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December 08, 2013


Peter G

It begs a question. How and what does one conserve in a mutable universe. We are moving rapidly into what some call a post industrial society but I think would be more accurately characterized as an advanced industrial society. Fewer and fewer people are required to produce goods and the cycle of production has become fragmented. Design and engineering are seldom collocated with production and even that process has become much much more efficient. In my life I have watched factories triple production while cutting workforce. I now see a lead machinist programming CNC machines loaded by unskilled labor. I no longer see engineering offices filled with draftsmen.

This is not the first time this has happened. The automation of agriculture allowed very few people to produce enormous quantities of food. And we are not done. The whole retail sector is now being changed as online trade steadily erodes the need for bricks and mortar establishments. Amazon pushes continuously to shorten delivery times while UPS touts their ability to satisfy consumers and their ability to return unsatisfactory goods painlessly. It is of a piece.

The problem is obvious. What will all these now redundant people do to earn their living. What passes for conservatitism these days says do nothing. There is nothing inherently conservative about this at all. There is no ideological underpinning to this position at all.

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