"The times they’re a ‘changing."
Part one of the first p6rinted words of a group of scientists who applied their science to the social field.
After World War I the dislocation of the commodity exchange method of distributing goods and services, and of economics in general became apparent. The disrupted conditions at that time led to an investigation,, which in turn uncovered the astounding yet almost obvious fact, that the only common denominator of all commodities and services, is energy.
Why should this astound anyone? Well read on.
As scientists when we explored the past our interest centered naturally, upon items of evidence which would disclose the methods - the techniques - through which man has turned the things of his environment to account.
Throughout history man has found his own security in the insecurity of others, has found his own economic and cultural haven at the expense of poverty and subservience in the majority, has found that a higher station in life was possible only for the few not the multitude.
A gigantic struggle has been going on to erase from the face of the earth all evil between people, races, nations. The approach has been an attempt at reforming and converting the individual with the hope that a sufficient number of `good' gathered in all lands might allow a lasting agreement upon the existing physical conflicts to be to be achieved. There is no need to picture here the futility of this approach and it's very evident failure to accomplish the idealistic dreams.
Our approach, as interpreters of applied physical science who distinctly disclaimer as a motivating force any idealistic search for truth, love, peace, harmony, and other imponderables. was to undertake an analysis of the operational problems of the North American Continental area.
From this analysis was synthesized a technological design of social operation which we predict as "the next most probable form of social control in North America."
Mans' written history goes back some 6,000 years, when we explored the past our interest centered naturally upon items of evidence which would disclose the methods - the techniques - through which man has turned the things of his environment to account. The records of archaeology yielded very little that we could use, for men in this field have been preoccupied with matters other than the state of the industrial arts, quantitative measurements of the energy resources available in a given case, and the quantitive relation between the rates at which man has been able to convert energy to use forms.
From the fragments of archaeological explorations and more recent(1919-1932) explorations of scientists, we have been able to put together the outlines of a quantitative record of: the changing states of the industrial arts and mans' unfolding ability to turn the energy resources of his environment into the things he wants.
The outstanding feature of that record is the controlling nature of the prevailing technology at any given time upon the course of subsequent events -that is to say, upon social change.
- From our viewpoint, man has experienced but few sweeping social changes, that is, few conversion changes in the rates of energy; and these are widely separated in point of time.
The domestication of the crop plants and the development of them in a dim, historic past thrust man into a larger control of his environment - that is to use a technological term, into a new energy state.
In the same way the domestication of animals gave him new powers to command and carried him a little farther along the way of control. The introduction of these two factors each in it's turn, wrought revolutionary changes in the social scheme under which he had lived.
Following these two technological changes man did little from the dawn of history to the middle of the eighteenth century to increase his powers or to alter his energy state.
What man could produce during that long period was largely a matter of what he could produce with his hands. Vast stores of energy were available then, as now, but his use of them - his ability to convert energy to use forms - was largely limited to the rate at which he could turn the energy of the food which he consumed into work performed by hand. Mans own body whether free or slave, was the only energy conversion device available over a period of countless centuries.
Up to the middle of the eighteenth century, the number of man-hours required to cultivate an given area of land or to quarry any given volume of stone or to transport it, or to any given piece of work, remained approximately the same as was the case of 6,000 years earlier.
People are in the habit of thinking of this stretch of some 60centuries as one of ever changing social schemes. It is true, forms of government passed one after the other; and cultural patterns ran their course, from ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, to the middle ages and the Renaissance of Europe, but _to a technologist,_ these 60 centuries covered a steady state of mans ability to deal with the material factors of his environment. It covered a steady state in the rate of energy conversion.
For the entire period, the standard of living - the common welfare - was definitely, quantitatively limited to the work that man could do with his hands, tools, and a few crude machines that added little to his power. In order to be successful in larger projects control of the many by the few became the norm.
The first engine of energy conversion, other than the human body, free or slave, that was of social significance was the crude Newcomen atmospheric steam engine of 1712, of approximately seven (7) horsepower. This engine approached it’s maximum in 1772 in the Chase water development with an energy conversion of76.5 H.P. Here is a 765 fold increase of rate over the human engine. (0.1 H.P.)
In the late eighteenth century Watt brought out the first true steam engine. This type reached it's maximum in the 2,500 H.P. Corless at the centennial exhibition of 1876. The reciprocating engine of conversion it's maximum rate of output in the marine triple expansion development of the 1890s. In this type the rate of energy conversion jumped to 234,000 times the rate of the human engine, as calculated on a 24 hour basis, for this engine can work three shifts every day!
In 1776 A.D., as the United States of America was formulating it's social design, a `knock-off' from the European hand tool culture, J. Watt was putting into motion events which would by 1919 A.D. invalidate it!
Water wheels were known to the ancients as more or less practical toys, even in the 18th. century the most efficient size of water wheels seemed to be limited to 20ft. in diameter producing about 5 H.P.. They were not practical until 1832 - Fourneyron's 50 H.P. turbine type wheel. In 1855 an 800 H.P. turbine was installed in Paris. In 1891 there was a 5,000 H.P. generating turbine at Niagara Falls. In 1933 there was 60,000 H.P.
Just as we can say that the maximum rate of output of ancient Egypt rarely exceeded 150,000 H.P. for 8 hours on a basis of 1.5 million adult workers we can point out that prior to the first quarter of the 19th. century, of our own era, engines of conversion were under 200 lbs. in weight with an output of 0.1H.P. per unit per 8 hour day. (a human engine)
Only Two-hundred-twenty years ago, the first significant change in the rate of energy conversion occurred, it marked the beginning of social change.
A magnitude and rate of doing work which could not have been even dreamed of by a pre-nineteenth century mind. This tremendous acceleration in the rate of doing work has altered the entire physical complex of social existence. Hence our postulate
Technology is today the only basic cause of social change.
During the 200,000 years prior to 1800 A.D. the biological progression of man, in his struggle for subsistence on this earth, had advanced so far that the world population in that year reached the approximate number of 850millions. During the subsequent 132 years, it reached approximately 1.8billions. In other words the population increase in that 132years was greater than it was in the previous 200,000!
DFRs Addendum: 1999 Pop. 6 billions