Page:Rise and Fall of Society.djvu/60
Society Are People
gratification gives rise to another desire, and if the second calls for techniques hitherto unknown, man will take thought and invent them. But he must have freedom to do so. That is what a "backward" people lack most; either expropriation of their goods discourages production and makes accumulation impossible, or habits of mind induced by political or cultural institutions inhibit the impulse to dream. The necessary ingredient of progress is freedom.
The benefits of specialization are not without offset. As the pioneer turns more and more to the professional carpenter for help, he loses the skill which necessity forced him to develop, and the son who eventually takes over the establishment is unable to put up a shelf in the house his father built whole. The correlative of specialization is interdependence. In a highly developed Society, where each worker's contribution is a small fraction of the whole, the reliance of one on another is the condition of existence. New York hungers when a snow storm cuts off its means of communication with the farm.
It is this fact that lends credence to the fantasy of a transcendent Society. When we think of the myriad of workers involved in the production of a cup of coffee — plantation workers and bank presidents, dockmen and railroad engineers, dairy farmers and sugar refiners — we are overwhelmed by the immensity of the process and are prone to personalize it; a mental trick not unlike that of deifying the incomprehensible storm. Yet, there is no such thing as "social production" — if by that term something more than individual production is implied. Society cannot produce a thing; only individuals produce. Though a million men are involved in the job, each one, as an individual, had a hand in the pro-