The industrial revolution changed human life in countless ways, good and bad. The greatest of its horrors is the way people can be made to live like machines – born in production-line hospitals, raised in production-line schools, only to eke out their days in concrete boxes working on more production lines, until they are processed back through the hospital and the crematorium.
For the first hundred years or so, industrialism made possible the accumulation of immense amounts of capital, which came to be seen as the great problem of the world by Marx and others. Another hundred years saw much of the world engulfed by conflict between ‘capitalism’ and communism, neither of which could make people happy and free. Wealth could be acquired and power centralized with frightening ease and rapidity. On either side of the curtain, the terrible machine of forced state schooling and the many-headed monster of monopolized media turned even people’s hearts and minds into capital to be cynically controlled.
But industrialism is starting to pay back, at last. The incredible speed of technological advance in the last few decades has meant that communication has, at least temporarily, got ahead of the ability of governments and monopolies to control it. It’s hard to say how long it will be before they catch up. But we might as well make a desperate bid for freedom while we have the chance. This blog is my attempt to contribute to that – to cry to my fellow prisoners to make for the break in the fence, to rescue their minds and their children from the monster and the machine. If I may borrow a phrase: We have nothing to lose but our chains.