Christian based service movement warning about threats to rights and freedoms irrespective of the label.
The Local World - Part I & II by Geoffrey Dobbs
A Sequel to: On Planning the Earth
First published in Home journal
To begin with, please bear with a little necessary autobiography. Hitherto, in writing I have tried to avoid the first person singular, on the grounds that it was the content and not the writer to which I wanted to draw the reader's attention. Here also the intention is the same, but I am bound to abandon this rule since I cannot try to re-establish the continuity of the present and the past without referring to my own experience.
Forty years and more ago I wrote a series of essays under the title "On Planning the Earth" which appeared serially in a weekly paper, though they were not brought out as a book until 1951. At the time they constituted the sole published criticism of and opposition on fundamental grounds to the massively urged policy of large-scale, centralised land-planning, as represented particularly by the Tennessee Valley Authority, and propagandised by some 3500 hooks and pamphlets, of which the best-known was TVA-Democracy on the March, by David Lilienthal, the Chairman of the Authority - a Penguin Special with 208 pages of advocacy, 8 pages of photographs, for 9d (=3.75p).
I remember that this somewhat inverted assault upon a David turned-Goliath was greeted by the Daily Mail with an unexpected, if jeering headline. The book sold a few hundred copies which soon descended to a trickle and about half the edition was remaindered. Twenty-five years later when events had rubbed in its message with quite appalling force, it attracted the award of a Senior Visiting Scholarship at an Institute in Menlo Park. California, with residence on Stanford University campus, coinciding with the visit of Professor von Hayek and his School of 'Austrian' economists to the same institute; which is quite another story.
The first Part of "On Planning the Earth," was written and published in 1944 and was concerned with defending the soil against wholesale interference by remote financial and political agencies.
"You cannot enforce good farming by laws, restrictions and penalties. Such an idea can arise only from a childish misconception of the complexity of the links between men, animals, plants, micro-organisms, and the soil."
The Second Part was written after a delay of five years, during which the Tennessee Valley with its huge hydro-electric power had produced the first Atom Bomb, and its Chairman had become the Chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, and a key member of the committee which made the decision to produce the H-Bomb. So much, then, for all that splendid and heavily financed ecological 'jargon about grass-roots democracy and conservation which was used to 'sell' the TVA in the 1930s and has now become so innocently fashionable among the 'Greens.'
The book, as it stands, has a message for today in that it puts on contemporary record the origins of the major menace to our lives and our planet which now arouses such passionate protest. It puts the case for 'smallness' and the dangers of ' 'bigness' twenty years before E. F. Schumacher coined that luminous phrase Small is Beautiful. It puts forward an ecologist's and soil microbiologist's defence of the integrity of the soil more than a decade before Rachel Carson's Silent Spring shook the world and initiated the 'Green' movement. It is a voice crying in what was then a wilderness, which had something to say that was rejected then, and is now ever, more urgently needed if this now fashionable and growing movement is not to follow the path of all previous movements for human advancement which have grown too great and felt the temptations of power.
For some years now, I have been urged to write a sequel, or a Third Part to bring it up to date and readable by the young of today. But when I contemplate the task, the gap between my age and their youth appals me. It is like the gap in technology between a man of the Bronze Age and of the late Nineteenth Century. I have to start again where I was born, in a London with horse buses, gas lighting and gold and silver coinage.
* * * * *
It is not surprising that what is known as the generation gap has widened almost beyond bridging during the twentieth century. Even apart from the shattering effect of two World Wars, both resulting in a State dictatorship over the lives of the people, plus the immense power of the centralised media penetrating into every home, the staggering rush of physical and mental change was bound to disrupt the normal process of cultural growth and its handing on from one generation to the next. In view of what has happened it is perhaps surprising that the disruption is not even more complete.
