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The first man I saw was of a meagre aspect…He has been eight years upon a project for extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, which were to be put in phials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw inclement summers. He told me, he did not doubt, that, in eight years more, he should be able to supply the governor's gardens with sunshine, at a reasonable rate: but he complained that his stock was low, and entreated me "to give him something as an encouragement to ingenuity, especially since this had been a very dear season for cucumbers."Yes, Gulliver met a solar power researcher. How does this speak to us today? Consider that in Germany, the world leader in solar power, photovoltaic solar panels supply 0.6 percent of the country's energy, but the total cost to the country's economy for those modules, which have been installed in the past decade, is likely to reach almost $75 billion. It is always a very dear season for solar power.
In these colleges the professors contrive new rules and methods of agriculture and building, and new instruments, and tools for all trades and manufactures; whereby, as they undertake, one man shall do the work of ten; a palace may be built in a week, of materials so durable as to last for ever without repairing. All the fruits of the earth shall come to maturity at whatever season we think fit to choose, and increase a hundred fold more than they do at present; with innumerable other happy proposals. The only inconvenience is, that none of these projects are yet brought to perfection; and in the mean time, the whole country lies miserably waste, the houses in ruins, and the people without food or clothes. By all which, instead of being discouraged, they are fifty times more violently bent upon prosecuting their schemes, driven equally on by hope and despair.As Swift so ably reminds us, innovation for its own sake comes at a cost, particularly when it is preceded by rejection of the old. Would that the Obama administration had kept that in mind before imposing stricter automobile fuel economy standards without any real idea of how to reach them!
[S]ome few other persons of quality and gentry had done the same, but were looked on with an eye of contempt and ill-will, as enemies to art, ignorant, and ill common-wealth's men, preferring their own ease and sloth before the general improvement of their country.Apparently, Swift even anticipated the price of being a global warming skeptic.