March 2013, by Alberto Veronese
An analogy can be a powerful thinking tool to help identify patterns in man-made systems. Without losing sight of the differences there are similarities between economics and *aerodynamics;
Human labor, consumption, money and resources are of vital importance in a economic system.
The important part of a plane are: the engine and propeller, wings, ailerons, elevator, rudder and a landing chassis – without these elements you could not successfully build a manned, powered, sustained and controlled heavier-than-air flying object.
The first U.S. patent of the Wright brothers, 821,393, did not claim invention of a flying machine, but rather, the invention of a system of aerodynamic control that manipulated a flying machine’s surfaces.
It is Eiffel that established that the lift produced by an airfoil was the result of a reduction of air pressure above the wing rather than an increase of pressure acting on the under surface.
So lift is generated only up to a point until the smooth airflow over the wing is broken up; when this happens, the sudden loss of lift will result in the airplane entering into a stall, where the weight of the airplane cannot be supported any longer.
Essentially there are 4 aerodynamic forces that act on an airplane in flight; these are thrust, drag, lift, and weight. In simple terms, 1) thrust is the power of the airplane’s engine, 2) drag is the resistance of air, 3) lift is the upward force and 4) weight, is the downward force (gravity).
For airplanes to fly, the thrust must be greater than the drag and the lift must be greater than the gravity.
This is valid also for Achieving a Healthy Economic Stability; the human labor (thrust) must be greater than the consumption (drag), and the money supply (lift) must be greater than the expenditure (gravity).
It took thousands of years for humans, to figure that out: When there is no “flow”, there is no “lift” and the aerodynamic forces acting on the “wings” are zero.
With each technological advance more and more goods and services are produced by fewer and fewer people. Managing that transition is going to be the greatest challenge that our society faces.
* Aerodynamics, from Greek ἀήρ aer (air) + δυναμική itself from δύναμις dynamis (miraculous power) (Source Wikipedia)
Money Makes You Fly
Georg Friedrich Knapp
John Maynard Keynes
Abba P. Lerner
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