My first enthusiasm as a schoolboy was divided between poetry and astronomy. It was Sir Oliver Lodge's book "Pioneers of Science," (1895) which was largely responsible for making me change from the Classical to the Science side at school, followed by Sir Robert Ball's "Story of the Heavens," (1905) added to my grandfather's 12 inch Newtonian reflecting telescope in its garden observatory, which I hastened to copy, with much avuncular help in grinding my 6½ inch mirror. With this I discovered such objects as the Great Nebula in Andromeda (as it was known then) and even a strange oval which wouldn't focus until it suddenly leapt into recognition as the planet Saturn. What a thrill!
But what a vast expansion in our picture of the Universe has happened since then when the nebulae of space were still classified as 'galactic' and 'extra-galactic,' though the similarity of some of the latter, especially the nearest one in Andromeda, to our Milky Way, had long been a matter for speculation! Now we know that our Milky Way is but one in a local cluster of galaxies among innumerable others of many different sorts -- as great a discovery as was the earlier one that our Sun is one star among innumerable others, which in turn was as great a revolution as was the discovery that the Sun, not the earth, was the centre of the Universe.
The Visited Moon
The most magnificent object in the Heavens to be seen in a small telescope is, of course the Moon, which is also notoriously, an object of poetic inspiration. Hence, a sonnet by the young astronomer -one of three verses which won the Milton Prize at Milton's school, and began:
Behold a planet barren, gaunt and cold,
A mighty cinder hurled through empty space...
and went on to speculate that :
Life sprang up in ages long passed by,
Flourished awhile and died.
Later there was another verse which started:
All the World's a-waiting, Waiting for the Moon;
Please will someone get it, Bring it in a spoon!
How was I to know that forty years later I should hold a speck of Moon in my hand brought from the Moon itself by men who had been there, and look at it under the microscope, or that all those dreams and fantasies about life on our neighbours in the solar system would have to die? We now know that all the planets are lifeless except one. But the same 1930's poem went on:
All the World's a-dreaming,
Staring in a swoon,
Standing on the rich earth,
Gaping for the Moon.
Is it not true that the greatest discovery of Man's entry into Space has not been the revolutionary expansion of our knowledge of the other planets but the discovery of the unique glory of the living Earth, our home? I wonder whether the younger generations who by now are familiar with the picture of our lovely, gleaming, blue and white planet, poised in space (if only in photographs) can quite realise the gasp of wonder with which it burst upon those of us for whom the vision of the whole earth had previously existed only in our imagination.
The vision splendid
Though I am never likely to forget the television pictures of the Apollo Missions, and the photographs of the hitherto invisible side of the Moon, and of Mars Venus, Jupiter and the multiple rings of Saturn and the ring of Uranus, and Halley's Comet, and many other wonders yet I cannot help thinking that a great opportunity has so far been lost for making and letting everyone see, the most magnificent and moving colour film ever made of planet Earth as she is approached from space, first as a little disc scarcely more than a star and then gradually growing into her true beauty.
It is all very well using the data from these immensely expensive missions for scientific purposes and to increase our knowledge of the solar system, but the public who have had to pay for them in one way or another are entitled to something better than blurred TV pictures, mainly inviting a brief gawp of admiration at the few men concerned rather than the vision they were so privileged to be given.
There is now (since 1988) a splendid volume of still photographs entitled The Home Planet edited by Kelvin W. Kelley for the Association of Space Explorers which gives a strong indication of what might have been, and still may be done, to allow the common people of the world to see their home whole, and also in its infinite variety as seen in part: its oceans, lands, mountains, forests, grasslands, deserts, shores, polar regions and its glorious and fantastic air. Such a film (or series of films) could certainly be the most valuable ever made and would enjoy a perpetual popularity. Alone it would be worth far more than any amount of 'ecological' propaganda about saving the Earth, Let the earth speak for itself, and put us in our place!
Whose work is worthy of the Sun?
Whose pay in Moon and stars is due?
And how on Earth can anyone
Be owed this planet white and blue?
The Distortion of Science
From time immemorial men have thought of the earth as their Mother, from whose womb they are forced, squalling, into the cold world outside, from whose deep bosom they feed throughout 'life, until tired out and unable to face it longer they crawl back again into her capacious womb; perhaps to be born again.
