23 January 2013

Sick day yesterday.

“Industrialization is out and artisanal is in. For millenials, industrialization is synonymous with all the negatives of capitalism. The most pronounced manifestation of the anti-industrial tendency is the organic food movement. Michael Pollan’s seminal The Omnivore’s Dilemma has taught many that the most ethical way to eat is to consume things that you have gathered yourself. Even industrialized organic farming is shunned!

It is clear that the way in which America does industrialized farming can be improved upon. At least two generations of Americans have grown up without knowing where there food comes from. Many urbanites become converts when they learn of the worst excesses of our food system. Convert is an interesting term, for many organic diehards come to the organic movement with a religious fervor. Our food system needs much reform, but the food movement seeks a reactionary move to farming methods of the past.

Back to the land movements have come in and out of vogue throughout American history. The pastoral tradition is as deep as any of our founding mythos. The problem with anti-industrialization is that it ignores the ways in which progress was made in our country. The things we cherish most like mass education, women’s equality, and racial equality are unimaginable without an industrial period.

Rejecting industrialization, therefore, is pure romantic folly. Questioning industrialization, however, is essential for progress. Bertrand Russell wrote an essay in praise of scientific management called “In Praise of Idleness”. He explains that an industrial economy can be run efficiently and in such a way that it allows workers the most possible free time.

This should be our rallying cry. We call for technocratic industrialization, not because industrialization is a means in itself, but because it can free us from the toil necessary for survival. Interestingly enough, the organic movement benefits from this freedom. Though very few in the organic movement produce enough food to actually sustain themselves, many are free to follow their passion for it because they are free from other constraints.”

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