As I have pointed out, our present-day experience with high-energy converters yields no definitive outline of an “ideal type” of high-energy society, but it does provide evidence of some of the necessary social characteristics of such societies.
The direct study of new converters and the limits they impose gives some additional insight as to the direction in which societies will have to move if an increase in high-energy converters comes to be accepted as a major objective of a society. One of the clearest inferences, drawn from both historic and analytical evidence, is that high-energy converters require the use of some large production units.
By production unit we mean all the factors necessary to produce the goods which such a unit is expected to produce. The emphasis here is upon the unity, or wholeness, of the process. In other words, if a certain minimum number of various types of machines, trained persons, raw materials, techniques, and social organizations are required to produce a good, then that complex will here be considered as indivisible whole. For other observers and other purposes, these things, persons, and relationships may also be part of other wholes, or they may function apart from one another.
For reasons already given, there is tremendous effort on the part of a large number of people to retain the system of values with which they grew up. Most of the things they want to retain are, however, the product of life in relatively small systems that had, willy-nilly to adapt to the limit imposed by organic converters. These rural codes were adequate to serve the technology necessary to maintain them. The shift to a situation in which part of what is consumed locally has to be produced in a unit much larger in spatial extent than the local community requires, that at times controls that do not originate in local needs nor are supported by the parochial set of values must operate to provide the means to use surplus energy from other regions. These new controls must be provided so that necessary social structures can operate.
Since the ship was the first high-energy converter, we will look at the kinds of social changes its use required.
Requirements of the ship
The sailing ship was a physical unit tremendously larger than any previously developed converter. The fact that it had to function as a physical whole is quite obvious. But what is apparently not so obvious is that its use was dependent upon relatively stable, spatially extensive social relationships.
The ship could be built only if there were means to accumulate at one point large amounts of surplus energy which could be permanently diverted for that purpose. Similarly, copper, iron, teak, oak and pine, cotton, tar and resin, and rope fiber are not produced by nature at the same place. They must be gathered from widely scattered points. To assure that men at the building site would perform as they were expected to perform, skills and occupational codes of conduct had to be developed and maintained. So, in order just to create the ship itself it was necessary also to create new relationships that did not previously exist between social units.
The ship could be used only where trade was possible. Such trade depended not only on the presence of the physical requirements for production but also on the existence of a social system that would permit the necessary goods to be produced and subsequently to be removed from the local community. To make trading possible for a period long enough to return to the builder of the ship energy equal to that which went into it, fairly stable code that was binding on both parties to the trade had to be maintained. Arrangements between traders and other producers in the various areas cooperating in the use of the ship were also required. Unless all these general relationships — and in any specific situation many more, peculiar to the local situation — could be assured, the ship could not be used.
As has been said, the sailing ship was the first converter to break through the limits imposed upon societies primarily served by low-energy converters. Before we discuss further the conditions which its use required, it may be well to recall the characteristics arising from the limits of the low-energy society.
First of all, the norms of low-energy systems generally subsumed what has in modern times been called “economic productivity” into a general configuration of expected and approved behavior. Economic values were not distinguished from the other values held, nor was economic production separated from the physical and material factors which entered into religious, familial, political, or aesthetic activity. Second, the codes that governed economic activity tended, like other codes of behavior, to become sacred. By this we mean that the ends the individual learned to seek and the means by which he sought them were of equal concern to the groups of which he was a part. Violation of these codes was thought to be injurious to the group as a whole and was frequently also thought to be of concern to the gods. Third, the physical area throughout which such a system was in operation was relatively self-sustaining. Fourth, this system was limited in extent and its contact with other systems was also limited. Such contact as did exist either was stylized and formal or was sporadic and tended when it occurred to be the occasion for conflict rather than cooperation. Finally, the roles required of the members of the system were likely to be sufficiently consistent for the means regularly used to form personality in the society to serve to induce most of its members to undertake these required roles and to carry them out within acceptable limits.
The use of the ship required disruption of some of these conditions. Where the society depended upon the family or other kinship groups, or on the organized village community as a production unit, it was difficult to secure sufficient trade to justify the use of the ship. The specialization required at one point to produce parts or materials for shipbuilding or to produce large surpluses of particular items to make a cargo necessitated radical changes in the assignment of roles among members of the production group. Extensive increase in the size of the production unit was also required. The system of identification among kinship groups cannot be extended indefinitely. Only rarely in low-energy society was the customary production unit initially large enough to serve the ship successfully. Even in these cases the new method of production meant abandonment of many previously assigned roles in favor of a system in which the great body of the [[population] played the same few roles, such as those involved in making copra, raising cotton, digging copper, producing turpentine, etc.
This assignment of identical roles for most of the working population destroyed or made unworkable the traditional varied role assignments. For example, it would have been possible for some of the largest kinship groups in China to have produced either the materials for the ship or its cargo. However, to have done so would frequently have meant violation of many of the most sacred obligations between parents and children, wives and husbands, priests and patrons, teachers and students, artisans and customers, and even war lords and those whom they protected. Consequently, in many parts of China it was not possible to get the populace to engage in the kinds of production which would have made trade most profitable for the Chinese merchant. In most other places where the kinship unit was used it was just too small to serve alone as the means to produce the ship or its cargo. Surviving intact, it must interfere with seaborne trade. If, on the other hand, its members did engage in the necessary relations within a large unit that was capable of serving and being served by the ship, the old system was deprived of much of its vitality and lost much of its pragmatic reason for being.
In fact, then, a very significant limit upon the development of the ship was the inability of the trader to induce the required individuals to cooperate in a unit large enough to justify the use of the ship. The ship actually came into extensive use where, on the one hand, some social system such as feudalism or slavery operated to provide surplus energy enough to make its use feasible and where, on the other, those who would have opposed trade were not possessed of sufficient power to stop it.
What was true in connection with the ship became even more marked when other high-energy converters began to be adopted. When the freely wandering buffalo was replaced by privately owned cattle fenced in by barbed wire and shipped by rail, the Plains Indian was forced to choose between remaining attached to a system which depended upon energy supplied by the buffalo, and which became every day less capable of regeneration, and attaching himself to the iron horse at the price of the abandonment of most of his traditional way of life. The Navaho today has to choose between life in the hogan, with accompanying poverty in material things and in the services which money will buy, and the abandonment of his people’s social system in favor of employment by the Santa Fe railroad or some other agent of high-energy society. His kinship unit is not adaptable to such converters as the locomotive. To preserve control over the natural resources of the Reservation he has in fact created an Indian-dominated Industrial Council to carry out the business relationships that must be used if he is to get the advantages of using high-energy technology. This parallels what has happened to many other low energy systems. This conflict faces many peoples and many cultures, and most people so threatened will attempt to resist a system that will eventually destroy their social organization. But the use of high-energy converters in many cases makes such change unavoidable.