The pyramids of Egypt, and even more, the passage tombs of the Bronze Age in Western Europe, tell this story most clearly.
But the word 'earth' has two meanings: the soil or surface of the land wherever we may live and from which we get our sustenance; and more recently, the whole planetary globe, the third from the Sun, of which we have had our first glimpse, as seen from space, less than a generation ago.
This last vision, long anticipated in imagination, possesses an unexpected quality of delicacy and vulnerability, arousing feelings not only of awe at the immensity of this huge ball on which we live, but also of almost paternal tenderness and concern, as of a parent viewing a lovely daughter at a vulnerable age. Mostly it is her gleaming skin of air which so entrances us, long as we have known it from beneath. It is so much in contrast with the ancient images of the old, brown, wrinkled Mother Earth, and even with the haughty and dominant White Goddess of the poets, the Queen and Mistress who destroys men after using them.
Not many of the poets have yet escaped from these traditional images. Robert Graves never escaped from the White Goddess, and the feminist movement is reverting to her. Some indeed have now seen a vision of:
The green World, gleaming, glimmering, poised between Sun and stars,
Rolling its misty curtains to and fro as it turns,
Hiding its hollow thunders, reverberations and groans
In the hush of the grass growing, and the leaves drinking the sun.
But when the World was actually seen from space, its greenness was much less apparent than the blue of the sea and the white of the clouds. It was brought home to us that this is a planet covered with water and air more than with land, and even the land is not green with vegetation except in favoured areas. On much of it the brown shows through the scattered plants where they are visible at all, or the ground is covered with snow or ice. Moreover, the sea has an interface with the atmosphere in its turbulent surface, and the soil also is as much part of the atmosphere as it is of the land, which enables it to bear within it so great a variety of invisible life, as well as that which is visible upon its surface.
It is not surprising that this actual sight of the whole Earth from space should have accompanied and should have further stimulated, a reversion to the worship of Nature as the Mother Goddess, or that J.E. Lovelock should have named his hypothesis that the physical and chemical condition of the Earth's surface and atmosphere is maintained homeostatically in a condition capable of maintaining life by the presence of life itself - the GAIA Hypothesis. By so naming it he has deliberately linked what started as a scientific hypothesis with the Earth-Mother-Goddess of Greek Myth - Gaia, Gaea or Ge. The theory itself, however, though far from generally accepted as yet, is a logical extension of current ecological ideas and is bound to exert a powerful influence on thought in the future.
Most major developments in human thought have started off condemned as wild or absurd fantasies, until pinned down to reality by detailed observations; after which they become glimpses of the obvious and taken-for-granted truisms. 'Natural selection' is now such a truism, but it could scarcely have become so without Darwin's lengthy and laborious observations The radical discontinuity which it was used to make in the old-age concept of Creation was quite unnecessary and disastrous in that it helped to destroy not only the idea of Creation but of creativity, substituting a crude, automatic probability-process-idol for the Creator.
The first half of the Twentieth Century has been dominated by the mathematical physicists, whose esoteric and eerie symbolo-cerebral computer model-building, bound back to reality only, for the most part, by observations made by technicians on a few immensely expensive and inaccessible machines, have transiently and confusedly changed our view of the Universe and of time, space and matter, and let loose upon us a monstrous spectre of fearful energy.
Scientists are normally so pre-occupied with the immediate results of their work in the exclusive field or their subject that they cannot grasp its far greater impact upon the minds of those completely outside it, any more than those minds can grasp what the scientists are doing. Thus a more important effect of Einstein's work on relativity than that upon the scientific world was that upon the young adults of the next generation who grew up in the belief that:
Everything is relative, and Space, they say, is round,
And if it all means anything, it's a thing we have not found
Even when it came to the public practical demonstrations of that mystical formula E = mc2 at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, these, frightful as they were, were but minor items in the huge holocaust of the War as compared with the permanent shadow they have cast over mankind as a whole.
