Chapter Four audio file (mp3)
The Theory of the Industrial Class,
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Is "Producer" or "Predator" a
"Football is to physical culture what bull-fighting is
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
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
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
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
| Nobel Prize
|| Kings, Presidents, etc.
|| Political Advisors
| Process Inventors
| High-tech Entrepreneurs
|| Financial Leaders
| Process Engineers
|| Business Leaders
|| Elected Officials
| Product Inventors
|| 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
|| Football, Soccer
| Auto Racing
|| Basketball, Hockey
| Individual Sports
|| Individual Sports
|| Hunting, Fishing
| Model Building
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.
Predators and Producers
Definition of Success
|Will have to do no
work at all
|| Work will have its effects on
Means to Power
|| Mastery of physical processes
|| Increases in scientific knowledge
Favorite ways to Get Rich
| Ground rents
|| Military procurement fraud
|| New businesses
| Stock manipulation
|| Producer monopolies
Means to Personal Success
| Who you know
|| What you know
| Alexander the Great
|| Thomas Jefferson
| Erwin Rommel
|| Benjamin Franklin
| Marshall Zhukov
|| Thomas Edison
| J. P. Morgan
|| Henry Ford
| Donald Trump
|| Alfred Nobel
|| Business Week 6
| Wall Street Journal
|| Inc. Magazine
| Washington Post
|| Car and Driver
| Free markets
|| Managed currency exchanges
|| 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
| Constitutional scholars
Means to Truth
| 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
Validation of Knowledge
| Appeals to authority
|| Instruction manuals
| Public relations
|| Video cassettes, CD-ROM
| Mass media
|| Photocopy networks
|| Free will
| Read "Revelations"
| Indulge in games of chance
| Play the stock market
Frame of Reference
| Extremely short
|| Very Long
| Thugs and thieves
|| Everything else
|| Environmental destruction
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
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
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,
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