Technique and organization
The efficient size of the production unit is in part dependent upon the technological requirements of high-energy converters. Since the purpose of adopting such converters is frequently to substitute as much energy derived from low-cost fuel as possible for energy derived from food, power-driven tools must replace manpower wherever feasible. Each job must be broken down into units that some mechanical device can perform. However, some single operations may require a very expensive tool. To form an airplane wing by extrusion involves the use of a press which costs as much energy to produce as a hundred or more wings made by riveting the component pieces together. Continuous use of this press is the only means of reducing to the lowest possible point the cost per wing. This means that the production unit of which it is a part must produce enough planes to require full-time use of the press. Of course the use of the press may so greatly increase the efficiency that the cost of its use even when it is used only part of the time will be less than that of any known alternative method. But economics will still be effected by using it more, until it is working all the time its maintenance will permit.
More complicated operations on a single part may be achieved by the combination in a single machine of a number of fairly cheap tools positioned and operated by high-energy converters. One such machine, for example, can perform all the operations required to change a rough casting into a finished automobile cylinder block. By means of such combinations the attention of one man can be substituted for that of a large number of men each using a power-operated tool. Once set up, this machine can produce a large number of parts with a minimum of human guidance. The machine itself, rather than the single tool or converter, becomes the unit requiring guidance and adjustment to compensate for the human qualities which cannot be built into it. Again, however, such a machine is most economical only when it can be used full time.
So the minimum size of the production unit is set by the full-time use of the machine performing the operation done least frequently in making the product. Other elements may be such that it takes a dozen of the machines used constantly to one of the machines used least frequently. To be economical, this may require mass production, for the prototype of many modern production machines cost almost unbelievable amounts of energy before a single consumption good can be produced to justify that expenditure.
The efficient minimum size of the production unit becomes a matter for calculation; the point must be found at which the energy diverted into converters, plus the costs of their use, divided among the units produced becomes less than the energy required to make a unit by some alternative method. For some operations, small units may be technologically as efficient as any know larger unit. For others, it is clear that only very large production units can deliver goods at the least energy cost. When this is the case, social arrangements have to be created which will induce the needed individuals to cooperate in such large units within the sometimes very close limits technologically demanded. Also, the costs of creating and maintaining such social units must be less than the gain from the use of high-energy technology, else there is no economy.
Production in such large units requires that consumption, too, must become uniform and predictable, for only if the goods produced by high-energy technology, satisfy those who use them will consumption justify production. Knowledge of the immediate costs of the physical operations is not all that is required for the calculation of the most effective technological unit. There are other factors, such as research, to be considered. It may well be that only through the distribution of research costs among many production units can the energy savings produced by research be made to equal the energy costs of providing for it. In some cases the costs of research can be met only by mass marketing. It is this fact rather than production itself that requires such essentially simple products as soap to be produced in large units.
Distribution costs must also be considered. To induce a large number of consumers independently to choose a specific good rather than some alternative involves some of the same types of costs as are involved in production itself. Modern advertising and propaganda rest upon the use of high-energy converters. The costs of copy, the artist’s studio, the engraver’s shop, the composing room, the preparation of the initial plates, and the make-ready on the press are almost the same for the first copy whether fifty thousand or five million copies are to be run. The master negative of a moving picture and the master tapes for a sound track are similarly costly prototypes. It is as costly to prepare a show for one TV or radio station as for a whole network. The means of creating values via mass communication will be least costly, then, when a production unit is large enough to supply a market created by very widespread use of these costly prototypes.
The "curse" of bigness
Some thinkers, critical of the concentration of power developed through the use of large production units, have advocated reducing their size. From what we have said here it is clear that smaller production units may in some cases be technically just as efficient as larger ones. The case can only be made in specific terms, however. The decentralization of such economic empires as Unilever, Shell, Ford, du Pont, or General Motors might serve to show that a successful attack on bigness need not presage a diminution of technical efficiency. It might, in fact, produce greater efficiency. But the attack on bigness as such does not answer, it merely raises the question of how large the production unit must be to be technically most efficient.
There is proposed by some a kind of nostalgic retreat, a return to the family or village community as a production unit. The proposal gains plausibility through the fact of the development of the fractional horsepower motor. With it the family can now serve as the efficient unit for some types of use of cheap energy. It is, however, assumed by some idealists that all or nearly all the goods required for the family can be produced with primary dependence upon these motors; thus the family can again become the basic production unit and some of the more critical problems of modern society can be solved.
It is true that we can now wash clothing mechanically in the home. We can chop food, grind coffee or meal, refrigerate perishables, and keep ourselves cool or warm. With a small motor we can run a sewing machine, beat a cake, or mix drinks. But most operations cannot be done efficiently with small units. To provide for each family the equivalent in miniature of the textile industry, the furniture industry, or the automobile industry, to cite only a few industries whose products are largely consumed in family units, would be far more costly than using even the most primitive hand methods. To think of duplicating for each family such necessary services as are supplied by public utilities, railroads, steel mills, machine tool factories, and all the basic operations involved in mining, milling, smelting, refining, lumbering, and shipping would be fantastic. There is no likelihood that the family will become, in the near future, the production unit for any basic commodity other than some of the simple organic products. In fact as has been shown, even to retain the family-sized farm requires considerable dependence upon other social units if the farmer is to use high-energy converters. We face the fact, then, that wherever high-energy converters are to be used, whether under the auspices of communism, capitalism, or socialism, large production units will have to be created.
Concentration of control
A necessary consequence of the increase in size of the production unit is centralization of control over the actual operations of production. In low-energy society, where the bulk of production is dependent upon the work of a relatively small amount of energy, the head of a family or some other leader may personally direct production. Small functional groups of artisans such as weavers, smiths, or carpenters may be subject to immediate control by a master artist or mechanic. Alternatively, some of the work maybe so highly stylized and occupational codes may be so biding that no judgment by the artisan is required or possible. By its very nature, high-energy technology frequently makes such control ineffective.
