The Function of Socialization in Social Evolution
Chapter 5: Origination as a Function of Socialization
III: Social Stimuli and Demand
Ernest W. Burgess
Personal participation in the social Heritage, the extra-organic equipment of the race, is necessary to secure a basis for innovation. The complexity and character of the social organization either extends or contracts the scope of personal freedom, the measure of opportunity, and the degree of possible efficiency and specialization—all big factors in determining the rate of the acceleration of progress. But another factor, conditioning invention and, like the social heritage and the social organization, also an aspect of socialization, is social stimuli and demand. While the social heritage affords the basis for the innovation, and the social organization accelerates or impedes progress, social stimuli and demand largely determine the direction and character of invention. For example, the technical preconditions for two possible inventions may be altogether similar, yet one materializes and is perfected, while the other is never conceived or else dies still-born. The explanation of this situation involves the analysis of this additional factor, namely, social stimuli and demand.
The distinction between social stimuli and social demand is only relative. They are the two sides of the same shield. By group stimulus is meant all the intangible and tangible social influences which control the direction of the attention of the individual, arouse his interest, and determine his activity. By social demand is meant the entire gamut of group needs, unconscious as well as conscious, which impinge upon the individuals in the group. The stimuli are objective and more or less definite; the demands are subjective, but are mandatory if not always specific.
1. Social stimuli are of two kinds : natural and artificial. Natural social stimuli, praise and blame, fashion and fad, many economic advantages, are only slightly under rational group control. Artificial stimuli, such as rewards and special privileges, are arrangements sanctioned by the group and designed to direct the course of inventive talent.
a) Under the natural social stimuli we shall consider those operating in two situations : first, those arising in the thought-provoking
( 53) eddies of intimate social intercourse; and secondly, those found in thedeeper currents of the social stream.
We can hardly overestimate the influences generated in the intimate face-to-face groups. By means of conversation, through the give-and-take of ideas, the horizon of the person is enlarged, his interests are widened, his attention is drawn to the needs of the group, his ingenuity is directed and stimulated. Accounts of the decisive influence of the intimate group upon invention are familiar. A chance debate on the possibilities of the invention of a weaving mill drew out the assertion from Cartwright that the difficulties were not so great as in devising an automatic chess player, and finally led this argumentative clergyman to put his theory into practice. Arkwright's attention was turned to textile inventions because he was brought "into constant intercourse with persons engaged in weaving and spinning," and because "inventions . . . were a constant topic of conversation among the manufacturing population." That Whitney, a Yankee, should invent the cotton-gin was due to the faith in his mechanical ingenuity of the southern woman in whose home he was tutor. In all three instances the attention of men of mechanical genius was directed to a field of activity by reason of their membership in intimate groups.
How far-reaching in every activity are the group influences! The standards of achievement are erected in the group; here the pace is set ; records are established only to be broken. Personal ambition, envy, admiration, self-seeking are all placed under the social yoke to cultivate and to enrich the social field. The concrete process of human association for the twofold achievement of personal and group ends intensifies the socialization and results in important human achievements. This personal participation of the person in the life of the group is the means by which the individual secures for himself the heritage of the past and is fitted for a part in the co-operative achievement of further advance. Socialization, then, in this aspect of a social environment furnishing the strongest possible stimuli for action, has a determining influence over the course of invention.
More definite, perhaps, but not more powerful, are the influences emanating from the scientific group. The scientific circle, in a peculiar sense, is an intensely intimate group. Here the intimate character of the association is not entirely or exclusively based on its face-to-face character, although scientific gatherings and the relation of teacher and student afford opportunity for personal relations. The essential social bond is through the medium of the printed page. The anonymous character of the public created by the newspaper does not extend to the little group knitted together by scientific publications. There is no editorial "we" in scientific journals to conceal the identity of authorship; the contributors form a group whose efficient social stimulus is the common praise or blame and standing in the group.
More intangible, but as significant for the play of originality, is the range of contact open to the individual. The psychic isolation of the person not only shunts him off the main course of progress, but makes his efforts a dead loss to the group. `By reason of poverty, geographical isolation, caste feeling, or `pathos,' individuals, communities, and races may be excluded from some of the stimulations and copies which enter into a high grade of mind. The savage, the Negro, the peasant, the slum-dwellers, and the white woman are notable sufferers by exclusion."
