I’ve been reading a bit about the history of the textile industry lately, because I’m a dufus who will readÂ any bookÂ my friendsÂ place in front of me.
But it’s actually interesting stuff, and I was struck by an aspect of that history that is also present in other areas; that being theÂ very real phenomenon whereÂ developments or advances for the common good nevertheless have negative residual effects.
For example, the invention of the cotton gin had a profound positive effect on the textile industry, and that effect trickled down to bolster other industries, from agricultural to medical. ButÂ the inventionÂ was directly responsible forÂ a resurgeanceÂ in the slave trade in the southern United States that by many accounts, was dying out in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Also, the massive production output of textileÂ plants in European cities clothed and comforted millions, but children in cities like Manchester, EnglandÂ became all but slaves working in deplorable conditions.
So today’s question(s):
DoesÂ skeptical activism, obviously geared for the common good, nevertheless hurt some people? Who? How? What negative effects in the modern world that come about this way concern you most? Do youÂ notice anyÂ negative residual effects in the “good” that you do personally?Â
Interesting tidbit: Since cotton wasn’t indigenous to Europe, some early Europeans were quite confused about the commodity. There was actually a pervasive belief that a plant produced sheep as its fruit, and that’s where cotton came from. Alexander the Great is said to have referred to cotton as “tree wool”.Â
The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 3pm ET.