It would not have seemed like an inference; further than the vision went, it would have seemed as though he saw, and his heart would have leaped and his nerves would have thrilled, as one who from a height beholds just ahead of the thirst-stricken caravan the living gleam of rustling woods and the glint of laughing waters. Plainly, in the sight of the imagination, he would have beheld these new forces elevating society from its very foundations, lifting the very poorest above the possibility of want, exempting the very lowest from anxiety for the material needs of life; he would have seen these slaves of the lamp of knowledge taking on themselves the traditional curse, these muscles of iron and sinews of steel making the poorest laborer's life a holiday, in which every high quality and noble impulse could have scope to grow. And out of these bounteous material conditions he would have seen arising, as necessary sequences, moral conditions realizing the golden age of which mankind have always dreamed. Youth no longer stunted and starved; age no longer harried by avarice; the child at play with the tiger; the man with the muck-rake drinking in the glory of the stars! Foul things fled, fierce things tame; discord turned to harmony! For how could there be greed where all had enough? How could the vice, the crime, the ignorance, the brutality, that spring from poverty and the fear of poverty, exist where poverty had vanished? Who should crouch where all were freemen, who oppress where all were peers?
see the same section from the abridged version:
THE NINETEENTH CENTURY saw an enormous increase in the ability to produce wealth. Steam and electricity, mechanization, specialization, and new business methods greatly increased the power of labor.
Who could have foreseen the steamship, the railroad, the tractor? Or factories weaving cloth faster than hundreds of weavers? Who could have heard the throb of engines more powerful than all the beasts of burden combined? Or envisioned the immense effort saved by improvements in transportation, communication, and commerce?
Surely, these new powers would elevate society from its foundations, lifting the poorest above worry for the material needs of life. Imagine these new machines relieving human toil, muscles of iron making the poorest worker's life a holiday, giving our nobler impulses room to grow. Given such bountiful material conditions, surely we could anticipate the golden age long dreamed of. How could there be greed when everyone had enough? How could things that arise from poverty -- crime, ignorance, brutality -- exist when poverty had vanished? Such were the dreams born of this wonderful century of progress.