In many of the high-speed operations involved in high-energy technology the vagaries of judgment among those producing render them inadequate actually to control operations. Nor is it possible to depend upon stylized arts passed along in the training of artisans. Mass production requires scheduling that is exact to the fraction of a second and demands controls over heat, temperature, chemical constituents, and other measurements that can be maintained only by experts. The efficiency of the decisions of the experts can be judged by “amateurs” only in terms of the results obtained after the operations have been completed. Even if the decisions have been wrong, they cannot be replaced by the judgments of those who see only part of the production process or only the result in the form of the completed product. Those who plan the organization as a whole can frequently learn much from on-the-spot judgments of the operators of machines, section chiefs, and others, but the intrgration of such knowledge into the system is still essential.
While some concentration of control is thus a necessary consequent of high-energy technology, it is also true that concentration may be undertaken where it is not technically required. Centralization may contribute to the ego satisfaction of power-hungryman. It may be developed to secure objectives other than technical efficiency. For example, the Russians have gone well beyond the point of greatest technical efficiency in their control over agriculture. They apparently seek neither the largest return of surplus energy from their farms nor the largest total amount of food that it is possible to produce. Their aim is to secure that largest amount of food that can be taken from the farms to industrial sites. Much that the land-owning peasant could and would produce under private property is lost under their present system. To permit the Russian peasant to return to a hoe culture, although it might improve his lot, make the system more stable or more democratic, and increase the total amount of food produced in Soviet Russia, might also force the wholesale return of workers to the farms and the abandonment of further “progress” toward the use of high-energy technology. In point of fact “regression” toward the hoe culture may well have reached the point of no return in large sections of the USSR. The proportion of total food output that results from the activities of the individual farmer on the small plot of land he is permitted to work is growing and with the inability of the collective farms to increase their output to match new obligations his contribution is indispensable. Movement to the city resulting from inability to get even subsistence from the land he has access to, only aggravates the problem.
Similarly, there have been built up in the West vast aggregations of power over production, not in the interest of the greatest possible physical production or technical efficiency3 but in the interest of some family, class, or group of “insiders.” Certain of these aggregations could be reduced with no loss in efficiency. But many units must remain large, and it is impossible to retain technical efficiency in these units and distribute control among the amateurs who constitute the owners on the assumption that competition among these amateurs will bring about the most effective technical use of available resources. To all intents and purposes, control by owners has been lost. As we shall see, partly it was lost through abdication and partly through usurpation. But chiefly it was lost as an inevitable consequence of high-energy technology. The portion so lost cannot be regained by quoting strictures against collectivism or repeating the rules against conspiracy in restraint of trade. No matter what moral or legal fictions are employed to defend it, it is still true that the high degree of coordination required by high-energy technology perpetuates a high degree of centralized control. Such control may be carried out by an agent of a democratic state, by a corporate bureaucrat, or by the functionary of a Soviet trust. It cannot rise spontaneously from the common values of those who must cooperate to produce. The character of the skills and knowledge which are required to operate the system, and the costs of acquiring them, are such that only a few individuals, if any, can be trained adequately. Whether those who know and propagate this kind of knowledge are made subordinate eventually to a referendum politically imposed by a democratic state, by organized property owner, or by the priests of a cult promoting technological efficiency – or whether management itself becomes the ruler, independent efficiency of such referendums – is not determined by high-energy technology. That such a bureaucracy of experts exists and administers the system is required by high-energy technology.
Specialization and division of labor
High-energy technologies have another, and at first glance antithitic, consequence: In one sense, it distributes rather than concentrates control. This follows from the requirement of territorial and functional division of labor. Low-energy societies cannot make extensive use of such division. Transportation costs mount as men are segregated into specialized communities to and from which they must transport a large part of the goods consumed, the raw materials process, and the finished goods produced. Such costs cannot be met from the small surpluses produced in low-energy socieites. Here every community becomes in large measure self-subsistent, and production involves the assignment of a few general roles rather than a number of specific and narrow specialties. It is not possible in low-energy society for many people to spend time and energy learning the extremely elaborate and detailed skills and knowledge that are required for such roles as that played by a modern organic chemist or nuclear physicist. Only those roles can be prescribed which when performed will return to the individual and to the community sufficient reward to compensate for the energy and time spent in training. In low-energy society, the costs of acquiring an occupational role and the rewards to be secured from it are rather quickly learned. The occupational code which teaches those who play a role what they should do and what they may expect by way of compensation is likely to be tested frequently against the actual behavior of those with whom the occupational specialist must cooperate. That is to say, for example, that the local miller, even if he is supported in such an effort by millers in other communities, cannot very long maintain a code which prevents his cooperation with the local butcher, baker and candlestick maker, for they are necessary to complete his own way of life. Similarly, if in a community the miller is so poorly rewarded that he moves away or is unable or unwilling to induce his or any other man’s son to assume his role, the local system must and will if the services are required, come to provide the means necessary to replace him. This necessity to provide locally for the regeneration of occupational controls stands in important contrast to certain elements of high-energy systems, which, as will be shown, permit codes to be set up outside the community and supported from afar which continuously disrupt the local community.
As has been pointed out, the use of high-energy converters to replace men involves the division of tasks into minute specialized operation which machines can be set up to perform. The specialists who are required to build and operate these machines depend in turn upon the makers of instruments and control devices, which involve further specialization. In consequence, high-energy technology requires many times the number of socially approved occupational alternatives that were acceptable in most low-energy systems. Moreover, as a result of the fact that the materials needed are, in their natural state, widely dispersed, specialized communities appear which are devoted to the assembly of the specialized products of other communities; we see communities engaged in the production of a single product such as tin, copper, lead, or mercury, or the raising of a single crop such as wheat, rice, sisal, tobacco, cotton, or coffee, and others devoted to the manufacture of products made of a single commodity such as paper, glass, or rubber.
These specialized communities are in turn composed of specialists. There are those who locally provide such goods and services as bakery products and policing. There are those who perform locally a specialty which is quite uncharacteristic either of other local groups or of the distant groups with which they, as specialists, must cooperate in order to produce. A good example is the builder of specialized machine tools. Men so situated are no longer guided adequately by the traditional codes which they learned as children. Nor are they equipped as individuals to constantly make the judgments that would serve to keep them cooperating with one another. Here, customarily, new codes of action grow up. That is, common prescriptions or proscriptions based on past experience of groups who have been carrying out a given task are drawn up, and members of the groups are expected to act alike when confronted with a given type of situation. These regulations may take the form of union rules, company rules, codes developed into professional “ethics,” and frequently even laws. They may govern all the members of a given industry, craft, profession, or type of trade. They may deal with particular local situations such as those reflected in chambers of commerce, parent-teacher associations, trade councils, ministerial associations, etc. Each code grows out of a specialized situation where presumably it has adequate sanction and will continue to be regenerated by experience.
