The Blight of Being Superb;
This country, this world, this race of thinking creatures is going to be the death of us yet.
We keep inventing ways to do things faster and easier, and then we clap our hands and cheer about it. Isn’t progress wonderful? Once it took 20 men to offload that freighter out there. Now with front-end loaders it takes 4 workers and half the time. Isn’t that good!
Well yes and no.
In the whole panoply of things it goes unnoticed, at first, that there are 16 less workers out on the docks today because we have become more efficient. And we can’t stop being more efficient because that is the way to make more money. And as we have often heard, money makes the world go round. The person running the business sees that he’s getting the same amount of work done and perhaps even more and certainly faster.
Those extra men obviated by the front-end loaders are down at the corner bar wasting their pay drinking beer. Work must be found for them or they must be laid off. And if there is another dock starting up just 80 yards away everything is going to work out fine. Except if there is not another dock starting up, because then the workers will have to be fired. Families will have to adjust downward and scramble for jobs that might be available.
That’s just economic good sense. We can hardly expect the fat and rich owner to keep paying everybody. He’s made a coup with those front-end loaders. If he didn’t gain in income and stature from it he would be a fool. It’s not his job to nurture and care for society.
This is a rough and overly simple example of what’s going on everywhere, and in ten thousand different but parallel circumstances.
We, society, cannot allow this to smother and kill civilization, for in the end this is exactly what progress does. We need an antidote.
Think of anything, a robot cook, and we will invent and manufacture it. Why ever eat out?
–Cornhusk ( Lee Smith )