Physical isolation, in general, involves psychic isolation. The small community with its conventional or old-fashioned standards in literature, art, public speaking, religious appeal, is all too likely to furnish out-of-date copies to its young impressionable members. The social friction of contact with many types of men, the multitude of stimuli that attract the eye and the ear, the hustle and pace of business, are influences that cannot easily be escaped in the thronging of people together. The sheer density of population, while the most obvious aspect of urban life, is by no means as significant for progress as the secondary factors generally connected with it. In the study of the conditions determining the expression of literary genius—and they hold for technical genius as well—Odin discusses and analyzes these forces. Upon the basis of a classification of
( 55) "men of letters" according to place of birth as in large cities, in small cities, and in the country, he finds that while in general the relative fecundity of communities in the production of literary men varies with the density of population, other more significant factors are present which explain both the rule and the exceptions. These decisive influences which bear no absolute relation to concentration of population]6] are the centralization of political, ecclesiastical, and judiciary administration in cities; the concentration of wealth in centers of population; the urban residence of the leisure, intelligent, and wealthy classes; and the presence of universities, libraries, and other educational facilities in cities.
Similar to the influence of the intimate group upon the individual members is the stimulus of the life of the larger group upon the various groups within it. The intense phases of social activity have always impressed into service the best efforts of the individual and resulted in the significant achievements. The reason why the bow and arrow of the savage were highly evolved before the digging-stick was well on its way to the plow was because of the intense interest in hunting and fighting and the lack of stimulus in plant culture. The degree of interest in the hunt and the fight is not to be explained solely by reason of the bunting type of the human mind, but also by the social significance of these activities and the group recognition of distinction in them. Modern business, emphasizing the value of a whole series of mentally uninteresting economic processes, has introduced stimuli into the perfection of the whole range of industrial activities. Over against the Watervliet Arsenal gun, once the most powerful in the world, and the mammoth ocean dreadnaughts may be placed the skyscraper and modern bridge construction as feats of engineering as great for industry as for war. Yet even today, organized society, because of the struggle for survival and success, still places a high social valuation upon advance in military art. The telegraph, wireless telegraphy, the railroad, the airship, have been quickly adapted to warfare. The building of the Panama Canal was due as much to naval as to commercial policy. But war has a negative as well as a positive influence on invention. The advocates of peace would find comfort in the statistics of the
( 56) United States Census which exhibit a marked decrease in patents during periods of war and financial depression.
We turn now from a consideration of the general social influences of small and larger groups to a consideration of the more definite social stimuli. Fads, crazes, and fashions indicate irrational tendencies and crystallizations of the social mind which may, or may not, represent the actual needs of the group. Or individual appreciation of relatively unconscious group wants may offer the requisite impulse to the activities of the inventor.
Fashions, fads, and crazes, though irrational and ephemeral expressions of the valuations of the group, have often played an important part in the perfection of an appliance of limited utility. The bicycle could hardly have attained its present perfection had it been limited from the start to its practical use in transportation. But the social mind was affected by the quirk which we call a "craze," and afforded the necessary stimulus to inventive genius. In this connection, the fact is significant that with the collapse of the bicycle craze the number of patents applied for on bicycle parts immediately decreased. That obsession of the Dutch mind known as the "tulip craze" resulted in the development of an extraordinary number of marvelous new varieties. Epoch-making inventions in the button industries followed the tremendous impetus, soon after 1875, given to the manufacture of composition buttons "by the fashion, then coming into vogue, of trimming ladies' garments lavishly with buttons, not merely for fastening purposes, but also for ornamentation." Amateur photography, a fad pure and simple, by multiplying demand has greatly stimulated inventiveness in photography. Thus, the most irrational and irresponsible play of the mental activity of the group has a not-lo-be-despised rôle in stimulating invention.
Many economic rewards, while not consciously presented by the group, Stimulate invention. An appreciation by the inventor of the commercial possibilities of a certain new method or product is a lode-star in guiding his course. Edison ruefully confesses that the rejec-
( 57) -tion of one of his earliest inventions, a vote-recording machine devised for the Congress of the United States, caused him to form the resolution never again to waste effort upon a non-commercial, though desirable, innovation. The normal course of action for the professional inventor is to study, first, what improvement would be profitable, then, in what way the improvement may be made. Even if the idea of a new improvement suggests itself, it meets at once with the question of its commercial advantage. So, then, all-important is the appreciation on the part of the originator of the value of his innovation to the group. But this attitude of appreciation is in fact the dynamic aspect of the inclusive process of social valuation which is core and current of the socializing process.
