The Paradox Of Progress By Benjamin Franklin

1251 Words6 Pages
Chapter 1 – 3/18 I would like to use this first journal entry to talk a little about what the book refers to as the “paradox of progress.” (This is something I’ve been reading about lately.) In the Eighteenth Century, Benjamin Franklin (one of our favorite Philadelphians) claimed that with all of our knowledge and tools in America we should be able to satisfy all our needs with just three or four hours of work a week. Some thinkers of the 1920s believed that by the 1970s ours would become a leisure society. In 1965, a Senate subcommittee predicted that by the year 2000 the average American workweek would be reduced to between fourteen and twenty-two hours. Instead, Americans now work more than they ever have (160 hours more a year than they did when that Senate subcommittee made those predictions) and find their lives increasingly focused on the acquisition of ever more technology and innovations which falsely claim to ease the obligations we feel in our already over-obligated existence. Since World War II American industrial production has doubled, and while we could have used this increased productivity to work half as much, we instead chose to take an increase in wages in order to buy more stuff. A paradigm shift is needed in our philosophical worldview that will have vast implications for how we live and experience our lives and assist in our adjustment to modernity. Such a transformation is possible through the voluntary simplification of our lives, which
Get Access