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The Theory of the Industrial Class, or When Creativity Becomes Important

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Elegant Technology

Chapter Four:

The Theory of the Industrial Class, or
When Creativity Becomes Important!

"The hand is the cutting edge of the mind." Jacob Bronowski 1

When Veblen wrote his book, The Theory of the Leisure Class, he assumed that his readers knew little about the values of the ruling class and used industrial values as a starting point. Today, because leisure class values dominate the mass media's features on politics, finance, militarism, travel, lifestyle, and manners, the problem is reversed. Because of this, any discussion of the producer class and its value systems seems almost foreign in a contemporary setting. Ignoring or misunderstanding the producer class, however, is a dangerous mistake.

Producers are producers because they create things. Any description of a good producer will eventually begin to sound like a description of an artist. If one subscribes to the notion that artists are simply creative people, then producers are artists even if they are called farmers, engineers, or factory workers.

The Producer as an Artist

For a group that has been around for thousands of years and has grown to wield such power, the producer class is not well understood. The reasons for this lack of understanding are many but two stand out: People who make things seem not to have the resources, interest, or inclination to write about what they do; and, those who have developed specialized skills have a strong economic incentive to keep those skills a secret.

In many respects, it does not matter if the producers reveal their secrets. Valid judgments about a producer can be drawn from what is produced. Knitting a sweater or building a skyscraper may not seem to have much in common but necessary attitudes concerning planning, attention to detail, initiative, and perseverance are very much the same. The difference between small projects and large projects is one of scale, not of process. The problems of scale merely change organizational requirements.

In any field of human endeavor, some folks are naturally gifted. Natural gifts are quite visible in athletics and music. The same is true for builders. What absolute pitch or a great voice is to a musician, what quickness is to an athlete, the ability to conceptualize in three dimensions is to a builder. This is merely one of many necessary traits of the producers. There are others.

North America is a particularly good place to examine producers. The United States was founded by revolutionaries who subscribed to producing class values. Even more importantly, the United States was a giant construction project--there was need for many builders. They came from all over the world and left their legacies.

Creativity and Producer Class History

Of all the distinguishing characteristics of society's producers, the ability to create is the most important. Real creativity is comparatively rare and widely misunderstood. In the twentieth century industrial states, creativity is most commonly, and wrongly, associated with the fine arts. At one time, artists were certainly members of the producing classes with leading edge skills. What is common to the art of Bach, Michelangelo, and DaVinci is that they were first accomplished craftsmen. Their creativity grew from the fact that their skills were so phenomenal that they were required to invent projects to showcase their abilities. DaVinci's "Last Supper" was a demonstration of the newly emerging understanding of perspective which, in turn, was an offshoot of the latest theoretical understandings of the workings of light.

What passes for fine art in the twentieth century is not a showcase for scientific understanding or leading edge skills but a glorification of the primitive. Great casting techniques are employed by the builders of the B-1 bomber, not in the statuary in public places. Attention to detail is seen in the fitting of the heat tiles on the space shuttle, not in the splatterings of Jackson Pollack. In the very real sense that twentieth century artists would rather theorize about art than actually create, art has become a leisure class activity.

Producer class creativity is downgraded because it is functional. If a Boeing 747 could not fly and was more poorly constructed, it could easily pass for a work of art entitled "Aluminum Bird," and be given a suitable place in a museum of modern art. 2

Producer creativity is different in another important respect; it is harder to ignore. An opinion of the music of Arnold Schoenburg is likely to be far less passionate than an opinion of the work of Robert Oppenheimer (the head of the Manhattan Project that produced the first atomic explosion.) When such a creative event takes place, the world is never quite the same again. All significant technological and social change is tied to the possibilities of producer creativity.

In this context, discoveries must be considered creative events. When Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev discovered the periodic table of elements--probably the single greatest accomplishment by one human in a lifetime--he was not creating something new. He was merely stating accurately what had always been true. It was up to his mind to formulate the right idea. This process of formulation is the creative act of discovery. This creative act of discovery is the essence of science.

Those who would learn science are taught the scientific method. These rules of verification are really the only part of science that can be taught. The scientific method is useful because it is important to have an agreed upon set of rules so that science can eventually discriminate between the truth-tellers and the charlatans, fakers, and those who are simply wrong.

