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#20930 - 01/24/03 10:20 AM You make a difference!
C-H Offline


Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
{soapbox mode on}

Have you ever thought of what the world would look like without electricians? I argue that an advanced civilization simply cannot exist without you.

Here's why:

It's a reasonable assumption that society needs to be rather urbanised to be efficient and advanced. To build an urban society you need:

1.) "Advanced" house construction, i.e. something more than huts. This was achieved already in the ancient world.

2.) Food supply. This was a major obstacle to city growth prior to the advent of refridgeration. Ancient Rome had about a million inhabitants, and it was only barely possible to supply it with sufficient amounts of food.

3.) Water supply: Without a water and sewage system even a small city cannot exist. This was one of the real engineering wonders of the ancient world. Both the Greeks and the Romans constructed large water pipelines, some of which still stand today.

4.) Electric power: It offers light, communication and mechanical power, all of which are absolutely essential to any city. The lack of electric power was what for centuries blocked development and the emergence of a modern society. You may argue that steam engines, gas lights and similar makeshift arrangements could have been used instead of electricity. However, this would not have allowed the society to develop very far beyond what it was in the mid 19:th century England. Steam engines are gone: obviously they aren't needed to build an advanced civilization. Water pipes and power lines are here to stay: they are a necessary part of any advanced civilization. An invention that does away with the need for water or electricity is extremely unlikely.

What I'm getting at is that society can survive without cars, airplanes and computers, but not without plumbers and electricians. Alongside with that of farming, these trades are the most fundamental of the society.

I have met researchers that have given several reasons why efficient energy sources in general and electric power in particular is of paramount importance. These range from health effects of small scale burning of fuels in e.g. a fireplace to the freeing of workforce as it the small scale collecting of fire wood is no longer necessary.

The following article from the OECD Observer offers another and rather depressing perspective on electrification:
The fact that 1.6 billion people in the world have no electricity and 2.4 billion rely on primitive biomass (wood, agricultural residues, dung) for power may be shocking, but what is worse is that without radical new policies, the figures will be virtually the same 30 years from now. That is one message of the International Energy Agency’s latest World Energy Outlook and “this is not a sustainable future,” says IEA executive director Robert Priddle. Although access to electricity is spreading, it is not growing as fast as the world population, and on current trends 1.4 billion people will still be without electricity in 2030, the World Energy Outlook says. And because electricity is relatively expensive when it does arrive, people do not simply substitute it for biomass sources of energy. Many homes in developing countries use electricity only for light and still use wood and other biomass products for cooking and heating. As a result, on current trends the number of people reliant on biomass is expected to rise to 2.6 billion in the next 30 years, at significant cost to human health and the environment because of smoke pollution and reduction of natural biomass resources.

[This message has been edited by C-H (edited 01-24-2003).]

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#20931 - 01/24/03 10:59 AM Re: You make a difference!
Redsy Offline

Registered: 03/28/01
Posts: 2138
Loc: Bucks County PA
Not only that, but we'd all be watching TV in the dark!

#20932 - 01/24/03 12:01 PM Re: You make a difference!
Happi_Man Offline

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 213
Loc: Columbus, Ohio - USA
not to mention - that's all you'd be watching - a blank screened tv...

#20933 - 01/24/03 12:50 PM Re: You make a difference!
cubby964 Offline

Registered: 10/18/02
Posts: 69
Loc: USA
If we are so important, then why do the computer "Geeks" make the big bucks, and we are a success if we are the low bidder.

(tongue in cheek)!

(or maybe foot in mouth)?

#20934 - 01/24/03 04:15 PM Re: You make a difference!
electure Offline


Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4226
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA
Human needs water=plumber
Human needs lights=You and me
Human needs comfort=HVAC, and you& me
Human needs drywall... ...S

#20935 - 01/25/03 05:37 AM Re: You make a difference!
jlhmaint Offline

Registered: 05/25/02
Posts: 208
Loc: Fredericktown, OH, U.S.A
We were just talking about this at the factory i work at yesterday.

its a big circle we all need each other the white collar millionars and upper class might look down on the little people but if it wasn't for the waitress, gas station attendedents, factory workers, electricians, plumbers, construction. those people and everyone would be in a hell of a bind. it takes everyone or nothing would work. and if wasn't for the rich people with investment money you wouldn't have the factories and alot of the buisness that supply work and the things we take for granite

#20936 - 01/25/03 05:40 AM Re: You make a difference!
iwire Offline

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA

I think Redsy was making a joke
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#20937 - 01/25/03 06:20 AM Re: You make a difference!
Happi_Man Offline

Registered: 06/12/02
Posts: 213
Loc: Columbus, Ohio - USA
I think he was too - i was just adding my 2 cents

#20938 - 01/25/03 08:24 PM Re: You make a difference!
waymag Offline

Registered: 01/13/02
Posts: 68
Loc: dallas, texas, USA
Cubby I agree with you 100 percent. I just cant figure out why the computer geeks for example make WAY more than us. I just do not know of a job where you can lean or do as much as you do in the electrical trade.

#20939 - 01/26/03 06:26 AM Re: You make a difference!
macwire Offline

Registered: 11/17/02
Posts: 42
Loc: Philadelphia, PA, USA
The "computer geeks" aren't making nearly as much as they used to. With the crash of the dot-coms, many non-dot-com businesses are cutting back their IT (Information Tech) budgets. That means that even at these businesses, geeks are being laid off or forced to take pay cuts. Those who haven't are usually in constant fear for their jobs.

It's also a hundred times harder to find a decent computer geek job than it was even 2 years ago. Again, the dot-com crash put many geeks out of work, and more were pink-slipped as other companies cut back on payrolls. Since there are many out-of-work IT people (geeks) out there now, the geek who does manage to get a new job usually gets paid a LOT less that a few years back. It's an employer's market in IT these days, and will probably remain an employer's market for some years to come.

It is the rare geek who can still command a premium wage, and that geek usually has premium skills to offer (or premium connections..). There is little future for those geeks not already in that exalted position.

That's why I, a computer geek, am changing professions and am enrolling in an electrician apprenticeship come this April. The electrical field to me seems to be more stable, more essential, and more lucrative than IT. Plus it still has geeky elements of playing with doodads and having knowledge that most non-geeks don't have and don't want to have.


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