The Magic of Industrialization: Washing Machines, Productivity, and the Gospel


Hans Rosling recently gave a TED talk on the immense productivity that has come with industrialization (HT). To demonstrate such benefits, Rosling centers his discussion around the washing machine, a tool most Westerners simply take for granted.

Watch the video here:

Although Rosling puts significant emphasis on the silliness and hypocrisy that permeates the green movement, he concludes his talk by pointing back to the productivity factor. When products assume tasks for us — particularly labor- and time-intensive tasks — we are free to pursue other endeavors.

In the case of Rosling’s mother, the washing machine gave her time to go to the library, teach herself English, and inspire a love for scholarship in her son. Such stories should prompt all of us to think critically about how we are using our time.

For most of us, the answer would include a balance of family, leisure, hobbies, school, etc., but as Christians, we also need to think of such prioritization and maximization through the lens of our ultimate God-given callings, particularly our Biblical imperative to proclaim the Gospel to all people. Given the tools that industrialization has equipped us with, are we really using them to achieve the ultimate balance of our time and resources?

washing machine, productivity, capitalism, industrializationThe earthly value of increased productivity is incredibly simple to grasp. How, then, can we live our earthly lives while retaining sight of the heavenly implications of such benefits?

To watch Hans Rosling’s video on prosperity and income disparity, click here.

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  • Jordan

    The majority of modern westerners have an immense amount of discretionary time thanks to the ingenuity of man sparked during the industrial revolution that has culminated in the advent of the electronic age. Of course, that time has been constricted and dwindled by our own desires to fill our lives with meaning and purpose, flitting and flying from one meaningless, empty experience to another.

    God gave us intellect enough to create in order to better our lives. He also intended to fellowship with us and have us tell others about Him. His order is clear: To make disciples of all nations. What has our ingenuity been for, ultimately, if not to share it with others in addition to the saving grace of God?

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