The real science, the science that divides the great discoveries from the rest, is in the forming of the correct hypothesis. Until the correct hypothesis has been formed, all verification procedures and testing methods yield only the knowledge of what does not work. The ability to formulate the correct hypothesis--the essential, creative act of science--is not a subject that can be taught in school. It is not even an ability that can be described, even by those who possess it.

Ask a scientist how he or she came by an idea and you get a story. Albert Einstein claimed that he got his ideas about relativity while riding a streetcar. Another version has him dreaming of riding on a beam of light. Legend has it that Archimedes was taking a bath when the ideas about buoyancy came to him. The lightning strike of an idea that is immediately, apparently true, which appears in an instant and can stand the retesting of results for hundreds of years, is one of the unique happenings in the universe.

Scientific discovery, agro-industrial innovations, and inventiveness are the creative high water marks of the producers. These are the acts by which they make history. The invention of the printing press changed the world more than anything done by either Napoleon or Alexander the Great. Contained within the realms of producer creativity are most of the positive possibilities for the future. The predators can only promise one form of destruction or another. Such futures have always been available. Only the producers can create a future but such creativity has its dark side.

Producer creativity is haunted by its mortality. Creativity is a highly intoxicating addiction leading to hubris because creativity is considered Godlike in most cultures. Christians universally recite, "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth."

In this respect, the idea of God is most telling in the origins of Freemasonry. 3 The Old Testament Jewish God was modeled after a male, warlike, tribal chieftain. This role was further emphasized by the Christian leaders of Europe's Dark Ages who found the model useful to the exercise of divine rule. The Freemasons, in contrast, found "God the Creator" more relevant to their lives than "God the Warrior Father."

Renaissance cathedral building was a tricky, dangerous, highly-skilled enterprise that required several generations to execute. The need to maintain the necessary body of construction knowledge over time fostered new methods of instruction. Training a new master builder took years. Because there was so much life-and-death information to memorize, the masons chose to use near-religious ritualized learning methods. The ritual taught that each newly acquired skill brought the apprentice closer to the Great Builder. Today, most Masons have little to do with building but their secret apprenticeship rituals remain and they still pray to "God the Creator" rather than "God the Father."

It is possible such thinking would better suit the modern human producer-creator. Scientific and technological creators must understand that their work is never properly measured against that of their colleagues, but against the forces that created the biosphere. The people who gave the world nuclear power might better have asked themselves, "Do I really know enough about nature so that I should release the power of the sun on earth in order to boil water?"

Frankenstein's monsters come from a lack of humility in the creative process. Imitating "God the Creator" must be an exercise in restraint or the consequences are apocalyptic. If the producer-creators simply must play God, they need first understand that all creations decay and die. Mortality is the genius of the natural order. Everything in nature has an existing agent of decay.

Forgetting this, producers have made countless products with no natural form of decay. Human creativity is, by definition, a second-rate exercise until the apprentice creators understand that molecules are merely borrowed in nature, and that everything created outside the natural agents of decay must just as certainly be de-created some day.

Producer creativity is often very difficult to assess because producers have kept their creativity hidden behind veils of secrecy. Seemingly, producers are so enchanted with their creative powers that they are happy to let their work stand on its own merits. The need for fame, the driving force of predators, is strangely absent producers. The great cathedrals of Europe were built without anyone feeling the need to scratch one's initials somewhere. (The builders actually did leave their marks, but in subtle and unobvious ways.)

Needing fame themselves, predators, who must have other forms of attention because they cannot create, were more than willing to cooperate with the producers' unwillingness to take the limelight, and simply ignored them. The result is that when predators notice something new, the important creative work of the producer classes has been finished for a long time.

Producers sometimes find they cannot even communicate among themselves. When the lives of the producer giants of the past, such as Leonardo DaVinci, are examined, we see that their inner revelations of what was possible in the future became so real to them, that they found it impossible to understand their associates. DaVinci found that his mind was in a different century from the real world around him and withdrew into a life of almost total isolation.

