When a man has a great deal of knowledge, it becomes extremely easy for him to confuse "knowledge" with "wisdom" ... and forget that the antonym of "wisdom" is not "ignorance" but "folly."
lt responsibilities but no pioneer society can afford to allow its offspring to so waste its time."
Natt Roberts was being stubborn. "But still, a few would carry the torch of knowledge."
Plekhanov nodded ponderously. "For a while. But then comes the reaction against these nonconformists, these crackpots who, by spending time at books, fail to carry their share of the load. One day they wake up to find themselves expelled from the group--if not knocked over the head."
* * * * *
Joe Chessman had been following Plekhanov's argument. He said dourly, "But finally the group conquers its environment to the point where a minimum of leisure is available again. Not for everybody, of course."
Amschel Mayer bounced back into the discussion. "Enter the priest, enter the war lord. Enter the smart operator who talks or fights himself into a position where he's free from drudgery."
Joe Chessman said reasonably, "If you don't have the man with leisure, society stagnates. Somebody has
Some of the writing is clunky and the dozen or so characters become hard to distinguish from one another, that's the author's doing; the many typos aren't his fault.
Considering the novella covered 50 years, it moved along well and held my interest. The rabbit(s) out of the hat ending was a little too tidy. It is workmanlike, but not sophisticated science fiction: the stuff I ate up as an early teenager.
For a while this appeared to be simply an attempt to show capitalism is better than socialism. Later, though, it became clear the systems were being compared fairly. Eventually the author presents mankind as rising above simple systems, and taking the best of both. Would that it could be. A well written story.
Set far in the future where social experiments need to bring long-lost space colonies to contemporary levels of technology. Written during the Cold War, this is ultimately an argument over which is better: capitalism or communism?
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