Depersonalization and disunity
What is perhaps of greatest importance here is that integration through central operations among those who deal with functional groups may interfere with integration at the local level, and vice versa. There is frequently no erosion at the local level, such as happens in low-energy systems, because of the fact that neighbors judge on another. The local farmer in the United States may live next door to the railroad engineer who operates the milk train, but frequently nothing done at the local level will affect either the wage the engineer receives or the price he pays for milk. The engineer will depend upon his union to deal with a distant railroad management, and nothing specific about milk as such will enter into the determination of his wages. In turn, the farmer may depend upon a cooperative or a great corporation such as Borden’s or National Dairy to intercede for him in determining the price of milk. He may depend upon the Interstate Commerce Commission or a state Public Utilities Commission to set the railroad freight rates. He may come to depend upon the government itself to set both the price of milk and railroad rates. He may be friend or enemy to the engineer next door. Their personal relation will not affect their relation in production.
True, there must also be a set of codes by which the farmer and the engineer pursue their common goals in local church, school, government, recreation, sanitation, and public health measures. There will, however, frequently be effected “insulation,” preventing the local attitude from affecting the occupational code. During the depression, college professors generally deplored the low estate of farmers, but neither they nor the farmers would have thought of paying or accepting other than the market price for eggs. During inflation they may join in deploring the low estate of professors but for the most part they would both think that there was something wrong or even degrading in the paying or the accepting of anything other than the market price for produce.
To repeat, in high-energy society the community ceases to be a self-contained unit in which the codes that are produced operate upon one another in such a manner as to make them mutually at least tolerable. Instead it becomes a locus of interaction which may continuously generate local conflict. The fact that conflicting attitudes cannot serve to modify the conduct which generates those attitudes does not mitigate the conflict; it accentuates it. When it is apparent that no kind of persuasion can alter the acts of an opponent, the frustration and resultant aggression are likely to be greater, rather than less, than they would be where argument and reason could produce altered conduct.
The significance of local conflict generated by codes not of local origin is manifest in the many operations of modern society that still depend upon consensus at the community level. Jury trial, for example, is necessary for much law enforcement in the United States. Such a system assumes that a sample of local community will represent the forces actively at work there to produce values required for necessary control by law. But in the case of a code which grew out of experience quite other than that generally shared in a locality and was placed on the statute books by pressure on a legislature, jury trial would be almost totally unreliable as a means to enforcement of that code. Thus “functional” codes may operate to threaten or destroy the codes which support local traditional values, and vice versa. High-energy society can, than no longer rely on locally generated values to assure control over many activities which require control. Many socialists whose activities are of the greatest importance to the local community are out of reach of local control. For example, no local jury can penalize the distant manufacturer of drugs if he neglects to take some precaution and a local child dies as a result. Only knowledge and control by some expert who knows what should be done will be effective. On the other hand, a jury composed only of those adversely affected by the enforcement of a code adopted elsewhere will be unlikely to bring a verdict against a local code violator. A whole series of devices must be set up which will provide necessary local autonomy in the face of equally necessary control by those who are responsive to the needs of occupational or other specialist for code enforcement.
Changing property rights
An area in which this difficulty is most widely felt and in which it is increasingly apparent is property rights. As high-energy technology comes into wider use, the relations between property owners and other producers undergo marked change. In every property system, morality sanctions an area of conduct within which an owner of property is free to make certain disposition of goods and services that are denied to nonowners. He may, for example, determine the present use of goods. He may determine the future use of goods, in some cases even for generations after his own death. He may determine the disposition of the product of goods or the offspring of livestock. In some cases he may destroy the goods themselves. The number and importance of these rights is a measure of the degree to which private property is a significant element in a culture.
While political events, military conquest, geographic cataclysm, and even population growth have also affected property, many of the most striking changes have come from a shift in the use and source of energy. To demonstrate the point let us go back for a moment to a characterization of property as found in low-energy systems.
Broadly speaking, property can be classified as “land” or “personality.” Of course, such a definition distorts to a certain degree when it is applied to many societies known to both historians and anthropologists. But all societies treat possessions that relate to natural resources, such as forests, arable lands, salt licks, mineral deposits, and grazing lands, differently from possessions regarded as an extension of the personality, such as tools, ornaments, articles of dress, and weapons. In the low-energy society, land was only rarely, and for short periods, assumed to be as completely subject to the control of an individual owner as personality might be. It is easy to see why. In a society dependent upon organic converters the consequence of land misuse is rather quickly apparent. If the relation between property in land and the permanent welfare of the society is not recognized in time, the society is threatened. Even in areas of abundant natural resources, the wanton destruction of nature’s gifts leads to group disapproval or societal suicide. In some areas, such as the valley of the Nile, nature restores the balance upset by man, and the time of retribution is delayed until the population growth forces more careful husbandry as the price of survival. Generally, however, property in land is constantly subject to control derived in part from the character of local plant and animal ecology.
Rational versus traditional land rights
Development of the concept of property in land in low-energy societies takes place in terms of the interpersonal relations found there. Land is not only property, and as such a factor in economic productivity; it is also the locale within which other institutions function. We have already discussed the dependence of morals upon the interpersonal relationships that create and foster them. The relationships that have their basis in property are no exception. In low-energy systems property is likely to be coextensive with the other institutions of the community, and within the limits of low-energy converters property concepts evolve reciprocally with changes in other institutions.
The shift in the character of the field, gradient, and limits which accompanies the use of a new energy converter changes the spatial character of property relationships. When such a shift occurs, the owner of land may personally cease to be subject to the morality of the community in which the property is found. The “rights” of the owner may in turn cease to be held morally binding by the members of the community in which those rights have to be asserted. The owner sometimes loses the ability actually to carry on the functions required of him. Under absentee ownership, agents increasingly carry out the functions of the owner. These agents, while themselves subject to local interpersonal influences, are frequently unable to respond to them, being bound to pursue the values of the owners whom they represent. Thus, there is no necessary and immediate interpersonal relationship between owners and those who dwell on the land where the property rights must be respected. The automatic check which formerly protected the ecological base of the community ceases to be assured. As a matter of fact, there is frequently divergence between the morality taught in the community in which the land is situated and that taught to the children of the absentee owner. This is often led to revolt; even where it does not come to that, continuous diversion of the surpluses of the land must take place to provide the military and political coercion required to assure property rights. Corruption and widespread disrespect for the state and its agents follow. If, on the other hand, some other source of energy (such as the sea power of the Romans) reinforces the power of the owner so that he is successful in maintaining his dominance over the land, apathy and conscientious sabotage grow.
