A Historical Detour That May Be Fatal:
What We Can Learn from the Luddite’s Community-Centered Approach to Technology
By C. A. Bowers
It is now popular to claim that anyone who questions modern technologies, especially the digital revolution that is sweeping around the world, is a Luddite. Like so many of our labels, this one misses what was really important about the efforts of the Luddites to resist the machines that were introducing a new economic order that was radically different from the role technology played in the pre-industrial communities in the English Midlands. The enclosing of the English commons during the latter years of the 1700s, and the establishment of steam driven machines was the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. As Kirkpatrick Sale noted, this revolution introduced fundamental social changes ignored by those who use the label of Luddite to dismiss the critics of technology. As he noted:
All that “community” implies—self-sufficiency, mutual aid, morality in the market place, stubborn tradition, regulation by custom, organic knowledge instead of mechanistic science—had to be steadily and systematically disrupted and displaced. All of the practices that kept the individual from being a consumer had to be done away with so that the cogs and wheels of an unfettered machine called “the economy” could operate without interference, influenced merely invisible hands and inevitable balances… (1995, 38)
Dismissing the Luddites as reactionaries also involves ignoring the importance of the self-sufficient communities they were defending...
What Educators have Ignored About the Cultural
Transforming Nature of Modern Technologies
Is the Digital Revolution Driven by an Ideology
and the Darwinian Forces of Natural Selection?
The Digital Revolution and the Unrecognized Problem
of Linguistic Colonization
How Democracy is Disappearing Under the
Computer Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future
Is the Digital Revolution Sowing the
Seeds of a Techno-Fascist Future?
How the Kahn Academy Uses a 21st Century
Technology to Reinforce a 17th Century Mindset
The Cultural Non-Neutrality of the Digital
Revolution and the Deepening Ecological Crisis
Is the Digital Revolution
Turning Education into a Ponzi Scheme?
Educational Reforms in an Era of Global
Warming and Digital Insecurities
Eco-Justice Press, L.L.C. © 2011-2016
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