It is said that knowledge is power: and it follows that knowledge diffused among mankind confers power upon people to control their own lives, but knowledge which is occult to most people and possessed only by the few increases the power to exercise remote control over their lives. Such knowledge is possessed by every genuine expert and specialist, which is a good reason why they should be employed by, and answerable to, the individuals whom they serve.
Modern Science, however, has long ceased to be mainly a matter for individual initiative and curiosity. It requires external financing, not only to provide the scientists with a living, but to pay for their apparatus; and the more expensive the apparatus, the more massive and remote the financial control, which can come only from Governments or large financial institutions. This tendency has reached its limit in nuclear physics, and has distorted the development of science, so that, instead of a balanced investigation of the universe as directed by the spontaneous curiosity of scientists, or in the service of their neighbours, we have had an abnormally deep penetration in certain directions which serve the purposes of centralised power - a penetration which has not been balanced in other directions, so that we are constantly faced with insoluble problems.
Nor is it possible to place all the responsibility on the politicians and the financiers. Leading scientists who have acquired high status in the power hierarchy, and frequently act as advisers to politicians and financers, must bear a good deal of it. Even Einstein, a life-long pacifist and socialist, was persuaded by Edward Teller to exploit his enormous prestige by writing to President Roosevelt, urging him to launch and fund the research programme for the development of the 'Atom' Bomb.
Thus when Harry Truman succeeded Roosevelt as President he was presented with this appalling device and had little choice but to use it to end the war with a demonstration of its frightfulness, which undoubtedly saved the millions of lives which would have been lost had it gone on. But the decision which launched the age of the remote-controlled threat of radiation and of nuclear massacre was made before the USA was at war, and was carried through to its next stage after the war was over, notably, in part, by Edward Teller -- known to the Press as 'The Father of the H-Bomb'-- a man whose presence seemed to me to exude a cold arrogance, unlike anyone else I have encountered.
While many of the scientists who had worked on 'The Bomb' in ignorance were horrified when they discovered for what purpose they had been used, some of those who were well aware of what they were doing justified it by adopting an 'ideal' of a World at Peace cowering under a World Government armed with a monopoly of nuclear punishment. As the late Colin Hurry put it, in his Song for A.D.A. (Atomic Development Association):
It's nearly in the bag boys; it's nearly in the bag.
The loftier the sentiments, the lovelier the swag.
A high ideal has such appeal-
One Bomb, One World. One Flag-
AND it's nearly in the bag, boys; it's nearly in the bag,
Unfortunately, the ability of idealists to dress up the remotely centralised fear-and-bureaucratic control of vast masses of mankind with hypnotic words like 'unity,' 'democracy,' 'world order' and above all 'peace' appears to be unlimited; and every increase in centralised power is justified by the amount of 'good' it will allegedly enable the power-wielders to administer, de haut en has to the masses. Quite often this 'good' is real and requires some degree of centralisation (such as a piped water, drainage or electricity system) but always it inculcates habits of dependence which, beyond the appropriate level of centralisation, must necessarily become unilateral and slavish.
In the 1950's the discovery of the structure of the DNA molecule which inaugurated the science of molecular biology shifted the dominating influence of science somewhat from nuclear physics towards biology, or rather, in effect, biochemistry, which in turn owed its abnormal advance to the advances of physics. But here again we have a science and a technology which centralises power over human beings and all other forms of life. In fact, as Francis Crick, one of the scientists awarded the Nobel Prize for this discovery, has made it clear, in his view, it is the development of physics and thence of chemistry, which have given a firm foundation for biology, the chief aim of which is to explain all biology in physico-chemical terms.1 He even goes so far as to suggest the substitution of the teaching of natural selection acting upon the DNA mechanism for the teaching or religion in schools, thus erecting his 'evolutionism' into a religion alternative to Christianity, which he regards as intellectually contemptible 2
1. Of Molecules and Men, By Francis Crick- Univ. of Washington. Press 1966.
2. "Deifying DNA," A Review Article by Geoffrey Dobbs. Theology, LXX, (567) 405-409, Sept. 1967.