Absentee ownership is unlikely to prosper in societies where the only surplus energy available is produced by the husbandmen. In low-energy society a system of land ownership, to be successful, must impose duties upon the owner as well as the nonowner. This is not to say that “justice” prevails. The property system may sanction the transfer of all but the barest level of physical subsistence for property-less persons. It may sanction great wastage by a few and complete exclusion and starvation for those not needed to till the land. But to retain property rights the land itself has to be kept producing. Men have to be taught as children the necessity of abiding by, if not the justice of, the property system under which they function. No matter how potent the myth by which they are rationalized, other systems of landed property are likely to be short-lived.
Ownership: past and present
Personality is subject to different limits from land. Personality relates to goods which by their nature are limited in extent. Great castles and landscaped estates, public monuments, paintings and sculptures, barrels of rubies and emeralds, piles of gold bars, bales of silks, stables of horses, harems of wives, which represented the greatest accumulations of such property, performed their function in low-energy society largely by display or storage. Their possessor need have neither intelligence nor social insight. Only the actual wielders of tools and weapons controlled things functionally necessary for survival.
What a man can do with hand tools is restricted by human physiology. Property concepts cannot enlarge these limits, but they can greatly contract them. In almost every society, social rules state who can use certain tools and under what conditions they can be used. Personal property in tools is thus limited through social definition in terms of division of labor locally held to be moral. Other types of personal property, such as ornaments and articles of dress, are likewise circumscribed by rules. These vary from some simple ones that merely require indication of the sex of the wearer to extremely complex classifications prescribing or proscribing ornamentation and dress in detail on the basis of occupation, rank, caste, class, age religion, and other factors. Through its property system a society may deny all but a tiny fraction of the population the right to wield known tools, to consume many of the products produced, to share the rewards of increased productivity, or even to avoid personally painful consequences of socially approved arrangements. Such a society may still be stable and will organized and give little evidence that most of its members feel themselves to be ill-used. Motives which induce individuals to act seem here, as in many other elements of social organization, to be much more a function of expectations derived from experience with social myth than of an instinctive drive toward acquisition, the hedonistic calculus of the rational man, or an inherent wish to be creative. But what we have been saying about personal property does not imply that there is no functioning morality: it emphasizes that the system must provide a social definition of behavior which not only tells the property owner what he can do but also tells the nonowner what the rights of the property owner are and makes him accept them. Personality is thus dependent, as is the concept of property in land, upon a generally observed set of controls taught to all children, defining the roles of all. It must therefore be affected no less than land by changes which change the roles required.
A shift in the energy system tends to undermine previous concepts of property in personality just as it does in land. Ownership of a railroad, a utility, or the widely scattered resources which must be assembles in a high-energy system must be based upon a multiplicity of communities. No single community could serve as the base for operations, no community evolve all the necessary controls. Each of the communities that serve the whole organization is bound to be in some measure from others also functioning. There is nothing in the low-energy society to create the elements required to operate such a property system. The property rights necessary have, in fact, to be created with the aid of surpluses from new sources.
True, there were collective property concepts related to land in the old systems. For example, the English common, the Russian Mir, and the upland pastures of Switzerland functioned under such a concept. But all this collective property, like private property, involved controls which could be generated in one small area. The centralized control for more widespread cooperation to protect absent owners of land or personality was usually lacking.
Except for goods used to establish status through display, most personal property rested on the ability of the user directly to control and use that property. He might also make provision for the inheritance or even the destruction of his property without greatly affecting the similar rights of others. The culture might, in fact, require that all his personal property be destroyed or be buried with his body. Obviously when the survival of a society comes to depend upon preservation and functional operation of goods “personally” owned, as in the case of a public utility, a great bank or railroad, or even a single factory, then it is no longer possible to permit such latitude to the private owner. If he fails to function under the prescribed rules, he may lose his property rights. Unlike simple tools or possessions created primarily for the ends sought by the individual owner, production goods are now created to serve the ends sought by the individual owner, production goods are now created to serve the ends of others than their owners. It is not possible, then, to convert them, at the whim of an owner, to any desired purpose, without at the same time disturbing the means by which others may attain their own ends.
Control by management
However the fiction of private property in production goods is maintained, the operational meaning of ownership is altered by the character of the relationships actually created in high-energy systems. The property fiction tends to obscure the new relationships, but the new facts force change. The old system could depend upon almost automatic creation of the attitudes necessary to guarantee the sanctity of property. Under widespread absentee ownership of property, no such automatic process takes place. Persuasion, conversing, and coercion become necessary. The old guidance provided by the immediate self-interest of the owner likewise proves insufficient to make the system work. New morals and new institutions are needed. They are hammered out so long as possible behind the façade provided by the current myths. These myths become less and less functional in the sense that if the individual naively accepts them he is less and less likely to achieve the results he has been taught to expect. This follows from the fact that technology sets limits on the specific operations of specific converters. To run a railroad involves specific techniques, not generalized ones. To build a plant to produce penicillin or an atom bomb we must call upon a different body of specific knowledge from that involved in producing cotton cloth or cash registers. Decisions, to be effective must be based upon an enormous amount of information available only to specialists. To coordinate the operations of a large number of specialists is again a specific technique involving the cooperation of large numbers of person. The great body of knowledge, skills, and techniques required is available to no one person. It becomes a function of social organization, which to be understood, must itself be the subject of scientific study. The system cannot be operated effectively by the hunches, guesses, fears, and hopes of widely scattered amateurs who happen to be owners. Neither can it be controlled as a consequence of the collective morality of a self-contained community which is itself now merely one part of the necessary system.
Neither the old variety of collective ownership represented in such examples as the Russian Mir nor the individual produced in a self-contained community is equipped with means or guided toward ends adequate to deal with all the factors involved in operating high-energy technology. The freedom of choice of such individuals is, in fact if not in myth, a definitely limited one. The owner is no more free of these limits in making his choices than is any other than is any other cooperator in production. The ways in which he might wish to use his property are as apt to be incompatible with the actual achievement of his goals as those of any other person involved. There is no omniscience attached to ownership. Unless we can show some divine power operating specially to provide owners with information and guidance not available to other citizens, we must assume that their choices are also subject to error.
