Tuesday, 20 December 2011

20th December 1811: A 'London Manufacturer' writes to the Nottingham Review

A Person who styles himself ‘a London Manufacturer,’ has requested us to insert the following; and as impartiality is our professed principle, we can do no less than admit it, though the arguments it contains, we are of opinion, are not sterling, and will not hear the test of sound criticism: of this, however, our readers will judge.



“It is well worthy of being impressed on the minds of Artizans and Manufacturers, that they have uniformly found increased employment, as improvements in the mechanism of factories have rendered the commodities manufactured cheaper; and the increased consumption, a result of the decreased price, has uniformly furnished employ to greater numbers, instead of throwing numbers out of employment. This is a truth which cannot be too strongly inculcated and explained to the comprehension of the manufacturing poor, who, blinded by the privations to which they are occasionally subject, from a stagnation of trade, become willing dupes to the designs of the ill disposed.”


This letter was published in the Nottingham Review of the 20th December 1811, and is perhaps the earliest example of the 'Luddite Fallacy' argument. The brutal condescension of this patronising claptrap is best summed up by understanding that the 'occasional privations' that the manufacturing poor were subject to could lead to starvation, malnutrition, and the premature death of them and their children.

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