AT&T Ad: Cave Life or Civilization (Apr, 1916)
AT&T’s monopolistic motto “One Policy One System Universal Service” sounds an aweful lot like the “One ring to bind them” stuff from Lord of the Rings…
Cave Life or Civilization
Civilized man is distinguished from the cave man by his habit of co-operation.
The cave man lived for and by himself; independent of others, but always in danger from natural laws.
To the extent that we assist one another, dividing up the tasks, we increase our capacity for production, and attain the advantages of civilization.
We may sometimes disregard our dependence on others. But suppose the farmer, for example, undertook to live strictly by his own efforts. He might eke out an existence, but it would not be a civilized existence nor would it satisfy him.
He needs better food and clothes and shelter and implements than he could provide unassisted. He requires a market for his surplus products, and the means of transportation and exchange.
He should not forget who makes his clothes, his shoes, his tools, his vehicles and his tableware, or who mines his metals, or who provides his pepper and salt, his books and papers, or who furnishes the ready means of transportation and exchange whereby his myriad wants are supplied.
Neither should he forget that the more he assists others the more they can assist him.
Take the telephone specialists of the Bell System: the more efficient they are, the more effectively the farmer and every other human factor of civilization can provide for their own needs and comforts.