Russian communism, e.g., is supposed to be different from US capitalism because Americans are materialistic while Russians are spiritual! There are also some inane & pointless references to "eastern mysticism" (whatever the hell that is).
The story is in the form of conflicting opinions between two friends - one materialistic, other supposedly spiritual - who go on to found their separate communes in a post war US.
- This may be the oldest story I've seen that explicitly mentions a now not uncommonly discussed difficulty any future reconstruction will have: all
readily accessible metals & fossil fuels are already mined. So we
dig deeper & at more inaccessible places with the machines. What
happens when a war destroys the machines that can dig deep?
In the story, it's partly recycling old metal objects & partly a quest to find substitutes from stuff now readily available.
- Title appears to signify a win of materialism over spiritualism. The spiritual man, now old & with failing eyesight, walks long distance to materialistic one, who's a glass maker, in the hope of getting a pair of vision glasses.
Fact sheet.First published: Astounding, April 1958.
Download full text as part of the scans of Astounding (British Edition), July 1958 where it was reprinted.
Among the stories from Astounding/Analog issues edited by John Campbell.
Related: Stories of Jon Stopa.