Technology and Society: The Influence of Machines in the United States

By S. Mckee Rosen ; Laura Rosen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VI
SCIENCE IN THE PROFESSIONS

Growth of the Professions

Manufacture, transportation, communication, agriculture, and construction, all have come under the influence of mechanization. In fact, their technologic base is the distinctive aspect of their present status. Few other activities have been immune from similar effects. The various professions as they are known today are likewise largely dependent upon the evolution of scientific principles and mechanical techniques.

The rapid rise of the professions is a comparatively recent phenomenon of modern times. As late as the eighteenth century in England, the three great professions spoken of were those of "divinity, law, and physic." It was not until the middle of the nineteenth century that such fields as dentistry, engineering, and architecture began to achieve recognition. In the last fifty years advance has been particularly striking both from the point of view of newly created specialties and that of expanding personnel. 1

In the United States the trend of the last few decades is especially noteworthy. In 1870, 338,000 persons were gainfully employed in professional services; by 1930 this number had risen to 3,110,000. While in this period the number of all gainfully occupied persons in the country had quadrupled— from 12,164,000 to 48,163,000—those in the professions had increased tenfold.

The Newer Professions.The older professions have grown steadily in the main and in some cases with striking rapidity. The newer fields, on the other hand, which are linked with

____________________
1
Carr-Saunders, A. M., Professions: Their Organization and Place in Society, Oxford University Press, London, 1928, p. 4.

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