There is one type of mind which finds it tempting to stress the contrast between the world of today and that of yesterday and to think of change as a series of big fresh starts: there is another type congenitally disposed to believe that there is nothing new under the sun, that all that has been said and done has happened before. As between these two extremes, both likely to give a distorted perspective, there can be little doubt that the greater part of modern writing about invention and technical progress strongly inclines to the view that we live in a new world in which thinking of the present or the future in terms of past experience is largely irrelevant, and that our ideas must be recast and our institutions reformed to fit fresh surroundings. Social scientists are now tending to speak with more confidence about the scale on which inventions will be made and the sources from which they will arise. There have, indeed, been some odd switches of thought since the end of the First World War. In the early 1930’s it was widely believed that technical progress would normally be so swift and disturbing that a high level of ‘technological’ unemployment would be usual and inevitable.
KeywordsNineteenth Century Technical Progress Modern View Individual Inventor Flickering Light
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.