b) The stimuli afforded by fads and fashions and the appreciation of the probable economic advantage we called natural, inasmuch as they are relatively uncontrolled or uncontrollable by conscious social action. As significant, then, as the stimuli afforded by the spontaneous activity of the social mind and by an estimate of economic values are the conscious and purposive stimuli, the rewards and the prizes which the group presents to its members. The patent systems of the various nations denote a conscious group effort to stimulate invention by awarding to the inventor a temporary monopoly in the manufacture and in the control of the use of the patented article or process. The objective results of such an inducement are evident. In this country bicycles, tricycles, manufactured ice, phonographs and graphophones, photography, the manufacture of sewing-machines, typewriters and supplies, electro-chemical processes, telegraphy and telephony, and others too numerous to mention, "are the creation of patents." Probably this statement is too sweeping; the patent system is only one factor, though undoubtedly in all its indirect effects an indispensable one, in the origination and perfection of these great modern goods. At all events, this institution for rewarding inventors is the outcome of conscious provision made by the national group for the purpose of creating economic prizes and rewards for the benefactors of mankind.
We shall conclude the treatment of the rôle of social stimuli in invention with illustrations in proof of the proposition that many inventions apparently lack only the requisite stimulation to call them
( 58) into existence. In the instances to be cited the element of social valuation is central and vital. "Thus the greatly increased production and consumption [of rice] among the civilized countries and the technical requirements of a fanciful trade" which have resulted in "the great advancements in the methods [of cleaning it] in recent years" are but the outcome of social developments, some technical, as in means of communication and transportation, others cultural, as in taste and habit. The great advance in the utilization of by-products occurred when men of initiative, ingenuity, and energy appreciated the commercial possibilities which large-scale production and the enlarged market had brought to the old "waste." Nasmyth's invention of the steam-hammer followed almost immediately upon the suggestion that such an instrument was needed by the Great Western Railroad Company. " `In little more than half an hour,'" runs the inventor's account of his invention, " I had the whole contrivance in all its executant details before me in a page of my scheme book.'”  In many cases a pecuniary reward is offered in connection with the suggestion urging the particular invention. Rewards promised by the state exhibit the highest possible integration of the process of social valuation. The record held by France for the first manufacture of oleomargarine is due to the fact that Napoleon III induced the war office to offer a prize for the best substitute for butter. The publication of a reward by the French navy department for a method of preservation of foods for sea service stimulated Nicholas Appert and led to the discovery of the method of hermetic sealing. The appreciation of the worth of a new product and the conscious stimulation by suggestion and promise, by rewards and prizes, are influences which must be kept in mind in analyzing the factors involved in invention.
Before passing to a discussion of the influence of social demand upon invention, it may be well to sum up the effect of social stimuli in drawing out inventive genius. Social stimulus, whether in the intimate circle of acquaintances, in the wider contacts of occupation, of the streets, and of literature, or in scientific and professional
( 59) groups, is wonderfully effective in kindling new interests, in calling out the reserve forces of the individual, in directing the attention to new explanations and to new courses of action, and in promoting the play of rivalry through pace-making and standard-keeping. So fad, fashion, and crazes, the appreciation of natural economic advantages as well as social suggestion and conscious group reward, are the somewhat more tangible forms of social appreciation and social valuation which determine and control the trend and end of invention.
2. Social demand cannot be sharply distinguished from social stimuli. The stimulus is objective; the demand, subjective. From the standpoint of the inventor, social demand, when appreciated, is the stimulus to his endeavors. As we have used the term "stimulus" in the consideration of the viewpoint of the inventor, we now use the word "demand" in treating the subject from the standpoint of the needs of the group. The rôle of demand in invention has been recognized in the proverb, "Necessity is the mother of invention."
In our study of the relation of social demand to invention, we shall confine our attention to an explanation of the great inventions in England in the eighteenth century. We say social demand advisedly. Economic demand is the active phase of pecuniary social valuation. Demand as an economic activity is the resultant of the integration of many individual valuations. At any given time this demand stands over against the individual of a group as an objective, impersonal force. We may forecast the general result of our study when we say that economic demand, and not the peculiar inventive genius of the English people, or mere chance, was the decisive influence in procuring the great inventions in the textile industry.
The big clue to the development of the situation which led to the concentration of a world-demand for manufactured goods upon the English textile industry is to be found in the commercial and political policy of the nation. The study of the conscious national control of wool-growing and woolen manufacture reveals the factors involved.
