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technology is neutral

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Tom A
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Mar 10 2005 15:00
Crypt wrote:
Yeh, good idea, but I actually know some half decent australians, any chance we could replace Australia with America? that would be a damn good improvement

(for no other reason that blindly hateing america - damn i'm such a stereotype sad )

I happen to know some quite decent Americans, pretty much every American I have met at uni at least expresses criticism for the antics of their government.

How about France? tongue

Garner
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Mar 10 2005 15:14

How about we put the power stations in Antarctica and ship all the offensive Australians, Americans and French out there as slave labour?

phoebe
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Mar 10 2005 15:23

I think this talk of shipping Americans, French and Australians to the antarctic is symbolic of the patriarcho-fascist anti-environmentalist hegemony. Clearly they should be made go there on a pedalo making directly democratic decisions in a peddler's council about how much peddling each one does.

Harmonic_Distortion
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Mar 11 2005 00:09
Quote:

I do maths. It goes with the territory (I have a book on unsolved problems in algebraic number theory in front of me right now).

You aren't a real geek/nerd until you've managed to solve a couple then pencilled in the answers and put it back on the Library shelf before hacking the the keycard for the photocopier machine ... then back home to quote Monty Python

HD

Nick Durie
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Mar 11 2005 00:58
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discard old stuff and buy new when they don't really need anything newer or faster

Computers get faster - applications of computer technology tends to get slower - for example mobile phones are slower than they used to be.

I think that debates about whether one technology is good or bad are framed in moralism that stinks of reactionary 19th century thought. Is a hydrothermal nuclear bomb bad - answer.... NO! Is it good - NO!

It could however be useful for blasting a planet that a future socialist society was mining however, also who's to say that it won't be needed for a future war? I don't approve of such things by and large but I could see hypotheticals.

I also vehemently disagree with this nonsense about a communist society being lower in technology - that's crap, it would quite patently be far more technologically advanced than at present. Capitalism has become a massive break on scientific progress (the mobile phone example given above is just one of trillions of examples like it) - it brings the market into knowledge, turning ideas and memes into the private property of some bourgeois fucks, or speculators and pension funds, preventing other minds from gaining access to the collective pool of humanity's wisdom. Also as regards flatscreen tellies etc... Well people used to go to the cinema in a much more communal and more utilitarian sense than they do today, and without the profit motive they could be wherever people needed them. Imagine all those billboards turned into an open medium for televisual communication

Communism, for sure, is a process, we cannot expect (even if the revolution happened tomorrow) for any of us to live under it in the truest sense in our lifetimes. Humanity will need to work and learn to be better. Socialism however is the only route to communism and we can build this now.

As regards silicone chips et al, who is to say that they could not be made safely (Has anyone ever really tried? Also what about all the people who love to tinker around with cars and engines, even tho it's well known that this increases the risk of cancers and abnormalities later in life? I mean I'm a gardener by trade - technically that's a lot more dangerous than an office job. I use often dangerous tools. I still wouldn't trade my job for the world and even under communism I couldn't see anything I'd rather by doing than working with plants or trees outdoors.), without the drive to mass produce them at lowest cost for the highest return on investment - we have only our creativity to limit us in a future society.

For Anarchist-Communism

red n black star Nick Durie red n black star

Nick Durie
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Mar 11 2005 01:14

As far as I'm aware that would be quite possibly the worst thing we could do in the situation but something like that, yes. wink

phoebe
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Mar 11 2005 09:21
Harmonic_Distortion wrote:
Quote:

I do maths. It goes with the territory (I have a book on unsolved problems in algebraic number theory in front of me right now).

You aren't a real geek/nerd until you've managed to solve a couple then pencilled in the answers and put it back on the Library shelf before hacking the the keycard for the photocopier machine ... then back home to quote Monty Python

HD

I guess. I doubt anyone's a geek then.

