Enabling the Inevitable
money gains its value by the resulting physical production
When there is no physical output, money looses its value
the economy then becomes inflationary
Is the NAWAPA project justifiable under the principle of basic economics?
The project requires enormous investments in manpower and materials with nothing coming out of it for fifty years. Not a drop of water will arrive at the southern deserts until the project is completed from source to destination along the entire 2,000 mile path. On the basic platform of economics, such a process is hyperinflationary since it doesn't produce anything in tangible benefits for fifty years that would count as value against the credit. Such an effort could be carried indefinitely is amounted to just a small fraction of the national economy. This is not the case. NAWAPA is intended to be economic driver for the economy.
Of course it can be argued that the USA became the richest economy in the world in the shadow of World War II, that produced nothing either in tangible benefits. However, this was a short term effort, and the stakes were high - the existence of civilization was at stake, and there were no alternatives in sight but to fight for it. This is not the case with the northern NAWAPA objective, for which far more efficient alternatives exist. The nation made great sacrifices during the war mobilization to protect civilization itself. The NAWAPA objective, to increase the agricultural area of the USA by 5.6%, and to some degree in Mexico too, is hardly comparable.
It has also been argued in defense of NAWAPA that NASA's moon landing project had not produced any direct tangible benefits at all, while it had provided greater benefits for society than any other major project has produced in the past. Its return on investment is said to have been 14-fold in terms of the development of advanced technologies, processes, and materials that stand to NASA's credit, that wrought benefits for the nation all across the board, affecting almost all types of industries.
This argument cannot be applied to NAWAPA for the simple reason that the entire NAWAPA plan and concept is centered on old technologies, such as drilling tunnels through mountains, and pouring concrete for dams. Naturally, if an advanced technology platform was applied to the NAWAPA objective, and the technology was further developed by the project, such as the basalt technology and the high-temperature nuclear power technology to drive it, then the entire dynamics of the NAWAPA project could change along the line of NASA's example. In this case it would become reorient from a northern-focused project to a southern focused project. In this case, the technology that would apply here, which would enable the long distance water-in-water conveyance technology that enables the outflow of rivers to be redirected to any place desired with the use of thin-walled arteries placed into the oceans, would create a new industrials revolution, and revolutionize farming too. The arteries would be made of basalt, produced in automated high-temperature, nuclear powered industrial processes. If this option was chosen, NAWAPA would become the technological driver for a new industrial revolution based on the melting and reforming of basalt for the production of almost anything, not just the arteries for water conveyance in submerged pipelines within the oceans. NAWAPA would then also become the technological driver for the development and the mass production of efficient high-temperature nuclear reactors, such as the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor, and so forth. These two technologies would benefit society far beyond anything yet imaginable, such as with the automated production of houses at a cost so low that society would give them away to each other for free as an investment into itself.
On this technology-enabled platform, NAWAPA would become economically justified even if it never transferred a drop of water. Of course it would do this too, and with greater abundance and greater efficiency. In this case it would no longer reach up to Alaska for its little rivers that flow unused into the sea. It would simply, as a first step, redirect the outflow of some of the much more accessible rivers that likewise flow unused into the sea and with far greater volume, such as utilizing the water of the Columbia River, and possibly also the Fraser River, which offer several times the water volume than the NAWAPA project aims to provide for the southern try regions. Later, waters from the Orinoco River in Venezuela could be added to the inflow, if there ever was a need for it. An added benefit from developing the needed efficient new processes and technologies that would enable this option, would be that the project's objective becomes completed in 5 years instead of 50 years, and that the process becomes expandable without limits to meet future needs. On this basis NAWAPA could become the economic driver of the century, instead of a drain on resources for decades to come.
Published by Cygni Communications Ltd. North Vancouver, BC, Canada - (C) - public domain - Rolf A. F. Witzsche