The practical monopoly of the wool supply by England from the thirteenth to the seventeenth century was as much the outcome of political as of geographical circumstances. The maintenance of general order in England made sheep-raising possible; the perpetually unsettled condition of Western Europe, with its feudal anarchy, afforded no protection to this defenseless animal. The
( 60) consequent demand of Europe for wool resulted in an immense stimulus to wool-growing beyond the humble needs of the local communities. So the anomalous situation arose that although Flanders, the great manufacturing country, was dependent upon England for her wool supply, the latter country was equally indebted to the former country for all the finer woolen cloth.
The righting of this anomaly soon became the conscious effort of English kings, statesmen, and merchants. The social and economic valuation was soon formed, that it was of advantage to England to manufacture the finer grades of her own cloth rather than to export the wool and then to import the manufactured product. The chief difficulties in the situation were two: the low state of the art of weaving in England, and the monopoly enjoyed by Flanders in manufacture. While spinning and weaving in England date back to Neolithic times, very slight progress in this art had been made up to the fourteenth century. Two methods were taken to bring about the desired result : first, encouragement of the settlement of skilled foreign artisans and weavers in England; and secondly, the discouragement and prohibition of the export of English wool and the import of alien cloth.
The encouragement of the settlement of Flemish weavers in England was a part of the conscious national policy. Edward II perceived that the lack of skill of English weavers was responsible for the failure of English weavers to compete with the Flemish. Consequently the royal grant of letters of protection and the general statute of the year 1337 inviting foreign cloth-workers to England directed the stream of Flemish emigration to England during the years of the artisan struggle in Flanders, and greatly improved the standard of English cloth. The second great Flemish immigration of 1567 was due to the position of England as a religious refuge for persecuted continental Protestants, and resulted in a noteworthy improvement in English cloth manufacture.
Growing skill on the part of the English weaver led to the feasibility of conscious national efforts for securing the home market for English goods. The prohibition of the export of wool by the Oxford Parliament as early as 1258 was a failure because of the
( 61) lack of skill among English cloth-makers. The statute of 1337 not only invited foreign cloth-workers to England, but also prohibited the import of cloth, or the export of wool. The statutes of Henry VII and of Henry VIII show three temporary and futile attempts to prohibit the exportation of wool. The subsequent growth of English cloth manufacturing led, in 1648 and again in 1660, to a prohibition, in force until 1825, of the export of English wool. The success of this national internal policy is shown by the fact that at the close of the seventeenth century woolen goods constituted two-thirds of the total exports of England. Thus a monopoly of the wool supply was fast tending to be supplemented by a monopoly of wool manufacture.
Other forces combined to focus the demand for cloth upon England. As we have seen, this growing concentration of foreign demand upon the English textile industry was not altogether a historical accident, but was due in large part to conscious commercial policy. The ruin of Flemish industry by wars of religion in the sixteenth century, the desolation of Germany by the Thirty Years' War in the seventeenth century, the expulsion by France of the Huguenots, the most skilled of her artisan population, were circumstances which no English statesman could directly control. But the colonial struggle of the eighteenth century was a strenuous effort to secure by force of arms a sole market for products, and in this con-test England emerged the victor. As Professor Rogers says : "Now look at the opportunity for the manufacturers who had the chance of supplying a sole market. The seaboard of North America, from Nova Scotia to the borders of Florida, was theirs. India was theirs, and without their permission no one could land cargo, or takecargo thence. The supply of this market, so largely, so suddenly extended, was in the hands of English manufacturers and merchants, and the economy of production, i.e., of inventions in aid of or in substitution of human labor, was the obvious and ready road to wealth. No wonder that the abilities of Arkwright, Crompton and Watt were called into active exercise." Thus an immense and sudden increase of demand in the eighteenth century, due to conscious colonial and commercial policy, made labor-saving devices profitable and created the situation compelling invention.
This historical account of the dependence of the great industrial inventions upon the pressure of economic demand may be supplemented by a logical demonstration. The chief characteristic of practical mechanical invention is the introduction of economy into an industrial process. When the market of the spinner is limited by both the local production and the demand of the local weavers, and at the same time the market of the weaver is only local, it is obvious that there is slight stimulus for increased productivity. The moment that a national or foreign market is open, localization of industry follows with specialization of processes and diversity of products. But when the market becomes world-wide, the economic opportunities of increased production become apparent, and the advantage of mechanical, labor-saving devices is obvious. We shall now consider how the impact of the world-market on the English textile industry affected the concrete act of invention.
