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Foreword *to T Ahe necessity for social progress —economic, political, cultural, technological—has long been such a bedrock assumption in the American ethos that challenges to it have rarely been taken seriously. True, it is admitted , there are certain costs attendant upon making progress, but these costs are seen as slight compared to the benefits. Moreover, the usual assumption is that many of the costs derive from lamentable—but in principle avoidable—excesses. If early twentieth-century miners despoiled the fragile richness of the Rockies, the fault lay not with "progress" (and its concomitant voracious search for industrial raw materials) but rather with an earlier generation's lack of consciousness about environmental impacts. Still, there have been other voices. Norman Ware, the most eloquent chronicler of the demise of the American craftsman under the pressure of industrialization, put it this way: It is commonly supposed that the dissatisfaction in the [1840s] with the character and results of the Industrial Revolution was the result of purely temporary maladjustments. It is admitted that a temporary maladjustment lasting over one's working lifetime is sufficiently perma- x Foreword nent for the one concerned. But it is claimed that, from the standpoint of history, the degradation suffered by the industrial worker in the early years of the Industrial Revolution can be discounted by his later prosperity And this might be true from the calm standpoint of history if the losses and gains were of the same sort. But they were not. The losses of the industrial worker in the first half of the century were not comfort losses solely, but losses, as he conceived of it, of status and independence. And no comfort gains could cancel this debt. [The Industrial Worker, Í840-4860 (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1924), pp. x-xi] Wes Jackson now adds his powerful voice to this cautionary literature. For Jackson, too, the losses from unbridled and thoughtless economic "growth" are not simply comfort losses— more fast food paid for by less access to parks—but rather the disruption and destruction of some of the most fundamental conditions for leading a fulfilled and meaningful life. His concern focuses on modern society's tendency to deprive us of our connections to our natural and social environment. The contrary movement, a conscious choice of will, is to become "native to this place." Mr. Jackson, founder and director of The Land Institute near Salina, Kansas, delivered the 1991 Blazer Lecture at the University of Kentucky. This volume is an extension of his talk. The Blazer Lecture Series, made possible by generous grants from the Paul G. and Georgia M. Blazer Fund and the Blazer family, have long enriched campus life, and we are grateful for their support. Richard Edwards Dean of Arts and Sciences The University of Kentucky ...


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