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technology is neutral

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Harmonic_Distortion
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Mar 15 2005 19:13
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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.

The only thing you mention there that you can't have under a non-hierarchical system is *national* standards... You can easily have standards and best working practices - most people will agree with these. Those that don't will be able to explain why they don't, I suspect most will work by standards/best workign practices -but what you won't have is a system like today when people CLAIM they are workign to standards when in reality they aren't - thats the dangerous side and the present system encourages it! (ie *cheaper* not to work to standards and so risk lives)

I totally disagree that modern health care has to be founded on "un-libertarian structures" why does it? You can have a case where people research drugs because they are of benefit to people NOT because they will make yourcompany money. Drugs/treatment will be improved because you'd share your research and so you would have peer review - so keeping up the quality - in fact improving the quality.

In the case of a hospital then ofcourse you wouldn't just let anyone practise medicine you'd get a situation where the doctors and nurses would co-operate only with people they see as being trained to the same standards. Under a non-hierarchical system everyone will have the opportunity to be trained to the level they want - so this is no barrier.

HD

(Jason Cortez - I think we are in total agreement.. didn't mean my reply to sound as if I was disagreeing with what you said- just tryign to put my spin on it)

Jason Cortez
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Mar 15 2005 19:55

John, where have i said that technology simply isn't good.

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Of course gav realises sometime's it's used badly!

It's not just about something being used badly, but the also social organisation needed to produce them. At present high technologies require enormous inputs of resources and labour much of which are highly polluting and produced in terrible conditions, whilst we can certainly improve both of these but this will also increase production costs signifcantly. It might also prove somewhat more difficult to retain people in mines, factories etc without ecominic coercion.

My arguement is that these problems can't just be ignore by dismissing such things as primitivists. We need to start thinking about these issues now, not after the revolution. grin

kalabine
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Mar 16 2005 14:44
John. wrote:

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.

definately! there is no sensible argument to that

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Mar 16 2005 15:32
kalabine wrote:
John. wrote:

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.

definately! there is no sensible argument to that

Yes there are, and they've been put several times in this thread. You can't just keep saying 'communism will sort it all out' and expect us to take that. Look at the refusal of work that accompanies anarchist organising -- will people want to get down a mine or work in a smelting plant so much? And if not, how do you overcome the lack of labour for all the production processes?

Edit: no one's replied about containerisation or cars, yet, for example

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Steven.
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Mar 16 2005 15:37
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
Look at the refusal of work that accompanies anarchist organising -- will people want to get down a mine or work in a smelting plant so much?

if you're an anarchist you should trust people to choose for themselves. If they don't want to, it won't happen, so there'll be no problem. What's the big deal?

bigdave
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Mar 16 2005 15:50

This seems to be sliding back towards the debate about Anarchism being "no rules" or "no rulers". I don't think you can completely do away with the structures of mass production when, some day, Anarchism appears. The misuse of these structures is the main problem, not the structures or the products. If we could work back to some to kind of proper Democracy with attendant education, we could maybe try to make technologies work for all people in existence rather than just the rich. Of course, the more people who want to be rich, the less likely this is to happen.

phoebe
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Mar 16 2005 15:56

I really don't see why a system which has levels of standardisation of quality can't also be anarchistic (in terms of being truly democratic). I've never really seen any reason to believe that we need beaurocracy in order to provide vital high-standard services.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Mar 16 2005 16:02
John. wrote:
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
Look at the refusal of work that accompanies anarchist organising -- will people want to get down a mine or work in a smelting plant so much?

if you're an anarchist you should trust people to choose for themselves. If they don't want to, it won't happen, so there'll be no problem. What's the big deal?

We're discussing a theoretical question. Of course that's no big deal. Why don't you as Kalab why s/he started the thread?

Offcentre
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Mar 16 2005 16:15
John. wrote:
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.

.