While the mediate and fundamental causes of the great inventions were, as has been shown, the concentration of a world-wide demand upon English manufacturing, the immediate and apparent causes Are to be found in an explanation of economic demand as it operates in the coincidence of inventive genius with maladjustments in the productive process. The first of the great industrial inventions in the textile industry and the one which entailed all the others was the mechanical shuttle devised by John Kay in 1738, which doubled the productive powers of the weaver. Why, according to the theory of economic demand and industrial maladjustment, should the first invention occur in the weaving process? A strong objection to the theory supported here is that before the advent of the fly-shuttle, the weaver could, with difficulty, keep himself supplied with yarn. Why, then, did not the improvement occur first in the spinning process? The answer is simple. A priori it is quite evident why the significant inventions should be made, first, in weaving, next, in spinning, and last of all, in the preparation of the raw product for spinning. First of all, the growing force of demand would exert its strongest pressure upon the final process in the manufacture of the raw material into the finished product, that is, upon weaving. Then, too, the advantage to be gained by increased production would naturally accrue to the weaver, while the increase in the productivity of the individual spinner and carder would in all probability result in the decrease of the income of the latter. More
( 63) important than all, the individual spinner was in a position to realize the advantage of his personal increase in productivity, even if the trade as a whole was already suffering from a lack of yarn. Finally, the fact that weaving required a higher development of skill and ingenuity suggests that the first textile invention would occur in this process.
Whatever may have been the combination of factors which resulted in the fly-shuttle, its effect was to intensify the maladjustment in the processes of the textile industry and to make necessary the next invention. The doubling of the productivity of the weaver left the spinner hopelessly in arrears. The family of the weaver could no longer furnish him sufficient yarn; often he must call on five or six spinners in the morning to supplement his supply. The maladjustment became so serious that it rose into the social consciousness, and the social attention was riveted on finding a solution for the problem. "In 1761 the Society of Arts published an advertisement offering a reward of £50 and £25 for the best and second best `invention of a machine that will spin threads of wool, flax, hemp or cotton at one time, and that will require but one person to work and attend it'; and the records of that society show that several spinning machines were in response submitted for its approval." So the attention of many men was engaged upon the problem of devising improved mechanical means of spinning, when Hargreaves, a carpenter and a weaver, in 1770 patented the spinning-jenny, invented by him three years earlier. Improvements followed fast. By 1771 Arkwright had not only succeeded in perfecting the "water-f rame," a device for spinning by rollers, but in employing it in a mill. Finally, in 1779, a spinner near Bolton—Samuel Crompton—combined the principles of these two inventions in a hybrid product, nicknamed the "mule," which effected so enormous an increase in spinning that in 1811 the inventor found more than four and one-half million spindles worked upon the mule in English factories.
These three inventions again inverted the balance of production; the spinning-mule overtook and outdistanced the fly-shuttle. The
( 64) English weavers, until now in dire need of yarn, were unable to utilize the enormous quantity of the machine-spun weft, and witnessed with futile protest the export of the surplus yarn to their continental competitors, who were now in a fair way to supply their own markets. This huge surplus of yarn and the exigencies of foreign competition again engaged the national consciousness and drew out inventive genius. By chance, one of the many conversations over the difficulties of the situation forcibly called the attention of an ingenious clergyman and Oxford graduate to the problem. After three years of weary experimenting, Cartwright produced a practical power-loom for weaving.
Economic demand finally effected improvements in the first stage of the process of cloth manufacture, namely, in the preparation of the raw material for the market. In the case of cotton, it was in accordance with the law that invention occurs within an occupational activity, or within familiarity with it, that the invention of the cotton-gin should come from America.