Crypt
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Mar 11 2005 10:29

Pretty much agree Nick, technology would be more advanced, but more advanced doesn't always mean there would be more individual devices. Take for example if people all went to the cinema a lot more and had less TV's in their home, it would then follow that the technology for making cinema screens would be more advanced than it is today, it's just that the need to build them would deminish, although the same wouldn't follow with medicines, where there would likely be more made.

I think research into areas would be based around making the technology a lot safer if everyones life was respected properly so there may well be developed safer and cleaner methods of production, so technology would advance, just into different areas than it is today.

As reguards nuclear weapons, I don't know the exact science behind blasting a meteor out of the sky, but it may be that a nuclear weapon would come in quite handy in that situation, but given the remote possibility of that happening it's not certain that justifies keeping them around, and if it did then they would have to be small in number and kept in a safe place where people could only get to with the concensus of all the world. Thats another debate though and not sure exactly where I stand on that, but certainly we would only have a very small number of weapons like that at any time and not for use in any wars at all ever.

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Rob Ray
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Mar 11 2005 12:12

The general consensus is that because asteroids are made up of loose associations of particles, most of them would act as a sponge and simply absorb the nuke impact without diverting off course afaik.

Mike Harman
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Mar 11 2005 12:17
Quote:
the same wouldn't follow with medicines, where there would likely be more made.

Maybe, but anti-depressants are so over-prescribed in the US that I heard somewhere it's started to affect the water supply. Currently there's a lot of medications that are promoted due to corporate pressure rather than health needs, but then there's loads that don't get made/distributed where they're very much needed. So maybe a bit, more, but even in that case I reckon redistribution of resources would make a big difference, wouldn't simply be a case of more production.

phoebe
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Mar 11 2005 12:39

In the UK there are identifiable levels of prozac in the water apparently.

Garner
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Mar 11 2005 12:43

I remember that being in the news last year, but I'm pretty sure it turned out to be yet another case of journalists grossly misinterpreting scientific data the way they always do.

kalabine
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Mar 11 2005 12:44

i think some nukes would need to be kept for dealing with nonces

Garner
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Mar 11 2005 12:46

Perhaps we should just fire nonces at asteroids instead.

BB
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Mar 11 2005 12:49
kalabine wrote:
i think some nukes would need to be kept for dealing with nonces

Dr Strangelove styley, and then shoot them at asteroids! To no effect, Damn!

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Ed
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Mar 11 2005 13:04
revol68 wrote:
and nuclear power stations that will be all placed in australia so to minimise the threat to the rest of humanity if one fucks up. Infact we should encase all of australia in lead and make them all slaves in nuclear power plants. Someone give me a fucking nobel peace prize, not only would I be giving the australians a culture other than crime, sport, bbq's, shit lager and killing the natives i'd have sorted the worlds energy problems.

Sorry revol, but your distaste for Australian culture, rather than show how cultured you are, just exposes your sheer ignorance of the region. Australia has a rich literary culture spanning centuries with writers such as Patrick White, Miles Franklin and Jeannie Gunn. More recently we've seen writers such as Peter Carey and Thomas Keneally. It's art has also been historically inspirational, whether contemporary or that of native aboriginal rock art.

The history of class struggle in Australia is also a very rich story of trade unionism crossing racial divisions (such as the Wave Hill Stockmen's strike of 1966) and of urban revolts within Aboriginal communities.

Plus, when I was at school I had this well fit Aussie biology teacher. I'd have done extra-curricular activities with her any day. Any day! She was a blond bint with a fucking great arse and tongue piercing. Sometimes I used imagine that she would be sucking me off in class and the other kids would be like "Yo, Eddie G, what the hell you doin', maaaan!?" and I'd be like "What does it look like dickhead? Getting the teacher to suck my fucking cock!" and they'd all be like "Aayy".

red n black star

nastyned
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Mar 11 2005 13:31

Australia also has Coopers brewery, which put out a fine range of excellent ales.

