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Social Aspects of Labour and Leisure

    Naturevolume 134pages265267 (1934) | Download Citation

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    THE picture of labour displaced by machinery drawn by Sir Frank Smith in his recent Gustave Canet Memorial Lecture before the Junior Institution of Engineers was one of the most impressive features in his account of the function of the engineer in modern civilisation. The striking examples he cited of the way in which machinery is making it possible for the same out put to be achieved by fewer and fewer workers could easily be multiplied, and the consequent growth in the volume of technological unemploy ment is one source of what has been described as the revolt against mechanism. Few, however, who are familiar with the automatic signals which have so largely replaced the traffic control policemen, or the signalmen on the Underground railways, give a thought to the unemployment aspects of such changes. Fewer still perhaps realise the effect of the growing use of mechanism in offices on the volume of clerical labour, but it is in such ways as these, as much as in the more sensational develop ments in agricultural or industrial machinery, that machinery, and especially power production, is affecting the whole aspect of our civilisation.

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    https://doi.org/10.1038/134265a0

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