Last time I had access to cable TV, I watched several episodes of the show “How It’s Made.” It’s a spectacular show that reveals how various products are mass produced.
What has mass production done for us? In short, a lot fewer people can make a lot more life-advancing stuff. That allows more people to enjoy the products. Practically all of the clothes we wear, most of the food we eat, and just about every product in our homes was mass produced (or significantly assisted by mass production) using advanced technical processes.
Many of today’s labor-intensive jobs are made possible by mass production, which frees up labor for other jobs. When the country first started, most people worked in agriculture. Now a tiny minority do. Today, businesses exist to wash your dog or provide it with therapy. “In 2003, more than 15 million people practiced Yoga, according to Yoga Journal magazine,” writes one practitioner. Several massage clinics have recently opened up near my house, and chiropractors are everywhere. These are just a few examples.
Yet who pauses to recognize the profound improvements to their lives made possible by science, technology, and a market free enough to develop the wonders of mass production?