Upcoming Events

International | Anti-Capitalism

no events match your query!

New Events

International

no events posted in last week

User Preferences

  • Language - en | ga
  • text size >>
  • make this your indymedia front page make this your indymedia front page

Blog Feeds

Irish Left Review
Joined up thinking for the Irish Left

offsite link New Books Worth Reading Mon Sep 19, 2016 23:25 | Seán Sheehan

offsite link 13 Billion ? Lucky for some? Mon Sep 05, 2016 13:04 | Tony Phillips

offsite link Rebuilding Ireland: Long on Promise, Short on Detail Mon Aug 29, 2016 22:20 | Eoin O'Mahony

offsite link Brexit and Other Issues: Comments on the Current Situation Mon Aug 29, 2016 21:52 | Brendan Young

offsite link Bin Charges: From Private Circus to Public Service Tue Jun 21, 2016 12:38 | Michael Taft

Irish Left Review >>

Spirit of Contradiction

offsite link What is Dogmatism and Why Does It Matter? Wed Mar 21, 2018 08:10 | Sylvia Smith

offsite link The Case of Comrade Dallas Mon Mar 19, 2018 19:44 | Sylvia Smith

offsite link Review: Do Religions Evolve? Mon Aug 14, 2017 19:54 | Dara McHugh

offsite link Fake News: The Epistemology of Media Wed Jun 07, 2017 11:52 | Gavin Mendel-Gleason

offsite link Officials and Provisionals Sat Apr 01, 2017 22:54 | James O'Brien

Spirit of Contradiction >>

Public Inquiry
Interested in maladministration. Estd. 2005

offsite link Orwell’s 1984 arrives in 2018 Ireland

offsite link Elaine Byrne: Not speaking full truth to power Anthony

offsite link Israel/Ireland: Corruption comparison Anthony

offsite link Irish cowboy town and fake regulatory agencies Anthony

offsite link Elaine Byrne: Failing to join up the dots on state corruption Anthony

Public Inquiry >>

The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

offsite link Sexy metal: the missing element in the Korean puzzle Wed Jun 20, 2018 20:00 | The Saker
by Pepe Escobar (cross-posted with the Asia Times by special agreement with the author) US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo knows the importance of rare earth elements, and North Korea

offsite link Syrian War Report ? June 20, 2018: Syrian Army Attacks Militants In Daraa Province Wed Jun 20, 2018 16:54 | Scott
https://southfront.org/syrian-war-rep... On June 19, units of government forces attacked positions of militant groups near the village of Buser al-Harir northeast of the southern Syrian city of Daraa. Sporadic clashes in

offsite link How Iran got economically socialist, and then Islamic socialist Wed Jun 20, 2018 16:54 | The Saker
by Ramin Mazaheri for the The Saker blog ?Ramin Mazaheri, a foreign correspondent for Iran?s Press TV, posted a blog accusing the World Socialist Web Site of betraying its ?socialist principles? and

offsite link Why do we need the World Football Cup? By Ruslan Ostashko Tue Jun 19, 2018 23:46 | Scott
Translation and subtitles by Scott Humor Edited by Leo original video I have read many articles, social media posts, and readers’ comments  searching for answers to the question: “Why do

offsite link Syrian War Report ? June 19, 2018: Many Govt Fighters Killed In Alleged US Strikes In Eastern Syria Tue Jun 19, 2018 22:09 | Scott
https://southfront.org/syrian-war-rep... On June 18, the US-led carried out airstrikes on a position of government forces at the village of of al-Hiri, located southeast of the border town of al-Bukamal, the

The Saker >>

Neo-Luddism - a future based on simplicity

category international | anti-capitalism | opinion/analysis author Thursday November 01, 2012 12:12author by Luke Eastwood Report this post to the editors

Why technology is NOT going to solve all our problems

People who have asked me about Neo-Luddism often assume that I am completely anti technology, but that is not the case. Like the original Luddites, I am opposed to the use of technology to dis-empower and impoverish people and I am also opposed to the abuse of technology simply to make profit or to kill (sometimes it’s both).