Of course, there is a less esoteric reason for all this secrecy. The longer producers keep the predators out of the know, the longer they keep their wealth. The infatuation with high-tech enterprises stems from the fact that everyone knows, producers and predators alike, that all the big money is made when the enterprise is new. At one time, steelmaking, currently considered a declining industry, was the high-tech business. Since the predators can never build but only destroy, the game has always been to make the enterprise as successful as possible before the hunters show up and wreck things.

To get some idea of how far ahead the producers usually find themselves, a citation from Adam Smith should suffice. In his Wealth of Nations, Smith uses the example of the pin factory. He points out carefully how the work is organized into specialized tasks so that productivity goes up.

From the producer point of view, someone has already thought of this idea to break down the production of pins into individual tasks, he has convinced everyone from his backers to his workers that this is a workable scheme, he has reorganized the work-flow patterns according to his plans, and has made the idea work well enough so that it turned a profit.

After all the important decisions have been made and the pin factory is in operation, along comes Adam Smith, the prototype of the absent-minded professor. This representative of the ruling predator class drifts in out of his fog long enough to recognize a significant addition to the science of production and says, "now there's a good idea." By explaining this producer class invention to the ruling-predator class in terms they could understand, Adam Smith changed history.

By codifying one industrial paradigm, which while effective, is clearly limited in its application, Adam Smith gave the ruling predator class a good way of becoming very rich and staying very powerful. Unfortunately, this closed the door to alternate industrial schemes so that virtually all subsequent industrial development has been skewed by the set of principles that Adam Smith had to make simple enough for his employers to understand.

Unfortunately, this also means that industrial innovations, especially in organization, must face political and social as well as technological hurdles. Smith's pin factory is only a model for mass production--a fatal flaw in the twentieth century where very little of the necessary remaining production should be so organized.

Skills, Procedures, and Values
The Art of Technology

Of all the people who would study music, only a tiny handful ever become composers. Composition cannot be taught. Music theory can be taught. Most of the skills necessary to play a musical instrument can be taught, but to write music, a composer must hear a private sound in the ear of the mind. If the person who hears the sound in the mind can translate that sound into the agreed upon markings that constitute a musical score, then the rest of the world can hear the sound that once was only in the composer's mental ear. The ability to translate the sound in this ear into a musical score can be taught, but for there to be new music, there must be the sound. The sound is a gift.

The sound is not even dependent on actual hearing. Beethoven wrote his masterpiece Ninth Symphony while totally deaf. Since some slippage is inevitable between the sound of the mind and the sound of the orchestra and chorus, one can only imagine the incredible music that was in the head of the great Beethoven and take comfort from the fact that for him, the immortal Ninth was never tarnished by a missed downbeat or an E string gone flat.

Of course, it is not merely composers who must have gifts like the gift of the sound. An architect must have the gift of the eye. The architect who cannot look at a vacant lot and visualize a building, cannot design. The architect may draw beautifully, or make fine models, or take great photographs. Even with top grades in school, the architect who cannot look at a blank piece of paper and see the squiggles that will communicate the building in the mind's eye to those who must build it, will be, at best, only an illustrator.

Those who initiate the technology that becomes a part of the everyday lives of the members of the industrial states, must have the same sort of eye a creative architect has. The United States Patent Office recognizes the creative function of technology by referring to patents that have been registered in the past as "prior art." Before there was a drawing or a working model, there was a picture in the mind of the inventor.

The notion of the inventor as an artist is an extremely difficult one for the twentieth century mind to accept. Art and technology have become separate subjects. Of course, the distinction between art and technology is not only arbitrary and artificial, but a recent historic development. The same eye that makes a good artist can be used to make a good architect or inventor. Leonardo DaVinci was clearly all three. European industrial designers do a superb job of blurring the lines dividing artist, engineer, and inventor.

Art and technology share an important similarity. In order for either to be great, they must be seamlessly whole. One brush stroke could ruin the Mona Lisa. One wire astray can halt a $40,000 automobile. This similarity points out the greatest difference between the Mona Lisa and a Lexus. The perfection that is the Mona Lisa began and ended within the person of Leonardo DaVinci. The perfection that is a Lexus is not only not the product of one person. It is not even the product of the knowledge of one century. If technology is an art, it is a cumulative art in both a historical and a cooperative sense. While the art of the Mona Lisa could have happened in almost any historical period, the art of technology must have two important preconditions. To thrive, the art of technology must have an untrammeled flow of information and enlightened social conditions.

