This is a series about the book, Theory of the Leisure Class, by American economist Thorstein Veblen, published in 1899. Chapter Eleven is titled The Belief in Luck.
“Under a system of handicraft an advantage in dexterity, diligence, muscular force, or endurance may, in a very large measure, offset such a bias in the habits of thought of the workmen. Similarly in agricultural industry of the traditional kind, which closely resembles handicraft in the nature of the demands made upon the workman. In both, the workman is himself the prime mover chiefly depended upon, and the natural forces engaged are in large part apprehended as inscrutable and fortuitous agencies, whose working lies beyond the workman’s control or discretion.
As industrial methods develop, the virtues of the handicraftsman count for less and less as an offset to scanty intelligence or a halting acceptance of the sequence of cause and effect. The industrial organization assumes more and more of the character of a mechanism, in which it is man’s office to discriminate and select what natural forces shall work out their effects in his service. The workman’s part in industry changes from that of a prime mover to that of discrimination and valuation of quantitative sequences and mechanical facts.”