Collectivism versus individualism
Under the few extensive political systems existing in low-energy societies in the past, whatever necessary coordination was required either was by direct political means, such as taxation, or through the extension of the idea that personal property was vested in some divinely ordained person such as the Monarch. Acts that interfered with the Monarch’s rights were barred, and vast areas were made subject to controls not dependent upon local decision. But when a local system was made subordinate to a more extensive one, it was not necessary to alter it greatly. A wide variance in morality from region to region was consonant with production, since in each case the productive system was relatively self- contained. The only alteration that might be required was to develop the right of the sovereign to remove surpluses from the locality in which they were produced. No concept of functional interdependence and no specialized but subordinate morality were necessarily involved. Such “ownership” by kings or churches could thus provide for production with low-energy systems. The question as to whether it could supply a property system adequate for the widespread integration of specialize communities and occupations required by high-energy technology is another proposition.
This is not to say that it is impossible to create and adequate collective property concept because of some obstacle in terms of human nature. The argument that the hedonistic calculus, the instinct of property, or some other inherent characteristic or man prevents the operation of collective property concepts is fairly easily refuted. History, psychology, and anthropology demonstrate that organisms apparently anatomically indistinguishable from modern man did create systems in which the very concept of the individual as we understand it was complete unknown. Many millions of people now living are so completely identified with others in a community that the concept of private property in land, for example, is absolutely unknown. There is ample evidence that a collectivist concept of property of the old communal variety has existed, but the question as to whether it can be maintained under the conditions required for the use of high-energy converters is not answered in the affirmative by the evidence.
The old collective concept of property arose out of the close relationships between groups, the mutual support of dominant institutions, and local interdependence created by a relatively simple and self-contained system of division of labor. As was indicated earlier, it is maintained by the group processes operative in such situations. So it would seem that if these conditions are changed the old concepts will be altered. Since high-energy technology does require changes in these relations, it follows that any return to the old types of communism based on communally generated attitudes is impossible. The Marxian utopia, in which the “state will wither away” because everyone is automatically taught to want to do what he has to do is thus obviously incompatible with the use of Again, obviously, ownership carries with it no talisman to make judgment infallible. The owner is likely to be confused by his conflicting loyalties, objectives, and identifications as is any other person in the society.
When we apply these generalizations to the specific operations which the owner is supposed to perform, we face a reality which makes the de facto dominance of the owner almost impossible. Since the accumulation of converters required to make extensive use of high-energy technology is very great, the ownership of shares in such converters must, if widespread private property is to survive, be extremely widely scattered. Very few of the investors in production goods in such a system have any intimate knowledge of the industries in which they invest. In fact the tendency in capitalist countries is, in order to spread the risk, to make investment a second-or-third-hand operation by participation in retirement funds, insurance, the purchase of annuities, and other similar means. This results in a situation where the “owner” does not even know in which operations his claims are vested. In a socialist society, in which he “owns” part of everything, he is even more ignorant. He is thus stripped of all effective means of making his choices known, except for the final one of receiving the goods delivered as a result of his investment or of exchanging this claim for some other similar claim on future goods. It is obvious that this is not ownership in the old sense any more than ownership of a horse can be acquired by betting on his performance in a race. The position of a stockholder is perhaps more nearly parallel to the betting situation than it is to the earlier but still current mythical concept of private property in corporate stocks. Obviously the myth, however required by tradition, is not functional in terms of the actual determination of how the products of energy will be distributed through society.
In the West ownership in the sight of the law is a bundle of rights that are presumably exercisable by the owner of a thing. These rights are defined by the state, which protects the owner in their exercise. But there is no way that the state can prevent that abdication of these rights by an owner, which is a common occurrence. Many property rights: can be contractually waived in such a manner that their subsequent reassertion will be denied by the state. Unless these rights are closely identified with other rights considered to be inalienable, the state will even enforce a contract which operates to deprive an owner of his property rights; witness, for example, the legality of nonvoting stock or the court denial of access to the books of a corporation to one of its stockholders. This process of abdication has been pragmatically justified in that it permitted the development of the high-energy society. The myth making it moral is not widely established as yet.
The reasons for this abdication will probably be better understood if we recall the historic process by which it came about. As already noted, during the period of dominance of sail the sharing of risk and sharing of surplus derived from the use of the ship was morally sanctioned. It became clear that in the operation of the ship there was a possibility of gain and of loss far in excess of the amount that could be regularly gained or lost through the average operations of low-energy system. At first the captain of the ship, usually a considerable owner in his own right, made the actual operational decisions – when to sail, what to ship, when and to whom and at what price to sell. Slowly companies of owners, retired captains, or financiers assumed those of the captain’s functions which could be handled by agents on land. Sound business judgment was thus made consistently available to the company of gentlemen; the best seaman and navigator would not necessarily be familiar with the market, the quality of the goods, or even the social customs of all the places in which he might have to trade. Special charters were granted by European sovereigns, vesting in such companies, usually in return for a share of the profits, joint rights of operation under a common title. Property was thus made a collective right of the company. This was a modern revival of the corporation, a body as well known to Roman law as ???, the individual. British and other Western law continued to be phrased as though it dealt only with individuals, but it did in fact endow these companies with a fictitious corporate personality. This personality exercised the actual functions of ownership, which were thus severally stripped from the person of the owners.
The growth of these companies specially endowed with rights was rapid as British institutions (along with similar French, Dutch, Spanish, and other Western property systems) spread in all the areas engaged in trade and it was accelerated by the advent of steam. The idea was adopted widely in the emergent social system of the United States. The corruption of legislatures by businessmen in pursuit of the special privileges that incorporation offered finally led state legislatures in the United States to set up means through which to grant charters almost automatically to all comers meeting specific requirements. Finally, under and interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, corporations were endowed with the elements as the law could confer. The growth of the corporation has been similar wherever Roman law previously existed. In some cases, the survival of feudal and familial institutions permitted vast concentration of wealth without the use of the corporation. This trend was particularly marked in China and in France. In Russia the Bolsheviks were able to seize control whether it was vested in the person or in the corporation and to abolish private title to land and to producers’ goods. They set out to distribute claims on consumption directly, without resort to claims based on the ownership of production goods. Here, too, trusts exercise elements of ownership similar to those exercised in the United States. Variations of these several methods of control can be found in all countries which have made any use of high-energy converters.
