Wednesday, March 26, 2014

What's Wrong with "Industrial"?

I've been doing some reading in 19th century documents--at that time "industrial education" seems to mean something like teaching students to work (in various trades and crafts, even in agriculture). Even earlier, "industry" was one of Ben Franklin's favorite words.

When I was growing up "industrial"  was often attached to "production", meaning stuff factories made, the more they made the better things were.

But since 1980 the use of "industrial" has declined while a bit more recently the use of "industrial agriculture" has exploded.  In this usage, "industrial" is pejorative.  Apparently it's interchangeable with "factory farms".  (Again, when I was young factories were good things; they provided jobs, made stuff, were a symbol of modernity.)

I understand, I think, the thinking behind the pejorative use of "industrial agriculture" and "factory farms", but I'm a bit amazed at the transformation of good to bad over the last 30 years.

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