JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
Here's another Massive Mosaic display (following up on a Massive 500-Daguerretotype display, here), this one utilizing (linked!) thumbnails from he Library of Congress WPA Poster Collection, located here.
The WPA was the Works Progress Administration, the largest of the New Deal agencies, and it was designed to give paid jobs to the millions of people who were out of work during the Great Depression. From 1935-1943 the WPA put some 8.5 million people to work in a vast social undertaking, distributing food and clothing, building houses, roads, bridges, parks and making enormous construction improvements to the national infrastructure. There was also an arts art to the project which employed many thousnads of artists, actors and writers in producing dramas, histories, guidebooks and other sorts of artistic projects, including the artwork for the posters advertising other WPA projects.
"During its 8-year history, the WPA built 651,087 miles of highways, roads, and streets; and constructed, repaired, or improved 124,031 bridges, 125,110 public buildings, 8,192 parks, and 853 airport landing fields."--Indiana University'Lily Library, here.
During its lifetime the WPA spent about $12 billion, which worked out to be something like 4-6% of the GDP, annually. To put this in some perspective, that would be like taking the entire amount of money spent on the war on terror over the past 11 years and investing it all in caring for the poor and fixing bridges and building roads and so forth...I roundly reckon that figure to be about $8 trillion dollars that would have been spent on domestic issues rather than fighting wars This is about $80k/per capita, or $320k/family of four, which is somewhere around what the MacArthur folks receive--so basically the war money is the sly equivalent of a Genius Award granted to each and every family.
Historical GDP numbers, here, from