Capitalistic versus communistic ownership
Whether one examines the operations of a Russian trust or of an American corporation, it becomes clear that control is not effectively exercised by owners. How effective the average American stockholder in a giant corporation may be in exercising his rights as owner as compared with the average Russian (who presumable owns what is managed by bureaucracy) is a matter of degree. This separation of ownership from control makes it impossible for either system effectively to claim that it is in the power of the owner to make the judgments necessary to keep the system in equilibrium. Control is far more likely to rest in the hands of those who determine the ends for which the society exists and the present value of goods and services, and in the hands of the technicians who make the system serve those ends and yield those goods, than it is in the hands of most of those with legal claim to ownership. As a matter of fact, where the ends are well known and accepted almost universally and the means to attain them are known to depend on expert knowledge, as in war or education, the elimination of the whole concept of ownership is common, and definition is made only in terms of control. Who “owns” the Army, or Harvard University? For purposes of making contracts with private persons the Army or Harvard is treated as a corporation, but the relationship to the “owners” is so ephemeral that no amount of effort to get people to act as if they owned the property in questions is effective. Almost identical attitudes prevail among the great majority of the “owners” of AT & T and the TVA. What comes clear is that the ends are made to justify the means, and control rather than ownership of the means is important. That is, we ask not what the owner wants but whose ends the corporation he owns is serving. At times some of the larges corporations have operated without paying a single cent in dividends. All the producers except owners – management, labor, suppliers of materials, and government – have been rewarded, but not the stockholders. It is absurd to hold that these businesses were run for the benefit of their owners, or were serving the self-interest of property holders. If we examine the situation in Russia under the Communists or in Germany under the Nazis, we find the same paradoxical condition to exist in so far as effective control of the citizen “owner” is concerned.
Management functions to satisfy some ends. The discovery of what ends, or whose ends, it’s made not by definition in terms of ownership but by ascertaining who was actually served by the activities of the industry. If, in fact, it serves groups and individuals with many divergent ends, this fact cannot be disregarded in understanding the survival of the system. Close observation will show that the ends served are created by many competing groups and institutions. Management is required to serve all of them in some degree. The degree to which the ends of one or another group are served will reveal something of the strength of the values created and mediated. If a “profit-motivated” society serves the ends of the state to the amount of 40 or 50 percent of all the goods and services produced, there is no basis for assignging “profit” as the motive for that production. The fact that the eventual profit taker seeks to maximize his return makes him, in that respect, no different from groups such as management and labor. Similarly, the Russian state, as profit taker, must consider the limits within which it may take profits if cooperation among producing groups is to be maintained.
New forms of organization
The separation of ownership from control involves a whole new series of relationships which the myth of ownership does not cover. The growth of corporate property has technological roots. It will not be exorcised by fleeing from one ideology to another. The emergence of a new morality and law reflecting the reality is slow, but the reality of corporate loyalty as distinguished from community identification or national patriotism constantly thrusts itself forward for recognition.
Concomitant with this development there has been an increase in organization among other groups involved in production. “Labor” has undergone many of the same kinds of change that characterized property owning. The worker, stripped of the protection previously afforded by local morality, and brought into competition with another, cheaper converter, wielded by a powerful organization of property, found himself unable alone to compete successfully for his share of the new surpluses. The old organization of artisans has not been adequate to meet these conditions. In place of the simple and limited local systems, which included the master craftsmen and owners, there have grown up, wherever high-energy technology has come into sue, very extensive and powerful organizations confided to those working with their hands and brains and not engaged in supervision, planning, or the broader aspects of production. The auspices under which the new techniques were introduced have affected the rate at which labor organization has grown in numbers and in power. Nowhere, however, has some growth in one or both respects been lacking. Similar organizations of other types of producers have also made their appearance. “Functional” organization thus competes with the community to determine the values of the individual.
These substantive changes that are required in high-energy society are frequently made so quickly that the rate at which change occurs becomes in itself a factor affecting the kind of society that emerges. Changes in means, since they violate the codes shared, become, in fact, as difficult to alter as changes in ends. A relatively small group wielding the power of modern converters can coerce a much larger one with less energy at its command. There are, of course, limits on what can be done with power alone. Today when a powerful minority undertakes a technological revolution it is likely to change things so quickly that adjustment is made with great difficultly. Consequently there is likely to be widespread personal as well as social disorganization.
Obviously, social codes attempt to control behavior generally thought to be possible; there is little need to prohibit what it is clear to all men is impossible. However, limits to action which appear to be fixed and stable when only small amounts of energy are available become, in fact, much more fluid as the available energy increases. High-energy converters come to replace other means at those points at which they least violate old controls. This puts the old system on the defensive. It becomes necessary to accept the new means, together with the old changes which this step introduces, or to create new sanctions which will prevent their further use. Many of the old sanctioned ways cannot be preserved if only those controls which were already internalized by early experience among the members of the population are used. Men who had agreed upon the sacred finality of the relation between means and ends must now find reasons for accepting or rejecting the new. The assertion that only this means will serve to attain this end collapses before demonstration that it is not so. In such cases pragmatic sanctions must replace sacred obligation, prudence replace piety. Frequently in the effort to maintain old ends in the face of this threat, new and untried means are adopted which have the effect of destroying the ends which they were invented to uphold. Militant defense of pacifism, coercion to make people democratic, the use of force to make people compete in defense of a system of thought that holds competition to be so natural that it cannot in fact be prevented, wars to end war — these and many other situations come to mind. The “sacred” elements of the culture are often undermined neither by the inability of these ways directly to withstand the competition of the new means-ends relationship or by the means adopted to bolster them up.
The series then runs something like this: Increase in the use of high-energy converters leads to the creation of large production units. This in turn requires concentration of control. The use of high-energy technology also requires a tremendous increase in the specialization of labor, with increased development of specialized codes governing specific areas of performance. The change is likely to be rapid, forcing a reconsideration of previously sanctioned means-ends relationships. The old process by which economic production was locally sanctioned under a unified “sacred” social system thus comes under attack as soon as high-energy converters come into use. Because it is only one of many structures serving economic functions, in the high-energy society the local community can serve the larger society only by continuous connection with other specialized communities. Frequently efforts to integrate the community by interfering with other types of organization threaten the welfare of individuals, groups, and institutions which are dependent upon the wider network of relationships. The reaction is apt to be shaper and ruthless, the whole power of these other groups or organizations being brought to bear upon the recalcitrant area to force it to acquiesce in the new arrangements.
