Why the United States is falling behind, again. — A YS special report

March 26, 2007

During the lead-up to the Second World War, the American scientific and military establishments were worried that German advances in rocket technology might seriously threaten an American counterattack, allowing the Germans to continue devastating Britain despite Allied advances. Although these fears were somewhat exaggerated, as the V-2 rocket was never implemented on the scale the Nazis had originally intended, the threat of the V-2 remained a significant psychological weapon, holding the British public in constant terror, even as the tide of the war turned in the Allies’ favor. Once the war was over, the American government immediately whisked away many of the German scientists involved in the rocketry programs (among others) to American soil in Operation Paperclip (in order to gain their expertise, and perhaps more importantly, to keep them from the Soviets).

Thus, it is with considerable dismay that I relate the following sad, sobering news.

After a thorough investigation (including a wikipedia search), it has become clear that Germany’s gummy technology far surpasses our own. While American waistlines may be growing at a geometric rate by comparison to rest of the world, it is clear that our varieties of Gummy/Gummi treats are downright pathetic by comparison to those of our Teutonic competitors (compare this versus this). The Germans boast a cornucopia of gummi possibilities, ranging from simple bears (the website for Haribo, the original company behind the gummi/gold bear, provides six PAGES of the history of the gummi bear alone) to gummi colas with an integrated pop-rocks subsystem. Furthermore, the Germans are producing gummi bears in vast quantities, such that the owner and operator of Haribo, Hans Riegel, ranks as #81 on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people, with a net worth of 1.3 billion dollars (by contrast, Haribo itself posted an estimated $1.75 billion in sales last year alone). And in an eerie parallel to the German rocket program at Peenemünde, some of Haribo’s pre-gummi success may have benefited from forced labor during wartime.

For those seeking to contest this sad state of affairs, insisting that the kinds of candy available on American shores throughout the Easter season alone might constitute a suitable bulwark against this well-oiled gummi-blitzkrieg, I offer the following pieces of advice: One, check the label of your Easter candy. Was it made by the Cadbury company? If so, you’re letting England take all the heat, which might be fine… if you’re a yellow-bellied America First-er. Two, reflect for a moment on just how well the Maginot line worked. And three, if you still don’t believe me, look to the following website, wherein the author subjected gummi bears and a number of different American candy products to a variety of stress tests (note: contains graphic images of violence against pieces of candy). The results are not pretty, and do not inspire confidence in America’s ability to bounce back from an army of T-1000-like gummi bears.

So don’t be satisfied with politicians’ complacent, Chamberlain-like ramblings about how America is still the world’s only superpower. It’s time to write your elected officials and demand a more realistic confection innovation policy. Because the cost of our shortsightedness today will be paid tomorrow in our children’s blood… as they waddle their fat little feet up the coast of Normandy, fighting for a sweeter tomorrow.

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