating wearing apparel of good wool, long staple cotton, and of course some plastics, these are rapidly giving way to the oldest fabric known to man (which was, however, too serviceable for profit making in the framework of a price system economy). "The material I am speaking of is ramie. It is of long fiber and has sheer as well as tensile strength. Its amazing characteristic is its fineness of fiber, which can be woven almost to resemble silk. It is difficult to create a run, when woven into ladies' hose, and it seems never to wear out. By the same token it can be woven to resemble burlap, and is rapidly replacing burlap for packaging. Its growth is prolific in tropical or semitropical climates, and its leaves are being used for livestock food. Not only does it launder well, but it holds a press well when used as wearing apparel and can readily be reclaimed for a number of uses. "Yes, some of our people still have a hangover from the price system era, resulting in a desire to discard wearing apparel quite often, which was referred to during the price system era as style change. "Inasmuch as the function of the new social order is to please and keep people happy, we still produce the type of wearing apparel that is not so durable. As long as people wear that type of material it will be produced, but the desire is rapidly giving way to the more durable fabrics."

When Dr. Henry Swan, of the Public Health Sequence, was asked to give a report, his expression was, for a fleeting moment, very somber. Suddenly the shadow left and with a broad smile he said, "Well, I am older than most of you, and I had the experience of practicing medicine during the price system era. In that era M.D.s were well enough trained in their profession, but they were forced by the price system to think of their patients as a means of livelihood. Some, of course, were very conscientious, and some were not so conscientious, depending of course, on the altruism of the individual. To think of some of the things that happened and the attitude of some of my colleagues still causes my blood to boil. In the society of North America's Social Dynamic the emphasis is on prevention rather than cure. However, cure is still important. The greatest boon to public health is the compulsory physical examination at semiannual intervals. By this method, we have practically eliminated venereal disease as well as many more contagious ailments. "When the reward of monetary gain is eliminated," Dr. Swan said, "it is in the medical doctor's interest to keep people healthy, unless, of course, he chooses to be on duty for twenty-four hours of the day. "It is certainly a pleasure to a doctor of my age to have such wonderful hospitals and hospital equipment, and to observe so many healthy and happy people. Many of the patients need only to have a doctor recommend a different diet or less food intake to keep them physically fit. "We at this time save so many lives by means of ambulance service, which carries a doctor and nurse to the scene of an emergency. "I am safe in saying that no one is as appreciative of new social order as are the people of my profession."

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I don't think I have ever known a person so happy in achievement of his social function as was John Acres, Director of the Agricultural Sequence. He just naturally speaks rapidly but, in giving his report at this particular meeting, he got so carried away that one word seemed just to stumble over the other, and one had to listen intently if one wished to hear all that he had to say. In giving his report he very rapidly said, "' we have done it again. We have produced grains that are blight resistant. They will grow and ripen in colder climates. We produced some fruit whose blossoms will withstand much lower temperatures without being killed. We have developed a perennial grass that is superior to wild grass in nutrient value, thereby causing it to be possible for the Animal Husbandry Sequence to produce more meat and dairy products. In the Great Plains area of this continent we have improved the soil by planting various legumes following grain harvests and then plowing them under in the late fall. By means of outdoor and hothouse farming, there will be an ample supply of vegetables of one's choice. "If need be we can double the production of food textile plants. "In most areas of the continent we are growing plants, that produce nectar, from which bees gather honey. "We have developed something that can be classified as small urban centers where agricultural families live close 'to their sequence function. "We will, when the continental hydrology is completed, and surplus water is available, plant forests in various desert areas. However, it has been agreed to leave some desert areas as nature and adverse climatic conditions formed them, for playgrounds. "I think you will be pleased to know that it is extremely unlikely that we will ever be short of food or fiber in the foreseeable future."

Don Levy, of the Reclamation Sequence, gave a report concerning the use of things that heretofore had not, to any great extent, been made use of. He said: "I want to tell all of you, here and now, that you and every human being on the North American continent, are, by virtue of citizenship, a member of the Reclamation Sequence. I can't be emphatic enough when I say to you that we are living in a finite world. So many things we have been using wastefully are nonrecurring, such as fossil fuels, minerals, and metals. In most instances they have been removed from areas where they were in concentration and consumed by way of burning, or by oxidation, or just scattered over the earth to the extent that they are not reclaimable. "We have for several years been developing and setting up facilities to convert recurrent materials to fuel for various purposes, and are now using them extensively. "As of now we are utilizing all human waste for its energy. "We are setting up facilities at feed lots to convert animal waste into methane gas. And all across the Corn Belt we are extracting furfural from corncobs, which, like methane, are ideal fuels for internal combustion engines. We no longer have to rely on fossil fuels to run engines or generate electricity. Our aim is to save most fossil fuels for posterity. "My most difficult task has been that of persuading people to save everything of metallic substance. Some people think that small amounts of metal are of no concern, not realizing, of course that over a period of time the amount can actually become pounds, and, multiplied by the whole population, it becomes tons. "I find the children and young folks are more conservation minded than the older ones, which is due, of course, to them having lived in an era when waste was the order of the day and a way to make profit. So, attempt to persuade everyone save metallic substance, no matter how small the amount."

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The Directors of the other production and service sequences which are rather to numerous to enumerate, stated that they could supply the various products and services where and when needed,

Having sat through so many board meetings, I could sense that for the most part, the tenor of the reports given by the Sequence Directors leaned more toward orientation than usual. I think they were intentionally given that way, in deference to our distinguished visitors.

At the close of the meeting the Continental Director directed a comment to the visiting Delegates, by saying, "I hope that have imparted some insight concerning the simplicity of operating a society without the bunglesome burden of price, politics, business enterprise. "Ladies and gentlemen, we will do everything possible to cause your visit to be a pleasant one. I am certain that when you depart you will take with you a concept of social operation that is the most practical and the most humane of any social system that has ever been devised by man, and one that is completely compatible with technology." "Have a pleasant stay!"

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