It is one of those manifest truisms which may on no account be acknowledged by anyone in the career-structure of science, that these far-reaching and heavily financed investigations 'into the building-blocks of the matter and energy of the universe and of life itself, however fascinating and magnificent in themselves, are grossly unbalanced and premature, in that they confer a degree of power upon some men which is blatantly beyond their capacity to handle without disaster, It is like handing over the piloting of an air-liner to a five-year-old.
Beyond Human Competence
No man ought ever to have been placed in the position, as Was President Truman, and still, potentially, are several national leaders of deciding whether to order the nuclear destruction of cities to avert an even worse catastrophe. No one is competent to decide whether or not to condemn future generations to the disposal of an increasing amount of nuclear waste on a basis of speculative arguments, pro and con. No men have the necessary mental and moral stature to enable them to manipulate the genetic structure of other organisms, let alone of fellow men. All such decisions as are now being made have to be made on a basis of immediate or short-term considerations and ephemeral, contemporary knowledge which will probably be shown to be erroneous in a few years' time.
That the elucidation of the structure of DNA can be used, and has been used, to increase our respectful understanding of living organism is very true, but its chief attraction to many lies in the power it offers even more crudely and suddenly than heretofore to manipulate and mould life into forms which happen to suit our trivial, short-term purposes. Those who press forward with the exploitation of such power are characterised by a certain arrogance. They have a power-fever exceeding the gold-fever of the mine field, and it shows in their contempt for those who retain the humbler attitude to nature which was engendered by the Christian religion-the matrix from which modern science grew, but from which it has been increasingly cut off ; until, perhaps, recent years when there have been signs of some reversal of this trend.
Two scientists, Drs. Virginia Huszagh and Juan Infante, of the Institute for Theoretical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Ithaca, New York, writing in Nature in April 1989 gave a somewhat crude example of the superiority-complex of the physicist and chemist towards the biologist, although in fact they are described as ' biologists,' presumably because they apply these elemental sciences to material derived from the living.
They describe biologists as fundamentally uneducated people who do not understand how science works; few of whom can appreciate the need for revolutionary hypotheses and fewer still can generate them. Biologists, they say, write innumerable papers presenting excruciatingly boring collections of data, in contrast with physicists, in whom speculation is encouraged. Physics, they say, grew out of philosophy, while biology grew from medicine and bird-watching!
Now of course there is a good deal of truth in this, though it applies at least as much to chemists and physicists that precious few papers have anything 'revolutionary,' to offer. But these attitudes show how far these prestigious power-sciences have departed from the very essence of that science which grew out of the Christian's reverent approach to the Creation, which was differentiated from 'philosophy' in that it strove to align the human mind to reality rather than to impose its speculation upon the nature of things.
This whole trend towards speculation with the minimum of data,' as indeed in the most advanced mathematical physics, but also in every school where the teaching of 'facts' is derided, and children are encouraged to form opinions based upon ignorance, is dragging us increasingly away from the reality of the actual world in which we live, into a never-never land of mental images which can be brought down to earth only by the most brutal collision with the real. That collision is perhaps fortunately beginning to occur in the impact of a misdirected humanity on its environment, and more particularly on the immeasurable variety of living beings with which we share the planet, and their complex behaviour and inter-relationships. A pity if the study of these should be 'excruciatingly boring' to the sort of scientific speculator who hates to be tied down to mere facts.
Life's Multiple Universes.
What the 'elemental' scientists with their speculative striving after some simple unifying theory do not scorn to realise is that in biology we have a multitude of universes some of which we have scarcely started to study, because most of the money and careerism was channelled elsewhere. For instance, the soil beneath our feet is one such universe of a complexity exceeding the astronomical. The lichens, those remarkable examples of successful symbiosis to be seen on almost every rock and tree, were, except by a few pioneers, scarcely studied seriously until 1958, when the first (the British) Lichen Society was launched. There is indeed a vast mass of detail to be apprehended before we can make sense of it, but there is as much scope for imaginative speculation in each one of the numerous major branches of biology as in the whole of inorganic science.