A vandal could destroy the Mona Lisa with a knife or a brush loaded with paint. A vandal could halt a Lexus with a wire cutter. Unfortunately, the art of technology that is embodied in the Lexus can be destroyed by a vandal wielding something more serious than a wire cutter. The art of technology can be driven from existence by censorship and political repression.

Censorship is a prime cause of technological backwardness. Necessary to inventiveness is knowledge of what else similar is happening in the rest of the world, and creative thoughts. Both feed on information. If an inventor does not know the state-of-the-art in a field, there is a very great risk of repeating someone else's work. This is reinventing the wheel--one of the great time-wasters.

Obtaining the information necessary for creative thoughts is a far more interesting and esoteric problem. Technological creativity is usually the result of examining a problem from a new perspective. Limiting the flow of information reduces the possible number of changes in perspective. As a result, any country that places any form of restriction on the free flow of information, of any kind, will be more technologically backward than those countries with less censorship.

Great Artists Must Often Work for Predators

One area where the hunter and producer classes have cooperated throughout history is in the area of weapons making. Those who manufacture arms have generally been treated better than any other members of the producer class. Not only is this true today in the sense than those who work for General Dynamics, from the top to the bottom, live better than their counterparts working in a textile mill, but it probably has always been true. It may be safe to assume that the knight's armorer lived better than the field worker. Best of all, the outcome of a battle meant very little to the arms makers because a new boss was usually very much like the old boss.

The life of the arms maker combines the advantages of the hunter class lifestyle, the satisfyingly creative work of the producer class, and the unique benefit of never having to join the hunters in battle. Even when the battle turned against the Germans on the eastern front during World War II and labor needs were serious, the rocketmakers at Peenemünde were exempt from service. While men their age were dying in some of the most brutal combat in history, the rocketeers would work in well equipped laboratories doing the kind of work they really wanted to do.

Since both the warrior and the arms makers are considered great patriots, there is a considerable advantage to being an arms maker, not the least of which is the pick of the widows when the battle is done. Keep this arrangement up for a couple of millenniums and we have the ultimate irony of the twentieth century: at least a score of people want to make and sell weapons for every person who actually wants to get into a fight. Nations that are technologically advanced enough to make weapons find it difficult to find real soldiers in their midst, and must often rely on technologically unsophisticated nations or mercenaries to use the weapons in combat.

Arms manufacture is not an ideal example of institutional influences on the direction of producer class creativity--but it is the best one around. It is very hard to tell who is leading whom around by the nose in the arms business. On one hand, without the predatory practices of the hunters, arms manufacture would lose its reason for existence. On the other hand, because the entrance requirements to the arms manufacturing business are so stiff, extremely bright people are involved who have it within their power to get pet projects approved.

Werner Von Braun understood the need to play to militarist superstitions perfectly. There exists little evidence to suggest that Von Braun wanted anything out of life save the resources to build rockets. The V-2 had no chance to change the course of World War II. Von Braun knew this better than anyone, but when there is a war on, it is best if work appears to be war-related.

As an American immigrant, Von Braun was able to continue his work. In one master stroke of fundraising, he introduced the concept to Washington of the "high ground" in space. Space--where the notions of up and down become meaningless--has no high ground. High ground was a concept the hunters gathered in Washington could understand. Not long after the high ground argument became official Washington dogma, Von Braun got a virtual blank check to build whatever rockets he and his colleagues could dream of.

In Von Braun we have a perfect example of producer power. He was able to get his agenda approved by appealing to hunters in their language. There are many would-be space explorers in America who want to build big, exciting rockets. Most occupy the high end of the intellectual spectrum. If they are not allowed to build civilian research rockets, they are forced to stampede the dimwits who believe there is a high ground in space into finding money for militarization. Von Braun may have employed producer power, but there was a hint of desperation about its use.

Even so, it is a fact that producers, through the power of the techniques used by Von Braun, may have become the ascendant class in the latter half of the twentieth century.

