The local systems (drainage) had fallen into grave disrepair, not only through the deprivations of the war, but through the undeniable neglect of Ernest Atkinson, who, whilst his brewery was no more, his water transport company sold up and his agricultural interests whittled away, still held a nominal position of power on the Leem Drainage and Navigation Board (p.191).
This passage illustrates Swift's concept that it is man who produces and controls technology and thus it has much more to do with human nature than machinery. Since human beings are those influencing technology and it is they who acquire "...no achievement without accompanying loss," then technology must also receive the same consequences. Progress does not continuously step forward but takes one step back after every success. Technology and human nature are interdependent and follow similar cycles.