Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Seventy Years



THE high hopes built around Dr. Hollis were strengthened by his initial appearances, first at the Tech Banquet in March, then at the 1913 Commencement, at which he delivered a masterly address on "Invention and Social Problems." "The progress of a nation is closely related to the inventive genius of its people," he said, "and most, if not all, of its social problems grow out of new materials and invention." "It is a serious error to treat human government and its problems as wholly a psychological development. Undoubtedly every phenomenon, material or otherwise, goes back to the mind, but the growth of man's mental power has been determined in the main by his material environment." On the problem of the relation of labor to capital, "Who," he asked "is to get the benefit of the energy made available by the steam engine and other prime movers, the laboring man or his employer?" "What is the value of the mechanical age to us if it produces only surfeit and strife?" "Can the capitalist not interest himself in his employee and limit his own profit? Can a member of a trades union not think of his employer as a human being with the same motives, desires and rights as he has himself? If the answer to these two questions is 'no,' we might better go back to the tallow candle and the stage coach of our ancestors."


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Last Modified: Fri Jul 30 11:15:25 EDT 1999