Is "Producer" or "Predator" a Personality Type?

"Football is to physical culture what bull-fighting is to agriculture"
Thorstein Veblen

The speculation that people are born to be predators or producers is a trifle esoteric. Books have and will be written about the nature vs. nurture argument and it is not necessary to debate the validity of the evidence here. Even so, it is important to examine the implications of the outcome of this debate.
The nurture argument is simple. Producers and predators attend different institutions of higher learning that are not only located on separate campuses, but are often located in different cities. The separation of learning into institutes of technology and liberal arts colleges has over time created the distinction between the two types.

The nature argument is based on an article of faith that goes something like this. Deep inside every person is the real you. Nothing can change the real you; not privation, hardship, or catastrophe. In fact, stress is what brings out the real you. In the absence of stress, the real you will show itself by your avocations. What you do for a living may be a matter of expediency. What you do for enjoyment is the real you.

The implications of the nature-nurture debate as applied to producers and predators are interesting. It is possible for someone with a producer occupation to have a predator hobby--such as a carpenter who hunts ducks. A banker who builds model trains in his basement would be an example of a reverse situation.

Because the virtues and attributes of the great predators are well known, it is appropriate to examine the possibility that there is a real you of producers. The foremost thing to remember about producers is that they often fall in love with their work. This may be a fact born of evolutionary necessity. Since those who built and produced were often exploited, they compensated by learning to love the work itself rather than pursuing work as a means to some other reward.

Although predators talk about their careers, producers talk about their work. Work is so important to producers that they will often work for long periods of time without pay. Keeping the project funded is often the foremost consideration. From Mozart, who died of the complications of poverty, to the unknown modern inventor working for years without pay on a breakthrough he just knows will work, the pattern is the same. For the natural producer, everything can be sacrificed for the project. Leaving behind significant work is also a certain route to industrial immortality. These attitudes, of course, are the reason producers are so easily exploited. They are also a certain refutation of the idea that coercion must be employed to get producers to work.

The Stonecutters, a recent Oscar-winning documentary, is a charming and accurate account of the traditional producer values of the cathedral builder. The stonecutters are very proud of their work and of their profession. "What we know about ancient history," one says, "we know because of carvers. It's the second oldest profession." After we are reminded that Michelangelo was a stone carver, the stonecutter adds that God, who carved the ten commandments on stone, could be considered a stonecutter. It is as if he is saying, "so you're a banker--name a banker with the stature of Michelangelo or God. Go ahead--I'm waiting."

In the final scene of the film, a retired stonecutter is standing in front of the Washington Cathedral. He says, "You're up on the scaffold; you swing your hammer; and a tiny chip flies out. You do that for forty years and you look up and discover that you have carved a lot of stone." The retired stonecutter turns and looks at the magnificence of the Cathedral and continues, "And when you look at what you've done, you realize that you haven't wasted your life." The intrinsic motivation of a builder has probably never been better said.

Stonecutters are not the only producers with a fascination for history, but producer fascination with history is different. The predator history of laws and kings and battles and conquests is somehow quite boring. Producer history is about discoveries, the development of tools, the rise of great industries, and the building of great transportation links.

Producers tend to be nonpolitical. To them, the notions of the nation-state have traditionally seemed faintly silly--to be a Freemason implied the freedom from the constraints of political borders. To the modern producer, for whom you work and how well your industry is doing is a greater determinant of how well you live than in which country you reside. It is more than a simple matter of loyalty to the firm eclipsing loyalty to a nation-state. Producers view the world in terms of suppliers and customers rather than allies and adversaries. Throughout the Cold War, American farmers complained loudly about the designation of the Soviet Union as an enemy. For the farmer, the so-called enemy was a prime customer. American agriculture realized that the foreign policy establishment was far more harmful to their interests than the official enemy.

More interesting still, the industrial class has sought representation in all political parties. 4 The ability to create, manufacture, or otherwise produce something that was not there before, the real defining characteristic of producers, brings with it no definite operating political characteristics. 5 This fact most likely stems from the realization that politics, being the traditional province of the predators, has rarely involved itself with production problems.

