10 JANUARY 1931, Page 14


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] Sin,—Your contributor, in your issue of January 3rd, says : " The truth must • be with those who say that an increase in productive power, in man's" "command over nature; shotild. turn in the end to his advantage." But why must ? Is there anything in the history of the world to show that there is a benevolent Providence continually helping mankind out of its difficulties ? " It would seem to be rather the other way about and that mankind has always been making mistakes in policy and has been quickly punished for them. It might be said, for instance, that the truth of Christianity must finally prevail, for that is a spiritual matter and on another footing. But mechanical invention is a material affair, though some people may elevate it to-day to the position of a religion. In most cases invention is merely an extremely interesting job for the inventor and a means of making money for the exploiter.

What is likely to be the effect of increased production with a stationary -population ? Is everyone to desire to possess more and more inanimate things ? Does the possession of

innumerable objects increase -happiness ? If it is joy to own one motor car—will everyone's pleasure be doubled by owning two ? The object of all advertising is to suggest 'that happi- ness comes from possessing things—what if there should be a reaction and people should find out that their superfluous property is merely a nuisance, and that they are much happier with less ? These questions deserve an answer. -

• There seems to be no gciod reason why the uncontrolled use of machinery to turn out -goods in increasing cpiantities, should not cause widespread unemployment and disaster. It may. not be so, but I cannot see why Providence should

be expected to intervene on behalf " of big business, the department stores and The advertising agents.—I am, Sir, &c.,


• 48 Grosvenor Road, Westminster, S.W.1.

[If. we do., things quicker, we can have more and also do more or have more leisure. We think these things are all advantages.—En. Spectator.] .