Technics and Civilization by Lewis Mumford

Eotechnic Paleotechnic Neotechnic
1000-1750 1750-1900 1900-2000
water & wood complex coal & iron complex electricity & alloy complex
handicraft mass production white collar
tool machine-tool machine
unique quality standardization replication
extract from nature pollution of nature conservation of nature
workshop factory corporation
worker capitalist consumer
pastoral small town big city
unique quality standardization replication
nature museum media
mechanic inventor science
God progress equilibrium

Rembrandt

Guggenheim

Edison

"The clock, not the steam-engine, is the key-machine of the modern industrial age: even today no other machine is so ubiquitous." Its "product is seconds and minutes: by its essential nature it dissociated time from human events and helped create the belief in an independent world of mathmateically measurable sequences: the special world of science." (pp. 14-15)
"The mine is the first completely inorganic environment to be created and lived in by man." (p. 69) "More closely than any other industry, mining was bound up with the first development of modern capitalism." (p. 74) "The miner's notion of value, like that of the financier's, tends to be a purely abstract and quantitative one. The miner works not for love or for nourishment, but to 'make his pile'." (p. 77)
"But most important of all was the part played by glass in the eotechnic economy. Through glass new worlds were conceived and brought within reach an unveiled." (p. 124)
"As a civilization, we have not yet entered the neotechnic phase: we are still living between two worlds, one dead, the other powerless to be born, in a cultural pseudomorph.... Paleotechnic purposes with neotechnic means, that is the most obvious characteristic of the present order." (pp. 265-267)
"The romantic reaction took many forms: the cult of history and nationalism, the cult of nature, and the cult of the primitive." (p. 287)
"Our machine system is beginning to approach a state of internal equilibrium. Dynamic equilibirium, not indefinite progress, is the mark of the opening age: balance, not rapid one-sided advance: conservation, not reckless pillage." (p. 429)

Mumford, Lewis. Technics and Civilization. New York: Harcourt, 1934.


revised 2/1/07 by Steven Schoenherr | Taylor | Progressive Era | reserve