eternal hostility toward every supremacy of efficiency over the needs and the wishes of man. We must take measures just as drastic as used to be advocated, but to make the systemnot more efficientbut more human. What we have to face, and prepare ourselves to cope with, is the irony in automation delineated, for instance, in a recent report of a private business research organization, the Research Institute of America. Computers running continuous processes, machines that can turn raw metal into finished products eliminating entire assembly lines, new energy sources, and automatic machines that are controlled and corrected by still other machines mean a drastic reduction in jobs in the immediate future, at least. Public works and paid leisure must replace what used to be our system. Let me quote from this report: “Time is overtaking money as a basic form of wealth. That’s the really crucial fact about the automation revolution that no one has faced squarely yetthat payment in leisure, in hours NOT worked, may become as important as payment in goods. . . . That’s the real irony: that the free enterprise system will have triumphed so completely, have produced so much, that goods will no longer.be an incentive. “In one sense, this will be a dreamworld come truebut a world that threatens the very beliefs that made it all possible: hard work, thrift, business experimentation, ownership, and risk.” It is becoming obvious to some people that we must break the “work-income link,” that we must, later if not sooner, give up the idea that a man should get only what he has worked for. Already it is suggested we have a basic social endowment for every child born ; the family allowance is a basic and permanent part of life in Canada. Paul Goodman suggests an entirely separate economy within the economy for those who wish not to work and will settle for receipt from the society of a minimal package of goods and services, in return for nothing. It is morally obvious that we cannot permit poverty to continue at all in the midst of such absurd wealth. We must find ways to distribute basic goods, regardless of work done to earn them, while providing everyone who wishes to be an economic person opportunities to do so. We are being forced, by the very plain humanitarian logic of our situation, toward what we might think of as a philosophy of minimums, technology’s gift, or dividend, to each of us. We can rejoice about this, in my opinion, for it means liberation from work and time for freedom. But we must also be profoundly worried, for it raises the specter of widespread uselessness. The Values Of Community We are also losing, in modern life, the sense of community and the values of community. We are losing this , especially in the cities, as everything gets more com plex, larger, and more interrelated. People do not know their neighbors any more, or else they move away. Our children do not have a real place to be. If tragedy leaves an adult alone, he really is alone; he has no community that is aware of him. We are losing the sense of community in our work, too; as everything becomes interchangeable, including men, or dispensable, including men. I agree with Goodman: We need to invent communities again, out of our present situations. “A man has only one life and if during it he has no great environment ., no community,” Goodman writes, “he has been irreparably robbed of a human right.” I should like to see cities broken into neighborhoods, or call them precincts, if you wish. Close off the through traffic routes, to keep the SY.L=, streets for the neigh borhood and the chil dren, and make the throughways the borders of the precincts. Perhaps even literally bar off these precincts, as precincts, except for the entrances, as in ancient walled cities.* Then let the Little League teams .come from blocks, and play for the championship of the community, and ascend into the tournament of the communities of the city; and let our children have pride again in themselves, their friends, and where they live, instead of Ajax Bird Seed, or 7-Up . Bottlers. Let each precinct have its alderman, and elect its own state representative, 5: 0 it can hold it s elf accountable for itself. Let us have again the real community to live, ‘work, and play in, the real community that is small enough that its members know each other when they pass each other in the street, or in the shop. . Not to repudiate or fail the world and times, but to have a special place to live and work in this world and time, I think we must carve out, within the mass, small logical units in which small numbers of people can find a community and a group of friends who stay there because they live there, identify there, and are needed there. If we will imagine, and then experiment in what we have imagined, the big cities can become many communities within themselves. The little towns in the country can be nourished, protected, beautified, and celebrated. We can form and nourish new towns in the forests and by the rivers and the sea. The great economic combinations must not be permitted to continue to occup y our economic life on the strength of the argument that they are efficient producers. They will produce us out of our usefulness, and then what will it profit us to have more than we need, and be useless? We must carve out, in new small communities, literally millions of nooks, of shops, of laboratories, and return to the crafts”that were once an engrossing part of the daily lifeof the inventiveness and art and personalityof the people. National production statistics do not make a national life that is worth having. “The Great Society” is not necessarily a worthwhile society. We must make the modern methods in sizes that fit the hand or the brain of a man. We must test our system, not by whether we get to the moon, but by whether a man can freely and fully express himself here on earth; not by whether we are ahead in weapons, but by whether we are ahead in real room to be free and alive, to be various and unwatched: to be ourselves. I say down with efficiency, and, up with life. Let us break up the mass and make our wonde -rs serve, not masses, but each one. Electronic Fascism Just as we cannot reverse the technology *An afterthought, suggested by a criticism: Naturally these cannot be ghettoes, or ih their formation confirm existing ghettoes; the new American community is interracial. July 10, 1964 5
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