The changes which have occurred in the biological outlook during this century have been quite as sweeping as those in physical science. The whole picture of the development of life on this planet has been altered almost as radically as Copernicus and Galileo upset the Ptolemaic System, or as Darwin and Huxley upset Archbishop Usher's biblical chronology. No doubt in his day the Archbishop's mathematical dating of the Creation at 4004 B.C. was considered extremely accurate and 'scientific.'
In my student days it was taken for granted that the first life on the earth must have been photosynthetic. How else could it have survived? Since photosynthesis is the basis of life hero all non-green organisms are dependent upon the green plant, and must have evolved later. Hence it followed, among other things, that the fungi, which resemble the algae in many respects except for their lack of chlorophyll, must have originated as degenerate algae-a view which crippled and distorted the development of mycology for generations.
Now the whole picture is reversed, since it is believed that the earth's primitive atmosphere contained no oxygen but was probably dominated by carbon dioxide. The early organisms cannot have been green. They must have obtained their energy and nutrition from their chemical environment. Chlorophyll must have come later, and gradually, during the ages, have transformed the air into its present oxygenated state. Thus, our present atmosphere can be seen, not as the pre-condition which determined the development of the green plant, but very largely as itself the product of the green plant.
Meanwhile the fungi, liberated from the need to be regarded as 'degenerate algae' could be studied for themselves and found to be an unique group of organisms, by many regarded as a Third Kingdom, neither plants nor animals, but possessed in their more advanced forms of a quite extraordinary life-history, including a dicaryophase, in which the two nuclei which ultimately fuse, remain associated-a strange variant upon the familiar processes of sexual reproduction. It was Reginald Duller who was largely responsible for this rehabilitation of mycology - a great and original scientist, but who has heard of him outside mycological circles? And how many physicists have any idea of the importance of fungi as symbionts with green plants, as compared with non-physicists who have at least tried to grapple with the physicists' much publicised speculative ideas? No doubt also, something similar could be written about many other branches of biology.
The Quantity Illusion
It is high time scientists emerged from the fashionable illusion that biology, the study of the living, is 'nothing but' the application of physics and chemistry to parts of living or dead organisms or their products, or that if the organisms themselves and their relationships are to be studied, then it must be by methods of mathematical symbolism which have been so influential in physics, but which tend to impose a crude, subjective uniformity upon the essential diversity of the living.
The idea that 'respectable science' is almost synonymous with quantification is responsible for much hypocritical rubbish in the form of the publication in biological papers of statistics or statistical appendices based upon taken-for-granted routine formulae which might as well be magical cantrips so far as the author's understanding goes.
But of course they are essential to secure the acceptance of the work in the more prestigious journals, which in turn is essential to secure promotion and even a livelihood.
Perhaps it is inevitable that, since the scientists themselves are largely controlled by a sort of statistics, commonly called money, the direction and purpose of their work should likewise similarly he controlled. Probably this will be denounced as an exaggeration, but it is scarcely possible nowadays to exaggerate the influence of remote-controlled funds upon scientists and their work, particularly on what may be called power-science as distinct from exploratory science.
This distinction goes somewhat deeper than the more commonplace one between 'pure' and 'applied' science. Every increase in knowledge even in the most obscure or specialised field may confer some sort of power, somewhen, somewhere on somebody, but the exploration of the very structure of the universe, of matter and of life, offers such prizes in the form of centralised and unilateral control and manipulation to those who already possess excessive powers over the rest of mankind that they automatically attract an unbalanced financial and political support.
