I would like to comment on John B. Rae's review of my book Diesel: Technology and Society in Industrial Germany (The Scientist, March 9, 1987, p. 23). While the growth of industrial society in the 19th century certainly produced many social problems, "the social question" (die soziale Frage) was a concept well recognized by numerous commentators both in Germany and elsewhere. They defined it as the social evils (poor working conditions, urban slums, etc.) produced by the Industrial Revolution and the working class's consequent hostility toward capitalism and attraction to radical ideas (see pp. 11 and 28 of my book). It was fear of this radicalism that caused many writers, including engineers such as Diesel, to propose either a small power source that would revive the artisan class or a solidaristic restructuring of society. Diesel's social ideas were in fact heavily influenced by theFrench utopian...

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