The Iron Man in Industry: An Outline of the Social Significances of Automatic Machinery

The Iron Man in Industry: An Outline of the Social Significances of Automatic Machinery

Read FREE!

The Iron Man in Industry: An Outline of the Social Significances of Automatic Machinery

The Iron Man in Industry: An Outline of the Social Significances of Automatic Machinery

Read FREE!

Excerpt

In the pastoral age, affirms the poet Tagore, man explored space, and exploited it through the media of his nibbling beasts. Through agriculture he explored time, laboriously binding the seasons to his purposes. There Eastern civilization remains to-day, having added, of its own free will, only the handicrafts, though slave power permitted such enormous extension of hand-processes that many of its public works remain notable for size as well as detail. But the Western peoples, more ambitious and less contemplative, crept out of agriculture and the handicrafts by harnessing natural forces, and building machines that multiplied man-power. They wedded science to toil, and system to acquisitiveness. They educated other peoples, as well as themselves, in wants; organized international exchanges of goods and services; policed the high seas; and swept on to the political hegemony of the planet.

As the beast was the essential of pastoral life, and the tool the essential of agricultural life, so the machine is the essential of the industrial civilization in which we dwell. We tend our flocks of machines as zealously as Abraham's servants tended his herds, and for the same reason -- because they are the means of existence. We ply our reapers to the same end that Cain plied his sickle. Our cranes, lathes, and steam-

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