The connection between Dixieland, Weighing the Earth, the First World War and Free Markets
Dixieland is the line separating Maryland and the South from the rest
of the USA, and the actual line was surveyed in the 1780 by two
English men, Mason and Dixon who plotted the contentious Mason Dixon
line – hence the name. (well its is one commonly accepted
They noted that there were systematic errors which they could not
explain – ie when they got back to the beginning as a check of the
survey line, it was always out but in the same direction instead of
being randomly distributed.
Lord Cavendish surmised it was due to the gravitational pull of the
Appalachian mountains. (Cavendish had financed various scientific
laboratories out of his own vast family wealth since the government
was too parsimonious.)
This lead him to measure the gravitational pull of a mountain in
Scotland by measuring the deflection of a highly accurate torsion
balance by the gravity pull of the mountain and hence to estimate the
weight of the Earth.
Cavendish went on to suggest – he was on various government committees
– that UK should invest heavily in Science and R & D. Germany and
France had similar commissions and they came to the same conclusions.
In UK the plans were shelved whereas the French and German governments
went ahead and as a results we lost our industrial leadership.
At the Battle of Jutland, it was shown that the German Battleships and
guns were much better than ours – ou ships kept blowing up and there’s
didn’t. (“There seems to be something wrong with our ships today” –
According the respected military historian and writer Correlli Barnet,
eg “The Admiral with the Blunted Sabre” (Jellicoe) the Brits tried to
strangle the German economic expansion using unfair tariffs etc due to
our hold over the British Empire. This naturally miffed the Germans
who were making much better stuff than us and quite naturally wanted
access to the huge markets we controlled – hence we had WW1 and WW2
(which was simply the second half of WW1).
Hence governments are much better than free markets in certain
infrastructural investment decisions.