Saturday afternoon my dad and I made a trip to the camp to work on the tractor. As luck would have it, we needed a small hammer that was in a shed on the other side of the property. Dad gets in his truck to drive over and get the hammer. while dad was getting the hammer, I looked at the tractor and did some deep thinking about how dependent humans are on machines. Between the truck and the tractor, we have the foundations of modern society.
Without machines, we would not be able to plant tens of thousands of acres of land, would not be able to harvest corn or wheat, would not be able to transport livestock, would not be able to transport fertilizer to the farms, would not be able to transport crops to market, nor would we be able to drive to the market to buy the food.
Every part of our modern lifestyle is affected by machinery in one way or another.
Because machines are so vital to our modern lifestyle, I think we need to use the acronym World Without Machines (WWM) as often as we use SHTF, TEOTWAWKI, WROL (without rule or law),,, and so on.
Lets two examples and talk about them – tractors and trucks.
Tractors – While the plow may have fed Rome, the tractor feeds our modern society. Without the modern tractor (and fertilizer), it would be impossible to plant and grow enough crops to feed everyone.
Backyard gardeners use tillers to work small garden plots. Without fuel ,tillers are of little use.
In a World Without Machines people would either have to work the fields themselves, or harness a beast of burden, such as horse. But ether way, either by hand or with a plow horse, there is no way either can touch a tractor.
For maybe around the past 35 years my dad had kept some kind of tractor at the camp.
Let me explain, “the camp” is actually a small farm that my dad was raised on. After my grandfather and grandmother passed away, my dad inherited the land. To find work, mom and dad moved away from rural southeast Texas in the late 1970s.
Since the early 1980s the camp has been more like a weekend get away then a real residence.
Before my grandfather passed away he worked the fields with a horse called Joe. I remember Joe from my childhood. He was a gentle horse that has seen his better days by the time I was born.
I often wonder how mankind would adapt if we had to go back to plowing fields with a horse and plow. Where would people find the horses at? Where would people find the plows at? Its not like the local china-mart sells a complete do it yourself plow kit.
Trucks– I don’t know about you, but I use my truck for just about everything – hauling firewood, generator, pulling bar-b-q pit, pulling boat, hauling ATV,,, just all kinds of stuff.
When I was building my bar-b-q pit, my truck was used to haul the welding machine, generator and tools to the camp.
In our modern society, if you bought it, it was probably delivered on a truck. Food, clothes, computer parts, smart phones, drinks,,, examples of a few things that are delivered on trucks.
The day the trucks stop rolling is the day the people go hungry.
I want to throw out some kind of hypothetical situation – some kind of long term disaster has happened, such as nuclear war, or an outbreak of a new disease. You and your family have 50 acres of farm land you are able to plow and grow several dozen bushels of corn. Now what? How do you get the food from rural areas to the nearby towns where people are willing to barter or buy your corn?
What do you consider the most important machines to modern society? Ships for international trade? Trains for transporting heavy loads? Trucks for transporting good to and from market? Refineries for making oil and gas? Power plants that produce electricity? Steel mills? The auto industry in general? Without motors, wheel bearings, transmissions, axles,,, we can not have vehicles.
Society has taken thousands of years to get to this point. Ancient societies thousands of years ago developed the wagon and ships. In the early 1800s the steam engine and the train. In the late 1800s and early 1900s we developed cars, trucks and planes.
What would happen if humanity went through a reboot? Nuclear war, some kind of new disease, meteor impact,,, something that kills off the majority of the human population? How would society recover lost knowledge?