This reduction of invention to a special case, governed by the laws of demand and supply, omits, of course, a consideration of the other conditions, psychic as well as social, insisted upon above. Nevertheless, with the dominant influence of demand in mind, with the prior failures or half-successes which made possible the more fortunate inventions, we cannot say : without Cartwright, no power-loom ; without Watt, no steam engine ; without Stephenson, no locomotive. The relation of cause and effect seems here to be wonder-fully simple. Kay's flying shuttle, doubling overnight the weaver's productive power, demanded an immediate increase in the spinner's output. Hargreaves' spinning-jenny, Arkwright's water-frame, and Crompton's mule, immediately increased eightfold the spinner's productive power and tantalized the weaver with a surplus of yarn. The power-loom of Cartwright restored the fluctuating balance by the introduction of mechanical weaving. Moreover, the advantage
( 65) of machinery was accentuated by the substitution of the controllable steam engine for the uncontrolled water wheel as motive power. Yet the steam engine might long have waited perfection had it not been for its obvious service in coal mining. Just here the double relation between steam as power and coal as fuel comes in. Owing to the destruction of the wood supply, the steam engine would have been useless without coal, while various processes of coal mining were extraordinarily facilitated by the steam engine. The transportation of coal to market and centers of population demanded a more efficient transit system, and canals and railroads arose to meet the demand. With the perfection of the coal-driven railroad steam engine to haul coal, we have the nineteenth-century means of transportation. The conclusion is irresistible that the introduction of machinery, the employment of the steam engine as motive power, the utilizing of the locomotive and steamship as means of transportation, rest not so much upon the inventive ingenuity of man as upon economic demand and the exigencies of industrial development.
This survey of the causes underlying the great inventions in the textile industry is signal proof of the law of mechanical invention enunciated by Rogers. "Invention is stimulated by a widening market, checked by a narrowing one." Economic demand is the significant force that determines the direction of the inventor's activities, and which rewards his efforts. But economic demand and the inventor's appreciation of its significance are really only the public and the individual phases of social valuation which is the inclusive process. Thus the inter-mental organization of the group operates as a constant force in the industrial activity, making for improvements and labor-saving devices.
Before summing up the results of the study of the rôle of socialization in scientific discovery and mechanical invention, a briefglance at the more universal aspects of invention may assist in orienting us. In the first place, the element common to all invention is valuation or the apprehension and appreciation of the value of a hitherto unutilized method, instrument, or product. This statement does not mean that all valuation is invention, but that the consciousness of value is a fundamental element in the invention process.
( 66) And this value in practically all instances has an origin or a reference beyond the person.
Then, too, the criterion of invention is social. It is logically possible to assume the existence of a totality of possible human acts and of possible products of human activity. In the history of humanity, a great many of these activities have occurred, many of which have become stereotyped as habits of skill and have been acquired afresh through imitation and education by each generation. Certain forms and products of activity have become definite and fixedand remain as part of the cherished heritage of the race until superseded by objects and methods of greater human value. These means of the promotion of activity, tools, language, institutions, ideals, all the technique of control, constitute the cultural equipment of the race. Those modes of action which merely expressed the whim of the individual and were useless or unappropriated by the group are improvisations and not inventions. Those which meet the approval of the group, that "strike us as a new and fruitful employment of the common material," we judge as original and inventions in the true sense. Invention, then, is not only an evaluative activity, but its criterion is social and it is the product of the process of social valuation.
Goethe has confessed this dependence of the loftiest intellect upon the common social life. "The greatest genius would be worth-less without external aids. . . . What have I done? I have gathered and used whatever I have seen, heard, or observed. I have laid claim to the works of Nature and of man. To every one of my writings a thousand persons and a thousand different things have contributed. Old and young, gentle and simple, wise and foolish, have brought their quotas. Mostly without being aware of it, they have bestowed on me their thoughts, their faculties, and their experiences, sowing the grain that I have reaped. My work is an assemblage of essences which have been derived from the course of Nature. This bears the name of 'Goethe.' " This statement expresses in vivid language the now commonplace of social psychologists that the individual is but a function of the group. The genius and the mediocre person are alike dependent upon the nurture of society. Lack of participation in the social activities, in the interests
( 67) and the fund of knowledge, may limit the extraordinary individual, while intimate contact with the current of social experience may greatly magnify the possible achievements of the mediocre person.
In conclusion, we may make a brief résumé of the ground covered. The chief generalization of the study is that the evolution of technique in its processes of invention and discovery is socially conditioned, is in fact a function of socialization. The survival of an innovation requires group appropriation, which is at bottom a social valuation, an inter-psychic process. Then the factors that enter into invention, aside from the neural equipment of the individual, all center about the intimate relating of the person to the social life. Access to the social heritage, the possession of a point of vantage in the social organization, sensitiveness to social stimuli, and appreciation of economic demand: all involve in one way or another personal participation in the mental life of the group. The conclusion is inevitable that socialization, the participation of the person in the thinking, feeling, and action of the group, is indispensable to discovery and invention.
We now turn to a consideration of the wider rôle of socialization in social
progress. Socialization, we see, is fundamental to technical achievement. But is
it the all-inclusive, central process of all human evolution, making for
continued social progress?