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the button
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Mar 11 2005 13:34
kalabine wrote:
i think some nukes would need to be kept for dealing with nonces

Too quick. I vote cutlery.

Jason Cortez
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Mar 12 2005 13:45

to get this thread back on track (increasing the potential for flame wars, see new technology new ways to argue).

As Lazlo has said the pro/anti technology debate is pretty much a red herring. No one has proposed a useable definition as a basis for debate or even a starting point for discussion around agreed meanings. It seems that we are often talking at cross purposes.

Is language a technology because it's an extension of the voice box?

Does tool use amongst animals consitute technology?

Is agriculture, an example of technology and hunter/gathering not?

Here's my tupennce worth.

Technology is a PROCESS not a mere collection of artifacts. It is NOT neutral, as it represents a host of operating proceedures in it's production. Technology is an organising process as much as beinga product of social organisation. It's a two way street.

Technology is situated in the social relations of the soceity that produces it, and it thus embodies these but also alters them in turn.

Knowing a good deal about the values and power relationships in our soceity we can deconstruct our technologies to discover the ways in which thier apparent neutrality masks codes of privilege and meanings.

it is a commonplace that technology is simply an extension of human capabilities, it is also a projection of meanings.

The 'Victorians gave (groups of) people a place along a contiuum according to the preceived evolutionary level of tools used. This still echoes down today in notions of the inevitabilty of Progress (mainly reduced to technological 'advancement') and that technology develops out of it's own irrestitable logic.

Saying that technology is awesome as Jack is want to do, misses the point that said technologies are a result of oppressive, exploitative and unsustainable social and biological realities. To assume that current technologies are suitable for a communist soceity and can be simply transfered is frankly niave.

But, hey we all know that (some?) CAG hate anyone with less developed technology than themsleves (those dirty, backward peasants should get down the mines and increase the means of production, selfish cunts).

So when discussing technologies we need to look at

How the technology is made

who makes the technology and under what conditions

who owns the technologies

what it is made for and how it is used

how it is diposed of

the symbolic meanings of the technology and it's uses

and the interconected web of technologies, their practices and affects on people and bio-sphere.

Anything else anyone?

I' going to stop now, before i really sart rambling.

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gav
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Mar 14 2005 17:19

anarchism has the rare distinction of being the only 'subculture' in society where you have to argue with people, to prove that technology is actually a good thing.

its fucking sickening.

Jason Cortez
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Mar 14 2005 20:26

Gav, technology isn't inherently good or bad. You don't seem to see that technology has social implications some of which will be negative.

Thora
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Mar 14 2005 22:44
Jason Cortez wrote:
It is NOT neutral... technologies are a result of oppressive, exploitative and unsustainable social and biological realities. To assume that current technologies are suitable for a communist soceity and can be simply transfered is frankly niave.

Excellent point Jason.

Harmonic_Distortion
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Mar 14 2005 23:58
Jason Cortez wrote:

. To assume that current technologies are suitable for a communist soceity and can be simply transfered is frankly niave.

.

As you said it is a product of the society that created it. Thats why at present it is only really used in the hands of the few and in many cases can be considered bad for people/environment. But technology itself isn't bad - technology produced by an anarcho society will inevitably mirror so can be used as a force to equalise the world.. As you said/alluded to.

But the problemis with transfering it. To begin with it will have to be transfered otherwise we may as well re-invent the wheel. There is no point in destroying what we already have that would be a huge waste- we'd have to work with it in the early stages - just like we'd have to work with the centralised infrastructures we have at present. But this doesn't mean we'd continue in this way. Over a few years or so it would be redirected .. just as peoples minds will take time to re-adjust technology and its drivers will need time to re-adjust. If there was revolution overnight it would still take a while before everything fit in place.

But we can modify technology to be beneficial for all - it will just take a while. In fact in minor cases we can even do it in small ways while capitalism is still in power. Just like we can have Temporary Autominous Zones we can have benefiicial technology - even though surrounded by capitalist rot.