Producers hate supervision, especially predator supervision. Inspection, the predator idea of quality control, is viewed by producers as outright harassment. Even the most basic industrial work, such a running a punch press, is usually a far more sophisticated job than the predators, who notice only the noise and the dirt, will allow. No one knows more about running a punch press than the person running the punch press. Recognition of this most obvious fact is at the heart of Japanese quality control. By teaching the industrial workers self-inspection, the Japanese have raised quality control to levels never before achieved in history, while abolishing inspectors and fix-it lines, the essential fixtures of predator quality control.

Producers believe most often in a strict meritocracy: persons should be judged by their abilities, efforts, and accomplishments. There is, in fact, a highly stratified producer pecking order. Placed along side of the more widely known leisure class pecking order, the industrial order would look something like this:

 Industrial Class  Leisure Class
 Nobel Prize Winners  Kings, Presidents, etc.
 Theoretical Scientists  Political Advisors
 Process Inventors  Military
 High-tech Entrepreneurs  Financial Leaders
 Process Engineers  Business Leaders
 Industrial Designers  Elected Officials
 Product Inventors  Lawyers
 Development Specialists  Economists, Clergy

The industrial class even takes different parables from nature. A favorite children's story in the hunter-leisure class is the story of the grasshopper and the ant. The ant is a diligent collector who has provisions for the winter. The grasshopper consumes as it goes. Obviously, within the confines of the leisure class options, the ant is clearly the superior role model.
The industrial class is not so nearly infatuated with collecting. They would rather model their behavior after the beaver. Like them, the beavers work all the time: they are very industrious. The beavers are also more clever than the ants: they alter their environment so that there is a steady supply of food, obviating the need for collecting.

Collecting is a leisure-class diversion. Like most diversions, it fulfills a need to practice proficiencies, which may have been survival skills in the past, but are anachronisms in the twentieth century. The industrial class diversions, while fulfilling largely the same function, are clearly different. The interesting fact is that these diversions teach very different sets of values.

 Industrial Class Diversions  Leisure Class Diversions

 Team Sports  Team Sports
 Yachting  Football, Soccer
 Auto Racing  Basketball, Hockey

 Individual Sports  Individual Sports
 Flying  Jogging
 Surfing  Swimming

 Hobbies  Hobbies
 Gardening  Hunting, Fishing
 Model Building  Collecting

In industrial states where leisure time is possible, such diversions have become major enterprises. Play is big business. Values expressed as diversions offer unique insights into the very real possibility that membership in the industrial or the leisure class is not a function of training or environment. Given more or less equal amounts of money for discretionary diversion, the person who joins a country club is clearly a different sort of person than one who builds airplanes in the basement.

When play becomes a spectator sport, there has been a tendency to make sport into something other than a diversion from work. Team sports are favored in the United States as much for their usefulness in transmitting predator values as for entertainment. Unfortunately, about the only skill that can be learned by playing football is how to refight World War I.

Once an examination of the personality differences between producers and predators is undertaken, many things besides occupations and diversions differentiate the two groups. Some were mentioned in chapter one such as giants, heroes and anthropological roots. Others will be explained in later chapters--especially those on economics; what follows is a chart of the most obvious differences.

Homeopathic Differences Between
Predators and Producers

Predators  Producers

Anthropological Roots

 Hunting  Agriculture

Definition of Success
Will have to do no work at all  Work will have its effects on millions

Means to Power
 Weapons  Tools
 Violence  Mastery of physical processes
 Religion  Increases in scientific knowledge

Favorite ways to Get Rich
 Slavery  Inventions
 Ground rents  Mega-projects
 Tithes  Military procurement fraud
 Taxation  New businesses
 Stock manipulation  Producer monopolies

Means to Personal Success
 Who you know  What you know
 Appearance  Ability

 Alexander the Great  Thomas Jefferson
 Erwin Rommel  Benjamin Franklin
 Marshall Zhukov  Thomas Edison
 J. P. Morgan  Henry Ford
 Donald Trump  Alfred Nobel

Favorite Governments
 Royalty  Democracy
 Dictatorships  Anarchy

Favorite Publications
 Forbes  Business Week 6
 Wall Street Journal  Inc. Magazine
 Washington Post  Car and Driver

