Tale of Two Cultures

CP Snow’s lecture on the Two Cultures is a piece on the divide that had grown between scientists and literary intellectuals at the time.  His perspective is interesting in that he was trained a scientist but was a writer in craft giving him a unique bridge between the two worlds.  Snow felt that this divide first really showed itself during the industrial revolution.  He also parallels this with the sharp increase in wealth inequality that also stemmed from this “gilded age.”

In a sense I see him identifying the “non-industrialized” writers with the poor, while the “industrialized” scientists more in line with the rich, as scientific education is certainly less accessible than reading and writing.  And that to bridge this divide an overall increase in education is needed.

I found it particularly poignant that he believed this inequality could not last as people wouldn’t stand for such an injustice if they had knowledge of it.  This was in the 50’s when the top end tax rate of the US was at it’s highest and the extremely wealthy paid a tax rate of well over 50%.  Nowadays with the lower tax rates in the US this wealth gap has ballooned to it’s greatest heights since the start of the industrial revolution with no end in site.  I don’t see this gap every truly going away as whenever there is a revolution, the leadership of said revolution has historically always taken over the role of the new wealthy elite and the cycle of inequality begins anew.

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