I see nothing here about the high demand for SKILLED labor…?
Elijah Price

The idea that the skills quoted above did not exist in the first (and highly successful)industrial revolution is non-sense! The Industrial Revolution was predicated on the application of the growth of scientific understanding which flourished in the 17th C. The growth of this knowledge demanded high levels of skill, from both the mathematical and experimental practitioners of the new knowledge. James Watt’s understanding of the fledgling science of thermodynamics, developed by Joseph Black allowed the separate condenser to be based on a sound scientific basis — his alliance with Matthew Boulton allowed a strong business to be developed via sales of an efficient means of providing mechanical power.

Without the key elements, knowledge and skill, the development process could have faltered and died — and it was a struggle as the surviving documents bear witness. It was very definitely a team effort and the best managers of the Victorian era were also very good team leaders.

However, we now have a business culture based not on the formation of teams of skilled indivduals but on the dog-eat-dog culture of business development where junk products fight it out with junk products and the Devil takes the hindmost. So we drive around in Edwardian vehicles with a few fancy software toys to add a tincture of ‘modernity’; while in our power stations Dr. Parson’s steam turbines drive Professor Faraday’s electrical machines. There is no sign of the spirit that motivated Watt and Boulton — except possibly from Elon Musk.

The modern business community are shackled to an outdated concept of ‘market forces’ — a long way from the Adam Smith idea of ‘enlightened self interest’. There is ‘self interest’ in plenty (Gimmee the money, the money!) but of enlightenment not a sign…..