Monetary Theories
 Free markets  Managed currency exchanges
 Monetarism  Low interest rates
 Free trade  Growth in money supply

What Validates Money
 Shortage of currency  Excellent work

Basic Economic Theory
 Market determines value  Design determines value
 Wealth is gathered  Wealth is manufactured

Goal of Economics
 Wealth is to be concentrated  Wealth should be widely spread

Truth Tellers
 Constitutional scholars  Scientists
 Theologians  Mathematicians
 Gurus  Engineers
 Mystics  Builders
 Ideologues  Inventors

 Means to Truth
 Dedication  Experimentation
 Discipline  Curiosity
 Obedience  Research
 Scholarly examination of previously defined"truths"  

 Harvard University  
 Oxford University  Massachusetts Institute of Technology
 Their imitators  M.I.T.'s imitators
 Get rich in real estate courses  Vocational Schools

 Definition of Intelligence
 Cunning  Creativity

Validation of Knowledge
 Footnotes  Experiments
 Appeals to authority  Patents

Information Exchanges
 Propaganda  Instruction manuals
 Public relations  Video cassettes, CD-ROM
 Mass media  Photocopy networks
 Scares  Internet

 Idealism  Materialism
 Dogmatism  Pragmatism
 Determinism  Free will

Favorite Greeks
 Socrates  Euclid
 Plato  Pythagoras
 Aristotle  Archimedes

 Read "Revelations"  Invent
 Indulge in games of chance  Plan
 Play the stock market  Build

Frame of Reference
 Extremely short  Very Long

 Thugs and thieves  Everything else

 War  Environmental destruction


Is Conflict
Between Producers and Predators Inevitable?

Some people find themselves to be a natural mixture of the value currents of both classes. When predator and producer values are mixed, either within a person or group, there are three possible outcomes; two of them are bad. Leisure and industrial values can collide which will cause destruction or stalemate. A forced compromise between leisure and industrial values can cause mediocrity.

Because the values of the leisure class are so visible, they are often seen in industrial design. Product planning of the 1950s, which brought the United States oversized auto-boats with tailfins is a perfect example of leisure-industrial value mixtures leading to mediocrity.

Leisure class values often creep into industrial enterprises as they mature. This is rarely a cooperative venture. The leisure class values usually arrive with the predators who seek to harvest the fruits of the industrial enterprise. The tensions caused by such predatory practices are usually enough to render such an industrial enterprise permanently uncompetitive in an industrial sense. From that point on, it is usually a process of ever more violent plunder until the last of the great predators, the liquidators, come to pick the bones in the great example of stalemate and then destruction.

It is the third possible outcome that is most interesting. There are occasions, such as the building of a great concert hall, when leisure and industrial values are added in such a way that the outcome far exceeds the expectations of either group. Most unfortunately, these occasions are extremely rare because when they happen, everyone is a winner. The world is in shocking need of many more win-win situations.

It is in the area of environmental concerns where the values of the hunters and farmers must come together. It is the last great hope for cooperation.

So far, there has not been a great amount of cooperation between the producers and the predators when it has come to environmental concerns. The producers have dug in their heels and told the world that they are essential and that the world will just have to learn to live with the mess they make. The predators have told the producers that lack of cooperation means a shutdown of industry. Pittsburgh was recently named the most livable city in the United States by Rand McNally. Pittsburgh was once an extremely dirty city. The difference is that the great steel mills of the Monagahela Valley have been closed down and left to rust--not a very good solution from the standpoint of the steelmakers, but effective.

Shutting down industry is not the solution. Whether people believe the industrial revolution was a good idea or not; it happened. With the industrial revolution came an enormous population rise. If industry is indiscriminately closed, the dense populations that are the result of industrialization are in great peril of their very survival.

A better way to view the industrial revolution is to see the current industrial class crises as the halfway point. If the world turns back to an early stage of industrialization, there will be a massive reduction in the human population. If the present confusion of industrialization and its values is not clarified, there will be also a massive mortality of humans.

The solution is clear, the world must build its way out of the current problems using an environmental blueprint. Industrial values must be environmentally purified. Hope stems from the realization that this value purification process, while still in its infancy, has already appeared in the sophisticated industrial economies of northern Europe.


