In 1936, M. King Hubbert, the prophet of "Peak Oil" (Hubbert's Peak) and at that time a leader in the Technocracy organization, wrote a pamphlet on Man-Hours and Distribution.
The period since 1929 has been one of the most unique and one of the most disturbing in the history of North America. The events that have occurred since the stock market crash of that year have provoked more competent social thinking on the part of the American people, and have demolished more fixed tenets of our American social and economic faith than those of any preceding half century.
Up until the year 1929 the American public had been brought up in the belief that any child with ambition and a willingness to work would automatically be rewarded with material gain in direct proportion to the effort and ingenuity displayed; that any office boy might become the president of his corporation in due time provided he displayed the proper virtues of industriousness, honesty, respectfulness and thrift; that every boy had an equal chance of becoming President some day; that the pathway to success was to be found in part through proper education, and that educational facilities were equally available to all; that work could be had by all who were willing; and, conversely, that unemployment and lack of material success were themselves indicative of the lack of those cardinal virtues of industriousness, thrift, honesty, and the like.
In 1929 and the years that have followed, these tenets of our American folk-lore have been rudely shattered, for during that time one-quarter to one-third of all those willing and able to work have found it impossible to obtain employment and have consequently been forced to depend upon their relatives and friends for support, or else upon public governmental relief. During those years as many as one-quarter of the entire population have been dependent upon the funds of the federal government for food and clothing. Even the most independent and rugged of our remaining individualists, the American farmer, has found it increasingly necessary to rely upon the funds of the federal government. Corporate business has likewise had to be bolstered up.