HD

Jason Cortez
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Mar 15 2005 00:35

My point was we will obviously need to seize the means of production, but that we can't assume we can just manage it.

Auheben say it nice and simply;

Quote:
The old project of simply taking over existing means of production was the creation of an era before capital had so thoroughly invested its own subjectivity in technology, design and the labour process. The technology that promises to liberate us in fact enslaves us by regulating our activities in and through work and leisure; machines and factories pollute our environments and destroy our bodies; their products offer us the image of real life instead of its substance. Now, more than ever, it is often more appropriate to smash existing means of production than merely manage them differently. We must therefore go beyond leftist notions of the neutrality of technology and problematize their definitions of progress.

I think we are probaly more in agreement than disagreement.

butchersapron
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Mar 15 2005 09:07

I know that i've recommended this before but it really is a key text:

The Capitalist Use of Machinery: Marx Versus the Objectivists

http://www.geocities.com/cordobakaf/panzieri.html

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Mar 15 2005 15:05

Go, on, summaries it for us. I'm busy today tongue

Offcentre
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Mar 15 2005 16:07

I'll start with a quick "I'm not a primitivist but..." comment, but go on to say its hard to isolate good from bad technologies. A quick example:

I just had a very high tech MRI scan. No doubt about it - I needed it and would be a bit pissed off if such things were not around (though, interestingly, this is a high tech answer to a problem caused by other technology - a car).

However, lets think about that scanner: its the result of organised science and requires a whole range of things - supporting technologies, trained technicians, radioigraphers + manufacturers, Universities to train the engineeers, radiographers etc. Further, you need absolute standardisation with these things - in terms of the machine itself, national standards for medical training etc etc. These in turn require big organisations, bureaucracy and even hierarchy. IN fact the very existence of something like a modern health system is premised on those kind of profoundly un-libertarian structures.

Now, it seems to me, that in some libertarian future, if you want advanced medicine, the best you could end up with is some kind of workers control - with federations etc. - but still something like a 'factory/bureaucracy system'. So.. there is a sense in which technology does have a direct impact on social relations and forms of organisation.

You could of course apply this kind of logic to things like mass transport systems. If you plan to still have air travel, mass shipping etc - you are also led to the need for things like specialisation, standardisation, alienatoin - and maybe even disciplinary systems in the workplace. Ditto if you want anything like a national grid for power distribution. All this is of course uncomfortable stuff for anarchists.

This doesn't lead me to a primitivist position - but does pose the question about the need for a trade off between high tech and libertarian forms of organisation in the workplace.

kalabine
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Mar 15 2005 16:39

if i thought we had no chance of getting those things you listed offcentre in a libertarian society i'd convert to bureaucratic socialism overnight

maybe the millies...

Offcentre
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Mar 15 2005 17:00

Well, by and large, I would want to keep a lot of the tech, medicine and stuff (along with a hefty dose of sustainable technology of course). But the question then becomes how do you deliver it without all of the alienating aspects of productive life that I alluded to.

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Steven.
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Mar 15 2005 18:49
Offcentre wrote:
These in turn require big organisations, bureaucracy and even hierarchy.

That doesn't follow at all - you're equating all organisation with hierarchy and bureaucracy. This is an anti-anarchist argument, because of course things can be organised in an anarchist way - horizontally, with federated collectives and a recallable delegate system.

Jason:

Quote:
Gav, technology isn't inherently good or bad. You don't seem to see that technology has social implications some of which will be negative.

Of course gav realises sometime's it's used badly! You are arguing however that it's not neutral, and say it's not "good" therefore what is left other than that it's inherently bad?

Technology is *good*. It could be used to massively better human standards of living, save the environment and increase human freedom. Capitalists *mis*use it, but under workers' control technology like now with reflect and help shape this libertarian society.