UNIT X SECTION 9 THE PROGRESS OF CIVILIZATION ORGANIZATION DEPENDS UPON Science has created a new world, and only with an understanding of science is there any hope of establishing laws and customs for this new world that will work and give satisfactory' results.^ Introduction. In the previous Section it was pointed out that organization seems to be the chief characteristic of life; in fact everything alive is spoken of as an organism, from microorganisms up to the more complex organisms of plants and the even more highly specialized animals with their various organs, each dependent on the other. Organization is likewise a characteristic of the inorganic world. Atoms are complex organizations of electrons, protons, neutrons, and other building-stones, while molecules and crystals are organizations of atoms. The planets are organized as a solar system; and the stars, in turn, are members of galaxies and supergalaxies. Wherever men congregate, organizations are certain to be set up. Every organization represents a system in equilibrium, which responds to changes brought to bear on it. A system in which there is a fair balance of forces represents a stable equilibrium, which resists change, while a system in which the opposing forces are not well balanced is unstable and may break down when disturbed. Present-day society is an unstable system of equilibrium; natural resources, favorable climates, and means of production are not equally distributed. Consumption and production do not balance each other because society has set up artificial tariff walls, state and national boundary lines, and other barriers which interfere with the access to raw materials and the distribution of products of agriculture and industry. Science has broken down the natural barriers by providing means of communication and transportation. The problem that now confronts us is the discovery and elimination of the social barriers to a well-balanced > Technology and Planning, Natural Resources Committee, 1937. 796
THE PROGRESS OF CIVILIZATION 797 world-wide stable organization of society. At the present stage of human culture a stable social organization is absolutely essential to personal welfare ; such a stable organization depends upon the development of relationships which are mutually advantageous; exploitation, like slavery, cannot exist in such a society. This stable society should represent a dynamic, rather than a static, equilibrium. Change is essential to progress, and society must be so organized that change and variety which results from change may be free to develop. Technology, in Creating Social Benefits, Has Also Created Social Problems. Technology has given us lower prices, improved quality, higher wages, a shorter work-week, less child labor, a fuller utilization of natural resources, increased leisure, a broader basis for a higher standard of living, increased interdependence, increased centralization of economic and political controls, and greater opportunity to create a stable civilization. Among the problems created by technology are the obsolescence of certain occupations, the loss of handicraft artistry, recurrent business depressions, wastes of monopolistic competition and unemployment, and the increased destructiveness of war. The Distribution of the Wealth Produced by Science Must Be Organized. For a generation and more past, the center of human interest has been moving from the point which it occupied for some four hundred years to a new point which it bids fair to occupy for a time equally long. The shift in the position of the center of gravity in human interest has been from politics to economics; from considerations that had to do with the forms of government, with the establishment and protection of individual liberty, to considerations that have to do with production, distribution, and consumption of wealth.^ In 1940 North China was experiencing one of the worst famines of the century; in the same year the United States' carry-over of wheat amounted to six hundred million bushels, which is twice the amount that we consume in a year. Organizing ability is a characteristic of the American people. We have labor unions, teachers' associations, medical associations, automobile dealers' associations, farmers' associations, manufacturers' associations, employers' groups, and distributors' organizations. Each of these economic organizations is determined to get its share of the national wealth for its own members. If other people lose out, then ' N. M. Butler.