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The Story of Industrial Civilization: Impacts on Work, Home, and Leisure

September 19, 2021 at 10:00 am - 1:00 pm PDT

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Progress writer Jason Crawford is writing a book about the modern world and how it was invented. In a series of salons, we will explore this content together, chapter by chapter, and get an inside look at the author’s creative process.

Behind the world of our daily lives, there is a hidden world, one that keeps our world running. It is an industrial world, one of factories, engines, chemicals, and infrastructure, that most people rarely notice or appreciate. But every piece of it is a solution to a problem: a way to satisfy human needs in the face of nature’s constraints.

Session 5, Impacts on Work, Home, and Leisure:

We’ve now seen how material abundance was created through better chemistry, mechanization, and applied energy. These fundamental technologies transformed daily life both at home and at work. Homes became vastly more convenient and comfortable, featuring central heating and air conditioning, bathrooms with indoor plumbing, electric appliances, and telephone service. Things traditionally made at home, especially clothes and prepared foods, were increasingly purchased instead, saving time and trouble. And work improved as well. It has become safer, and less physically demanding, as we moved from farms to factories to offices. It has become more enjoyable and rewarding, as machines automated first physical tasks and then routine mental ones. Most of all, it has become more productive. As a result, real wages have soared—but also, we work less: fewer working hours, weekends, vacations, retirement, and the end of child labor.

Crawford will open the salon by talking about his research and writing on the topic so far, followed by discussion and Q&A.



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September 19, 2021
10:00 am - 1:00 pm PDT
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