We have had technology for a long time, some would consider the stick, a flint hand axe or fire as the first technology; hence to be opposed to technology per se is somewhat disingenuous.

My position is not based on ignorance – I have a science degree, which consisted primarily of Business Studies and Computer Science; I have personal experience of working in the City of London for financial institutions and financial publications and I spent 10 years living a thoroughly modern lifestyle in one of the world’s major cities and I have also visited several other major cities around the world.

My position is based on personal experience and observation of the system of human civilization that most people would (incorrectly) describe as Capitalist society. Like previous versions of this system, which appears to have emerged from the early city states of Arabia, I believe this version is also destined to crash.

The difference now is that the system has spread to encompass the whole planet and hence its collapse will have a global rather than a localized impact. If we consider the Earth as a system, I would posit that it is a single input closed system. That single input is radiation, mostly solar, although the Earth is on rare occasions influenced by the impact of meteorites. However, in terms of Human existence we can effectively ignore the infrequent input of a significant meteorite collision.

A truly closed system is one that has no outside inputs, but our planet has a single continuous energy input from the sun, that is fixed within a narrow range (TSI approx. 1.3 KW/m2). Everything else here is of finite quantity – there is a limited amount of useable water, useable land, limited fossil fuels, limited air-borne gasses, limited metals etc.

The natural equilibrium established over millions of years does allow variance in temperature, drinkable water, oxygen levels etc, however these are within limits defined by the size and content of the system – i.e. the physical limitations of this planet, a factor in life that we have tended to ignore.

After several millennia of experiments in living – what me might call civilizations we still do not seemed to have mastered the basics of prudent use of resources, cooperation for the benefit of the species or understanding the limits imposed by being a constituent of what is essentially a closed system.

I believe that our current state of technology could enable us to achieve an equitable, sustainable and efficient way of living, but I do not believe that we currently have the will to implement such a way of life. Technology is employed mostly to find more creative ways of killing each other, creating mostly useless rubbish for consumers to buy and also for finding more efficient and cheaper methods of achieving the above.

Alvin Toffler wrote what I’d consider a visionary book about our future in 1970, entitled ‘Futureshock’. Unfortunately Toffler’s disturbing predictions proved to be correct and I’d suggest that the onward march of technology, which seems to be for its own sake, is making our problems worse, not better.

Two other writers that have influenced my thinking are E.F. Schumacher and Thom Hartmann. Although writing from vastly different perspectives, I feel that both of them accurately illustrate the mistakes we’ve made and the problems that we will continue to encounter.

If we must insist on filling our homes with useless plastic crud, manufactured and shipped from China (or the next up-and-coming cheap producer) and continue to rely on those others than ourselves and our immediate social circle for the necessities of life then I think that we can expect our civilization to completely collapse within decades.

I do not endorse Neo-Luddism simply because I find a simple lifestyle to be emotionally satisfying. I believe that simplicity, up-skilling and self-reliance are essential tools for survival. If I am indeed right about a collapse then those who are just good with iPads will have dramatically lower chances than those who are good with basic knowledge of food production, herbal medicine, DIY, mechanics, etc.

If I am wrong (I’d honestly love to be wrong) then these are all additional skills that might come in useful at some point, might be fun to indulge in and could even save on expenditure. Personally I am not prepared to put my faith in a technological solution to the world’s problems. After millennia of perceived ‘progress’ we can’t even stop killing each other (over 1.6m deaths due to murder, suicide or war in 2002 – WHO/GBD stats), so call me cynical but I think I will continue to hedge my bets!

Related Link: http://www.lukeeastwood.com
© 2001-2018 Independent Media Centre Ireland. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Independent Media Centre Ireland. Disclaimer | Privacy