Saturday, July 08, 2006


On anti-Luddism

From Das Kapital:

Gentlemen of the jury, no doubt the throat of this commercial traveller has been cut. But that is not my fault, it is the fault of the knife. Must we, for such a temporary inconvenience, abolish the use of the knife? Only consider! Where would agriculture and trade be without the knife? Is it not as salutary in surgery as it is skilled in anatomy? And a willing assistant at the festive table? If you abolish the knife - you hurl us back into the depths of barbarism.

(Quoted by F. Wheen, whose Marx biography is tremendous fun, via Norm.)

This is a very nice bit of satire, and it explains very well why I think it's more than a bit unfair that "Luddite" has become a term of abuse.

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