Well, I hope I'm not making an anti-anarchist point - more hoping to raise what is a problematic area. Yes, I know and accept the point about horizontal structures and federation. In anyting other than than some deep green highly localised future, those would be inevitable mechanisms for co-ordinating social life. As an aside, even the federation principle contains within it the potential for hierarchy and imposition - factors which people would have to guard against. That however wasn't my point. I was arguing that high tech products and systems imply an element of standardisation - which in turn require large organisations and thus elements of the existing factory. The anarcho-factory might not be as alienating - but contains within it definite risks of alienation. Even with workers control, taks rotation, egalitarian rewards and the like, its still not much fun having to work within systems for much of your life.

As I say, none of this leads me into anti-civilization conclusions. I just think that its not always easy to apply to @ist principles to an industrial society - without sacrificing some of that @ism (or at least without thinking of new solutions).

phoebe
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Mar 16 2005 16:26

Everything is a system. Including language. People work within systems because they make life coherent.

kalabine
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Mar 16 2005 16:43
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:

Yes there are, and they've been put several times in this thread. You can't just keep saying 'communism will sort it all out' and expect us to take that. Look at the refusal of work that accompanies anarchist organising -- will people want to get down a mine or work in a smelting plant so much? And if not, how do you overcome the lack of labour for all the production processes?

Edit: no one's replied about containerisation or cars, yet, for example

i have done some unplesant jobs that i would be happy to do under anarchism - as long as i didnt have to do it for more than say 6 hours a day

if people want stuff they will find a way to make it/obtain it - either people will do the dirty/dangerous work required (and spend less time doing it because the same duplication that happens under capitalism wouldnt be required) or alternative ways of manufacturing the desired technology will be developed

necessity is the mother of invention

as for cars - i reckon there would be far fewer than now - with mass public transport, workplaces more integrated with communities, more time to walk/cycle etc

what cars that would be required - and some would - could be powered by electric/alchohol/biodiesal etc - if some pollution is created in their construction - tough luck find ways to offset it

containerisation - you are right about it's origins (if i remember your post - i may go back to it) but under anarchism how would it's use be a problem? for a start far more goods would be produced closer to home than now confused (i'm a bit confused about your point tbh)

kalabine
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Mar 16 2005 16:45
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:

We're discussing a theoretical question. Of course that's no big deal. Why don't you as Kalab why s/he started the thread?

unfortunately the technology debate is one that needs to be had in anarchism

kalabine
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Mar 16 2005 16:51
Offcentre wrote:

Well, I hope I'm not making an anti-anarchist point - more hoping to raise what is a problematic area. Yes, I know and accept the point about horizontal structures and federation. In anyting other than than some deep green highly localised future, those would be inevitable mechanisms for co-ordinating social life. As an aside, even the federation principle contains within it the potential for hierarchy and imposition - factors which people would have to guard against. That however wasn't my point. I was arguing that high tech products and systems imply an element of standardisation - which in turn require large organisations and thus elements of the existing factory. The anarcho-factory might not be as alienating - but contains within it definite risks of alienation. Even with workers control, taks rotation, egalitarian rewards and the like, its still not much fun having to work within systems for much of your life.

i think you are quite right about the potentials for hierachy and alienation, and that they would have to be guarded against

of course they would - but isnt that obvious? all potential/existing societies contain dangers - but a technologically advanced federated libertarian society is the one i want to see

i am well aware of the risks - but hey people would have to guard against them, that's life

i actually invisige that in an ideal anarchist society - some people would try to take advantage of certain "weaknesses" or they may just implement hierarchies etc by "accident" - and then that would have be delt with using whatever mechanisms are in place

anarchism is not the end of history - there would still be struggles to be fought

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Mar 17 2005 11:27
kalabine wrote:
containerisation - you are right about it's origins (if i remember your post - i may go back to it) but under anarchism how would it's use be a problem? for a start far more goods would be produced closer to home than now(i'm a bit confused about your point tbh)

Well my point was that you don't have 'technology' that is neutral (e.g. cars or containers), but a series of initiatives to increase the power of capittal by various ways. If not for the plans and desires of certain classes we wouldn't even have the concept of a 'car' or a 'container' in the same way we do now.

