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Jun 25, 2010, 22:03 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Rex Djere)


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"When the Industrial Revolution began during the 18th century, a major shift occurred in the motivating forces that drove human endeavors. Prior to the start of the Industrial Revolution, an agrarian economy, a dedication to the pious structure provided by religion, and a strong sense of community/sharing centered on large groups of families dominated the cultural landscape. However, the Industrial Revolution brought about one very negative and unforeseen characteristic, along with the many beneficial ones: the primacy of self. One subconscious message of the Industrial Revolution was this: "My gains and my profits are ultimately the most important thing because my gains, coupled with those of others, will be the engine that drives progress." Originally, this system worked exceptionally well because the drive towards self-enrichment was tempered by the strong moral directives of Christian Conservatism. The teachings of the Bible and other religious writings stressed the primacy not of self, but rather focusing on one greater that one's self (God), the importance of the family, and the importance of community service. However, over time, those important messages began to be lost. Religion, whose moral tenets seemed to be an impediment to the unadulterated quest for profits, was quickly marginalized and given a status separate from the all-important financial dealings that were making millionaires out of former farmers. It became clear that the rules had to be changed to favor those who were willing to do whatever it took to become wealthy. Those that were willing to bear this burden quickly began to realize that the best way to motivate their employees was by offering compensation that far exceeded what they could make on rural farms. This led to a massive movement of large masses of people from their familiar farms, churches, and families, to the bustling streets of the new economic centers, the cities. As these workers migrated to their new homes, they saw the rapid accumulation of wealth that characterized their employers, and they wanted the same thing. An entire movement was born that "religiously" believed in the primacy of self."

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