Value Confusion versus Value Clarity

Artist. Genius. Creative. Godlike. Producers have been treated poorly throughout history, but they have developed a fine lingo to describe themselves.

The downside of industrialism is not so pretty. Producers must answer grave questions. Whose "bright" idea was it to produce fission nuclear power plants? or agent orange? or strip mining? or clear-cut timbering methods? or nerve gas? or? or? None but the producers can answer these questions.

The producers' response is to counterattack. "These were my ideas," argues a producer, "but they were not my decisions. There were many other ideas. Those monuments to industrial stupidity exist because they were funded. A producer can build anything. What gets built is decided by people with money."

"Whose bright idea?" asks the producer, "was it to insist on economic theories that pretend to describe a system built by industrial planning, yet claim that industrial economic planning is impossible or evil? Who possibly believed that flying, the human activity most in need of careful regulation, could be deregulated economically? What fool could fall for the notion that a nation needs more than one telephone system, which mega-fool thought Bell Labs was unimportant? Didn't anyone understand that if one country funds 15-year projects and another funds 1-year projects, the 15-year products will be far superior? Why should anyone believe that Wall Street plunder of the needed resources for research and development would not lead to industrial stagnation? What took you predators so long to understand the Cold War was over? It was over technologically by 1960. It is not our fault that everything had to be labeled a 'war' on something or other or it would not be built. If you want a utopia, we can build a utopia, but if you want to have us solve those problems you so willingly lay at our feet, the first order for business is to get off our throats and let us go back to work. To us involuntary unemployment is the ultimate human-rights abuse!"

The implication is that if environmental redesign spawned the well-funded, high-status new producer professions, producer elites would retrain themselves to meet the need. This redistribution of industrial talent to environmental design is the obvious answer to the problem of civilian conversion of militarized industries. Only producers can solve the great environment problems: only they have the requisite skills. Until the economic rules are changed, however, they cannot do their work.

If the producers were granted a set of economic rules that assumed the industrial revolution, the question still must be asked, "Would producers, given their freedom, build an operating industrial-environmental state?" The masters do not trust the slaves. Like the homeowner supervising the remodeling of a kitchen, predators are not certain the producers will do the work properly.

As the kitchen example shows, the friction between producers and predators can be finessed. Good architecture requires a good client. The finest example of producer-predator friction yielding great results may be Michelangelo's painting of the Sistine Chapel. A prototypical producer, Michelangelo despised Pope Julius II and insisted on doing the painting his own unique way. The Pope did his part--he paid the bills, he forced a creative person to express himself in a new medium, and for the most part, he stayed out of the way.

Not all producers are Michelangelos unfortunately; however, the 1980s demonstrated that there are far more Michelangelos than enlightened predators. There will be no environmental Michelangelos until the producers are free to do their work. The job of the environmentally concerned predator is to demand excellence but to stop wanting everything on the cheap, pay the bills, and stay out of the way. It is a strategy that has worked in the past.

Making the producer-predator relationship more enlightened is a necessary strategy in those countries, such as the United States, which would play industrial catch-up with Japan and Germany. Killing the predators in war--the "solution" of industrializing Japan and Germany--might appeal to producer schadenfreude, but is not a desirable method in a world with 50,000 extant nuclear weapons. Besides, producer creativity itself is highly vulnerable to war.

A better strategy would be a widespread purification and socialization of industrial virtue. In economic terms this means that the industrial-environmental projects necessary for human survival must be funded and produced. Economics must be redefined so that what is necessary is economically valid. Economics must be changed so that finance and business are the servant of, rather than an impediment to, the construction of the new industrial order.

American industry has acquired a bad habit in the twentieth century by being forced to sell large projects in military terms. From scientific education and the interstate highway system to the space program, militaristic salesmanship has been employed. Until producers learn to sell large projects without resorting to a militarized sales strategy, predators will never learn to evaluate projects in any other way. Rocket scientists stampeding dull-witted politicians for financial support may be an amusing spectacle, but until producers learn to market large social projects for their intrinsic merits, they will always be slaves in the societies they have built for themselves.

GO TO--Chapter Four: NOTES

GO TO--Elegant Technology: Chapter Six

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