[Marxism] Fwd: Is 'Progress' Good for Humanity? - The Atlantic

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Sep 12 07:19:45 MDT 2014

All of this is to say that the simple-minded narrative of progress needs 
to be rethought. This is not a new idea: In fact, critics of 
industrialization lived throughout the Industrial Revolution, even if 
their message was often drowned out by the clanking sounds of primitive 
engines. In their own particular ways, thinkers and activists as diverse 
as Thomas Malthus, Friedrich Engels, the Luddites, John Stuart Mill, 
Henry David Thoreau, William Wordsworth, and John Muir criticized some 
or all aspects of the Industrial Revolution. The narrative of 
industrial-growth-as-progress that became the story of the period 
occurred despite their varied protestations. The Luddites questioned the 
necessity of machines that put so many people out of work. Engels 
questioned the horrendous living and working conditions experienced by 
the working classes and drew links between economic changes, social 
inequality, and environmental destruction. Thoreau questioned the need 
for modern luxuries. Mill questioned the logic of an economic system 
that spurred endless growth. Muir revalorized the natural world, which 
had been seen as little more than a hindrance to wealth creation and the 
spread of European settler societies around the globe.


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