The inventor of the wheelbarrow must have been a lazy fellow. He must have had a little leisure to think out a way whereby he could have much more. In the eyes of the full-employment brigade he was a criminal. We prefer to call this unknown thinker a benefactor of humanity. Having thought out the general principle of a wheelbarrow he set to work sawing planks, making a wheel, fastening the variously shaped parts together. Let's hope it worked first time. Now the principle of a wheelbarrow is this. Assuming that the centre of gravity of barrow and load is halfway between where the wheel touches the ground and the handles, then the operator carries half the load and the earth carries the other half. The effort required to move one ton of earth from A to B is considerably reduced by using a wheelbarrow, whether the primitive method was using a hod or something even more laborious. This inventor therefore was one of the millions who each have contributed their quota in lifting the curse of Adam off our shoulders. He could please himself whether he worked, say, half time for the same reward, or the same time for double, or relied on a share of the profits of others for whom he made new wheelbarrows, or a combination of these. The point to stress is that neither he nor his fellows would suffer from his invention, but then in those days there were no blatantly misleading mass propaganda from which we suffer to-day. To suggest that the construction of wheelbarrows will occupy more time and take more effort than the work saved is so ridiculous that no sane and honest person will do so.
Yet that is precisely the argument that is being put forward in connection with the coming Second Industrial Revolution. Atomic Power and Automation apply the same principle as the wheelbarrow except on a vastly greater scale. The wheelbarrow relieved the operator of about half the effort previously required of him, A.P.A. will carry all but about one hundred thousandth of the effort. The criminally stupid policy of our financial system insists that before a person can have access to goods and services, already produced by human effort plus machine plus power, he must give more human effort equivalent to all three. It is therefore not surprising that employees on the whole are terrified of A.P.A. just as hand weavers were terrified of the power loom. The consolation being handed out is to the effect that production of automatic machinery will make more work than it replaces. We have already considered this argument as it applies to the wheelbarrow and found it ridiculous. Let us consider it in a modern setting.
Let us picture a manufacturer of clothing. A traveller calls on him with particulars of a machine which will enable the manufacturer to save £10,000 per annum in wages. It turns out that the machine costs £30,000 and lasts two years when it is scrap. Is the manufacturer likely to buy? What he will do is to throw the traveller out on his ear if the latter doesn't go quickly of his own accord. The manufacturer can afford to acquire only such machines whose cost of replacement is considerably less than the reduction effected in wages saved by the machine.
It is to be hoped that readers of this periodical have noticed the significance of frantic attempts to mislead the public on the effects of. A.P.A.
There are honourable exceptions but these are few and not to be found in the daily newspapers. The very flood of misrepresentation, subtle and clever, is evidence of the determination of certain sections, interested in the progressive enslavement of men and women, to clamp the chains on all of us and in no circumstances to allow A.P.A, to benefit the great mass of the public. What better evidence, short of the final act of enslavement, could anyone expect?
* Reprinted from VOICE (Belfast), Aug, 13/55.
There can be only one sane application of labour-saving devices; the saving of human labour. To present them as a means for finding employment in their manufacture shows an evil ulterior motive, power mania. This propaganda, even before the full impact of A.P.A. has begun to be felt, is so perversive and so persuasive that there are, on the market a number of alleged laboursaving devices that in fact are mere gadgets and don't in the long run save the purchaser's labour at all. This applies largely to domestic appliances. The manufacturer can't afford to be caught like that, or he would soon be out of business. Every Christian must regard it as a prime duty of great urgency to counter the brain-washing to which this and every other nation is being subjected. Happiness and development of self are not to be achieved by the accumulation of gadgets and distractions. It can be achieved by simplifying one's life. This Christian aim is evidently anathema to the power maniac, hence the effort to instil a work complex into a largely simple and unsuspecting public. People must learn and learn soon that the promise of leisure in 2 years, 20 years, or 200 years coming from politicians, who from their actions are servants of the power maniacs, is a mere carrot. If we allow it we are asses. What weren't we promised by these politicians 2, 10, 20, 30 years ago? What is wanted is the implementation of a leisure policy now, at once.
* H. R. PURCHASE