Thursday, 13 September 2007

In praise of industry and human production ...

Any historians in the audience? Without Googling to find out, have you any idea who wrote this remarkable piece of prose? I assure you, the answer will be both surprising and enlightening -- and will be posted here at lunchtime if no-one has it by then. [Words have been changed only slightly in order to deter would-be queue jumpers, and because I can.]
Across the span of scarce one hundred years, entrepreneurs and industrialists have created more massive and more colossal productive forces than have all preceding generations together. Subjection of Nature's forces to man, machinery, application of chemistry to industry and agriculture, steam navigation, railways, electric telegraphs, clearing of whole continents or cultivation, canalisation or rivers, whole populations conjured out of the ground - what earlier century had even an inkling that such productive forces slumbered in the lap of human endeavour?
It makes one almost proud to be a bourgeois, doesn't it.

These words were written in the mid-nineteenth century - its author achieved worldwide popularity in the twentieth. How rare to hear such a hymn to human industry in the twenty-first.

7 comments:

  1. I'll take a stab and say Marx (based solely on the dates).

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  2. Was it Andrew Carnegie?

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  3. Yep and this is what he said about the state:

    "This executive power, with its enormous bureaucratic and military organization, with its ingenious state machinery, embracing wide strata, with a host of officials numbering half a million, beside an army of another half million, this appalling parasitic body. . . enmeshes the body of French society like a net and chokes all its pores."

    Sounds almost libertarian, doesn't it.

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  4. See, Marx wasn't all bad...

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  5. Not too suprising. I bear very little resentment towards the the very first supporters of Marx. We must remember that in Marx's time, Capitalism and Aristocracy were virtualy identical. It would have been extreamly easy to see Buisinessmen and Politicians as one and the same (especialy when socialism had never been tested). All socialists following the soviet union, however, are idiots.

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  6. Karl Marx in the Communist Manifesto.

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