English Essay on “The Time saving Machines have much to answer for in shortening our leisure” for School, College Students, Long and Short English Essay, Speech for Class 8, 9, 10, 12 and Competitive Exams.

The Time saving Machines have much to answer for in shortening our leisure

This saying of “the gloomy Dean” is a good example of paradox. A paradox is an apparent contradiction, like “The part is greater than the whole”. At first reading, a paradox seems absurd or even impossible ; but on examination it is found to express a truth in a memorable way. In what sense, then, can time saving machines shorten leisure?

We may illustrate the saying from the effects of what is called the Industrial Revolution, which, in fifty years, changed England from being an agricultural country to being the greatest industrial (manufacturing) country in the world. The invention of the steam-engine and all kinds of steam-driven machinery at first threw thousands of workmen out of work; for these time=saving machines ruined the cottage industries and small workshops. Moreover, a machine with one man to look after it could do as much work as a number of men working with their hands. But in time this righted itself. Manufactured goods became so cheap that the demand for them quickly rose, and this stimulated even greater production. This meant that more workmen were needed to attend to the increasing number of machines in mills and factories. Soon the working classes were again in full employment. But as trade rapidly increased, the factories worked longer and longer hours, till the workers had no leisure at all, but were kept at work from early morning to late at night. In this way time-saving machines shortened the leisure of the working classes ; till things got so had that the Government had to step in with its Factory Acts to regulate working hours and conditions in factories and mills.

But Dean Inge was probably thinking in a more general way. He was mentally comparing the slow, leisurely life of our forefathers, say, a century and a half ago, with the feverish rush in which many of us live to-day. The rapid rate at which we live now leaving many of us without much leisure, is partly due to time-saving machines such as fast trains, rushing motor-cars, the telegraph and the telephone, the typewriter, wireless telegraphy, and so on. All these inventions have enormously speed up business, and made most people far busier than they were before. Caught up in the whirl of modern life, we have not so much leisure as our forefathers had. The very devices that were meant to save time and so give us more leisure, have created more work for us to do. So the paradox expresses a truth ; “The time-saving machines have much to answer for in shortening our leisure.”

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