How a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar

Or, how a freight locomotive may go a progress through the guts of the capital structure:
the life history of a freight locomotive of the vintage, say, of 1890. It began in heavy main-line service. After a few years, the improvement in the new locomotives available and the development of the art of rail-roading made the unit obsolete for that service, which was taken over by more modern power. It was thereupon relegated to branch-line duty where the trains were shorter, the speeds lower, and the annual mileage greatly reduced. For some years it served in that capacity, but better power was continually being displaced from main-line duty and 'kicked downstairs' onto the branch lines, and eventually our locomotive was forced out at the bottom, to become a switcher in one of the tanktown yards along the line. But the march of progress was relentless, and, in the end, thanks to the combination of obsolescence and physical deterioration, it wound up on the inactive list. For some years more it lay around, idle most of the time, but pressed into service during seasonal traffic peaks and special emergencies. Finally, at long last, the bell tolled and it passed off the scene to the scrap heap.
 (Terbogh, quoted in Lachmann, Capital and Its Structure, p. 38)


  1. Anonymous1:20 AM

    You're a really useful engine, Gene.


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