Time-saving devices

It will perhaps be easier to list things, sold to the world with fraudulent claims of efficiency, than to find more delightful examples of inefficient things. One might include (for proposed retirement) almost everything that has been invented over the last five centuries, starting with sliced bread.

Looking up from my balconata, I would continue with aeroplanes. The amount of infrastructure that is required, to support just the few aeroplanes we see littering our skies, is astonishing. A glimpse may be had in any large airport, or small one, or aerodrome as it used to be called. There are a thousand, mostly grounded, human slaves and processors for every one who gets to be a pilot.

It is the same in the air force; and the excitement of flying these planes aggressively into each other, and dropping glamorous big bombs, takes up just a few moments of the average air force’s time. Plus, even when they are doing nothing in particular, these civil and military aircraft are noisy; and according to the environmentalists — well, I don’t care.

At a more mundane level, we should consider housekeeping. In one of these amateur science magazines (I think it was Scientific American), I read, a few decades ago, that an old time-study had been repeated. It compared how much time the “average housewife” (a creature known only to America) spent on household cleaning and chores, around (I think) 1972, with the aid of i.e. washing machines and vacuum cleaners, versus the amount she spent in 1872, with brooms and elbow grease. To no one’s surprise, or at least not mine, she was now more occupied by these trivial pursuits, which had come to include various mechanical preparations.

The dwellings, one could argue, might be marginally cleaner, and the work easier even while taking more time, but these are additional downsides, for they make the housewife more neurotic and lazy. This might be apparent if we repeated the study in 2023. It might be an efficient way to depress ourselves.

For this statistical woman had more free time in previous centuries. And when we add the hours she must now spend holding down a paying job, as a cog in someone’s efficient bureaucracy, we begin to see why she should become sterile. For feminism and the income tax require her to waste her days in this way.

Perhaps these three examples will serve for this morning. Or I could go on and on. For we would have more leisure, in addition to more children (and much happier, too), if we would give up our efficiency obsessions.