Depersonalization of the individual
Integration, then must take place at some “higher” level, if at all. Barring this, there will be a kind of unstable equilibrium among contending groups promoting conflicting values. The individual as a focal point for these contending values frequently no longer finds in his early experience a model for behavior which will necessarily provide societal or personal integration. Rather he is forced to choose among the demands of various codes as the situation he is in brings them into competition one with another. Most of the satisfaction he receives no longer comes from socially sanctioned acts of production.
Now whatever explanations of personality are offered by the various psychological systems, all agree that early development in the family and in the neighborhood groups in which the child finds himself have much to do with the conception of the self that arises out of his experience. The roles assigned in low-energy society tended, for the reasons already given, to be more or less compatible with one another. Those who had to play a number of them and share intimately the lives of others who also played such roles had the means to bring role requirements into the least tolerable alignment. What was required of the father in his role as breadwinner, for example, could not long stand in the way of his playing the role of husband. Even if the formal code remain unchanged, sanctions must be such at lest as to tolerate his defection from on or another of the mutually conflicting formal requirements. We are familiar with the pseudo maintenance of sanctions (an example is the insistence in the United States that marriage is permanent, when in fact divorce is frequent and in many areas there is almost no external consequent of divorce other than those that arise from the severance of the marriage relation itself). Similar conditions exist in low-energy society. The actual course of events which follows violation of a norm is quite other than that formally presecribed. Nevertheless, it is generally true that the roles learned by the child and the codes governing his conduct are likely to be such as to prepare him for the roles he will actually play in adult life. The process of assigning new roles to be played as he grows older is likely to be formally recognized, and an organized means to make the adjustment in roles is socially provided.
In the high-energy society only a few generalized roles, such as that of “citizen,” remain. No adequate system of preparing the individual to meet the changing demands of his changing roles can be set up, for no one know how these demands will be changed or which role will be expected of any particular individual. The most that the society can do is teach him to be prepared without much notice to meet the requirements of new situations without disturbing others. Ultimately, this fluidity will presumably decrease and stability will set in, but such equilibrium seems now to be far off.
The rapid appearance of a multiplicity of specialists produces a situation in which many of them have become completely anonymous. Thousands of occupations exist which have not even a name except on the payroll, the labor contract, or the job contract, or the job catalogue. There is no status attached to them. They have no social meaning, save perhaps in the work group itself, and even this may not be significant. No one knows what to expect of a person performing such a role, or can the person discover through widespread community definition what he has a right to expect of others. No general code defines for him what is “good” behavior in such a way as to provide guidance in specific situations. Emergence of a social definition of an occupational role, is itself frequently interrupted by a change in or the disappearance of a job or its transference to a new geographic region, where it has a different setting. The consequence is that there is general lack of coherence among the changing roles assigned to some individuals.
It is assumed here that values develop from experience. Common values than presuppose common experience. As has just been pointed out, high-energy technology has the effect of subjecting various groups and individuals to widely varied situations and conditions. Relations between acts and their consequences are influenced by the requirements of changing technology or of the social organization by which the society is operated. In such circumstances experience becomes almost as specialized and disparate as the various processes of production distribution. Social organization involved in production is more and more circumscribed by technological requirements and is less and less immediately derived from recognition, in the production process, of the social needs of the individuals who engage in it. Justification is not often found in the acts of production; it is found, if at all in the contributions which such acts make to consumers of the goods or services produced.
Put another way, what has been said implies that the individual in high-energy society has lost most of his indexes to the worth of his services. He must evaluate them in terms of the reaction of consumers who in most cases are completely unknown to him, know very little of what he does for them, and care even less. Self-evaluation in such circumstances becomes extremely difficult, and there is apt to be a lack of correspondence between the individual’s conception of himself that arises from his experiences in early life and the evaluation of him that stems from the adult roles that he plays.
The lack of coherence in the experiences of the average man has, of course, been accentuated by the appearance of high-speed communication. The coordination in time and space required for the operation of even the comparatively slow railroad traffic of the early nineteenth century made the apparent value of high-speed communication very great. Brought into use originally to serve the railroads, it was quickly adapted to other purposed. Operating with the speed of light, the telegraph made all points on a telegraph circuit as measured in time equally distant. Thus words and symbols could be used to represent events torn from the context in which they originally occurred. In low-energy society the same converter served for production, transportation, and communication: today the three are separated. Thus, stripped from its relations to things and events for which it originally stood, the symbol might now denote the same thing but connote altogether different things in the place of its origin and that of its reception. As a consequence, the stimuli to which each person effectively cooperating in a production system might have to respond became enormously more diverse, and at the same time, less surely comprehensible than would have been either necessary or possible in low-energy systems.
For many reasons, then, high-energy society tends to “build into” personality the basis for conflict between what the individual is taught to expect and what will probably happen. There is no assurance that if he follows the course socially prescribed he will achieve the goals sought. Far from having a set of prescribed courses of action certain to justify his conduct socially no matter what its results for him personally, he is constantly confronted by the necessity to make choices whose outcome is unpredictable. His decisions, even if made at the sacrifice of his immediate personal goals, may actually undermine and destroy what he is trying to defend.
The individual is part of no integrated and organic whole; rather he is intimately part of many groups, some of which are in competition with others for dominance or survival. The acts demanded by one group may be condemned by another. The systems of values acquired in childhood in a local community prove inadequate as a guide to adult behavior. (Even the golden rule works only when people agree on how they would have others do to them.) Guidance by an inner voice reflecting a multitude of experiences in childhood, all part of a new-work of impressions creating the “subconscious mind,” gives way to considered choice among competing claims. There is no certainty that the peculiar hierarchy of values which characterized the ccc the modal men in the past will characterize result from the experiences of the modal man in the future.
Consequently, it becomes ever more difficult to predict in what particular order values will emerge. Production of goods and services, since it must satisfy this shifting and disordered system of choices, ceases to be an automatic function of the community or the personality. Rather, it is based on the calculation of what is likely most closely to fit the patterns of emerging values. Production must now be justified not for its own sake but for the effects upon the consumer of the goods and services offered.
This is a chapter from Energy and Society: The Relationship Between Energy, Social Change, and Economic Development (e-book).
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