No doubt it has always been true that the wealthy and powerful have made more use of the power which knowledge brings than those with fewer resources to exploit it, and in doing so have helped to spread its advantages throughout society; but we are now confronted with the acceleration in knowledge and technology so widespread and so violent, yet along such narrow lines, as to constitute a new and unprecedented threat to our whole culture and perhaps even our physical survival.
A Thin Crust of Technology
In the face of the 'electronic revolution' the younger generation is learning new skills of computerisation and symbol-handling hut is losing the basic skills for dealing with that reality which sustains our lives and which constitutes our tremendous cultural inheritance. I wonder what would happen, for instance, in any big city if the electricity supply were to be cut off completely and permanently. We live. as it were, sustained upon a thin crust of recent technology which is progressively replacing our inherited capacities for living. All our basic needs for food, water, clothing and heating are now centrally and remotely controlled in ways which are, to most of us, inaccessible and inexplicable, though our lives depend upon them.
All this is so commonplace as to be taken for granted as a mere culmination of a normal and even desirable process which has brought us the comforts of civilisation; but the change is no longer quantitative, it has now become qualitative. Never before has there been such total dependence on so vast a scale of the many upon the few, both upon the relatively few technicians who operate and maintain the machinery of production, distribution and information, and even more upon those who create and direct the flow of credit which determines what shall be produced.
Debt-money - the Greed and Money Trap
It is so easy to thrust this aside with thoughts or remarks such as "Money isn't everything. Of course it has always exerted great influence, but it is human greed which is the trouble and always will be!" All quite true, but it is used to divert attention from the changed nature of money which now is virtually synonymous with loan-credit - that is, debt - an arithmetical trap that carries with it an irresistible mass-pressure of fear and greed.
Probably I shall be accused of trying to limit the freedom of mankind to explore the Universe in any direction. But it is not mankind which does the exploring, but those men who are given the financial power to do it in certain directions by other men. I am not trying to say that this distortion by remote and centralised finance is something peculiar to science. On the contrary, this tendency is manifest and increasing in all human activities, and scientific research is no exception.
Virtually all activities involve a draft upon the social credit - that is the labour and skills of innumerable unknown other people, past and present-but with the more advanced sciences such as nuclear physics and molecular biology this draft is relatively enormous. Their whole set-up of laboratories and apparatus depends upon the employment and labour of many people who know nothing of the research for which they are used but are involved through the usual need to earn a living yet their work has been directed along those particular lines by those who control the flow of credit.
It must not be forgotten that the original 'atom bombs' were the product of 'compartmentalised' research in which only a very few at the top had any idea what they were working on, and nowadays the industrial hierarchy is so massive and ever-changing that a great many workers are quite ignorant of what the ultimate product of their work may be, or even for whose purposes, ultimately, they are devoting their working lives.
This is not an argument against normal accumulation of wealth, including, for instance, well-endowed laboratories, universities and research institutions, or against that centralisation of administration which is essential for the efficient planning and carrying out of any major project, or against the natural expansion of science along any lines which attract the necessary support without offending against human nature.
It is the separation of money from reality implicit in its creation as loan-credit -- an autonomous accountancy unrelated to real wealth but limiting, wasting and directing it largely through the employment system -- which is distorting the whole economy and with it the balanced growth of science. It is a common claim that economics is the study of efficient use of scarce resources, but in so far as debt-free money is the scarcest resource and has to be increasingly supplemented by borrowing, it becomes the limiting factor to which all real resources have to be sacrificed.
Hence the quite fantastic waste of human and physical energy and materials to save or to get money, and the power implicit in the creation and subsequent direction of credit to determine also those major enterprises which shall be favoured with the means for pursuit and development. That this patronage is usually exercised by scientists themselves, as nominees of Governments or Big Business, does not alter the fact that the power which they are using is the power of finance, that is, ultimately, of loan-credit, of which the other name is debt.
To be continued....
Further reading by Dr. Geoffrey Dobbs:
"The Just Tax "
"Responsible Government in a Free Society"
The Church and the Trinity in "The Australian Heritage Series".
Please login first in order for you to submit comments