Now we do have them, their use might be adapted -- like all the other stuff we're going to inherit from capitaliism, but that's not the same as saying there would be similar developments or reliance on 'technology' in a communal society. 'Let's find a way to stop dockers stealing' and 'let's make it possible for everyone to go 60mph whenever they want' are questions that simply don't arise. LIkewise there will be other 'questions' that won't arise under workers' control -- therefore less reliance on 'technology'.

Well -- I think I'm making sense...

(PMs Thora)

:greenblackstar:

Caiman del Barrio
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Mar 17 2005 12:27

So, basically when primmos say "technology isn't neutral", they actually mean "capitalism's baaaaad man. they do things for profit, not for our own good".

Jesus fucking Christ. Thanks for the update kids. roll eyes

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Mar 17 2005 12:37

Thanks for missing the point, chuck.

kalabine
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Mar 17 2005 12:41

so hang on laz - are you saying that no technology is neutral or that some technology isnt neutral? confused

because if you think no technology is neutral you are barking up the wrong tree (ie not the one you want to live in twisted )

the fact is that some technology is bad, some is good, some is neutral, that's capitalism for you

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Mar 17 2005 12:46
kalabine wrote:
so hang on laz - are you saying that no technology is neutral or that some technology isnt neutral?

Well I'm not really making a primitivist argument, because that's not what I like. I am saying that no tech is neutral, because it's all been created in a social context (truism), and that if we accept tech that class society has created, then we're in danger of replicating that society in many ways.

kalabine
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Mar 17 2005 13:04
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:

Well I'm not really making a primitivist argument, because that's not what I like. I am saying that no tech is neutral,

well i definately think you're wrong there...as has been explained above by several posters

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Mar 17 2005 13:28
kalabine wrote:
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:

Well I'm not really making a primitivist argument, because that's not what I like. I am saying that no tech is neutral,

well i definately think you're wrong there...as has been explained above by several posters

'Asseted', not explained. Saying that all 'tech' is prodiced in a social context is not the contentious bit, though, is it? You and other people are saying that workers control would be able to transcend the previous context and re-shape it.

If we reject organisational innovations like banks, bureaucracy and so on, why not the material components of the systems of production and control?

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Mar 17 2005 13:30
Jack wrote:
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
'let's make it possible for everyone to go 60mph whenever they want'

If I can't go 60mph whenever I want, it's not my revolution.

Don't worry, Jack, you'll still be able to make throw-away commentas after industrial civilisation.

Maybe we could replicate the anonymnity of enrager forums dialogue by sitting in a circle facing away from each other and wearing masks while talking in silly voices?

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gav
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Mar 17 2005 13:38
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
Well my point was that you don't have 'technology' that is neutral (e.g. cars or containers), but a series of initiatives to increase the power of capittal by various ways. If not for the plans and desires of certain classes we wouldn't even have the concept of a 'car' or a 'container' in the same way we do now.

Now we do have them, their use might be adapted -- like all the other stuff we're going to inherit from capitaliism, but that's not the same as saying there would be similar developments or reliance on 'technology' in a communal society. 'Let's find a way to stop dockers stealing' and 'let's make it possible for everyone to go 60mph whenever they want' are questions that simply don't arise. LIkewise there will be other 'questions' that won't arise under workers' control -- therefore less reliance on 'technology'.

heres my analogy, to paraphrase laz: "If not for the plans and desires of priests and a religous society, we wouldn't even have the concept of a church in the same way we do now.

Now we do have them, their use might be adapted -- like all the other stuff we're going to inherit from religous society, but that's not the same as saying there would be similar developments or reliance on 'churchs' in a communal society."

under libertarian communism, we could use churches, we wouldnt destroy them in their entirety, we would probably get rid of the cross on the spire and the pulpit, etc. we also wouldnt design and build new churches, we would design buildings for the function we require.

Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
if we accept tech that class society has created, then we're in danger of replicating that society in many ways.

this suggests that even though we run the 'church' as a school or hospice or something, even though we have got rid of the priest and the religous artefacts, we are still in danger of organised religion, which is a bit ridiculous.

containers wouldnt be designed to stop theft and devalue the skills (and hence value) of the workforce, however they could be designed to save time. so yes technology under libcom would be responsive to the needs of society. and some aspects of technology might not be suitable for a libcom society and some minor, some major changes would have to be made, but we arent going to burn the church down, we are just altering it to suit our needs and in parallel, designing our own buildings.

does any of that make sense?

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Mar 17 2005 13:58

I think that's a great analogy, I name you 'wild-gav' and pass onto you this coming of age gift

Let's not take this one too far, but if you're accepting that the church (techno society) must be totally changed and never rebuilt then I'm all for it tongue

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Mar 17 2005 14:00

I said at the start that I don't think the pro/anti technology dichotomy makes sense, since selective seed saving and flint-knapping are all 'technologies'.

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gav
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Mar 17 2005 14:02
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:

Let's not take this one too far, but if you're accepting that the church (techno society) must be totally changed and never rebuilt then I'm all for it tongue

thats exactly what i meant smile

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Mar 17 2005 14:13

Personally I think that people aren't going to want to work in factories or mines (worship) or make new ones (build new churches) and this inevitable leaves us developing ways of interacting with the world (different tech, even) that inevitably involves less emphasis on production of our environment and more of an emphasis on enjoying what we already have.

Like each other. Ahhhh 8)

kalabine
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Mar 17 2005 16:55

top post from gav there^

no more needs to be said on this subject black bloc red n black star red n black star red n black star

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cantdocartwheels
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Mar 17 2005 20:48

sorry gav but the church analogy does seem to make anyone look like a lunatic when they use it, and will be really fucking annoying in about five posts time when lazlo says ''working (worshiping)'' again for the nth time. Plus you sound like a loopy maoist. wink

And lazlo, what are you going on about, do you actually have any material arguements or is this all just predictably vague hippy shit. For example, I think the world needs to produce two or three times as much electricty as it currently does, dom you ahve a problem with building large solar, natural gas and wind powered energy stations to accomadate this over a long slow period slowly phasing out the fossil fuel based power stations.

This in varying forms is scientifically accepted wisdom, it makes sense, what is your solution to the electrical needs of the world?

I bet you think consumerism is ''baddd''' aswell and that we should all be like demanding less mann roll eyes

ps no, technology isn't neutral, its clearly beneficial

kalabine
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Mar 17 2005 22:17
cantdocartwheels wrote:

ps no, technology isn't neutral, its clearly beneficial

i agree - just didnt want to scare lazlo or the primmies off too soon wink

Offcentre
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Mar 18 2005 11:58
kalabine wrote:
cantdocartwheels wrote:

ps no, technology isn't neutral, its clearly beneficial

i agree - just didnt want to scare lazlo or the primmies off too soon :wink:

Well, lets go beyond the 'neutral' tag - and talk about social consequences. Clearly some shifts in technology have virtually no consequences of this kind - for example the shift fountain pens to ball points. However some do - for example from handloom weaving to mass produced textiles. Clearly that has social consequences - speeding up the development of the prolertariat; establishing the rule of the clock; factory discipline systems; standardisation of product; standardisation of consumption patterns etc. Now, as has been said, the anarcho-factory could seek to mitigate forms of aliennation through workers control etc. - and I would even say that systmes of mass production would be necessary in some future society with a 60 million population.

However such a society would have to make choices - as to whether it wants smaller, more autonomous forms of craft production - or would seek growth, high living standards and the like (which would thus demand certain forms of social organisation). So, in as much as technology sits at the heart of particular modes of production, it does have consequences.