Monday, 22 August 2022

*Who* deserves better of mankind, and does more essential service to his country, than do the whole race of politicians?

"Whoever could make two ears of corn, or two blades of grass, to grow upon a spot of ground, where only one grew before, would deserve better of mankind, and do more essential service to his country, than do the whole race of politicians."
          ~ Jonathan Swift, from his Gulliver's Travels
Hat tip Johan Norberg, who points out, in his new(ish) book Progress, Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future, that "a hundred and fifty years ago it took twenty-five men all day to harvest and thresh a ton of grain. With a modern combine harvester, a single person can do it in six minutes." I wonder how many of you ever pause to give thanks to Hiram Moore, Alfredo Rotania, Hugh Victor Mackay, George Stockton Berry, and the Baldwin Brothers.

1 comment:

workingman said...

The Ferguson tractor is another machine that revolutionised agriculture. The Ferguson tractor was introduced in the UK in 1947 and by the time I started working on a farm over there in the early 70s (as a young boy and I'm sure that would be banned now) the tractor was ubquitous and no sign of farm horses just 25 years later.

This interesting documentary on the original Ferguson TE20 is very revealing.

At 3:40 the farmers talks about using horses and that just feeding the horses took up a quarter of his land. So only 3/4 of the land actually produced food that could be sold.

At 10:20 a farmer talks about ploughing and that a field that took 4 days by horse took only 1 day with the tractor.

The increases in productivity were unbelievable.