Technophobia and technophilia

In: Uncategorized

23 Jun 2007

James Heartfield has written a characteristically astute review article on technophilia and technophobia for the latest spiked review of books. Rather than attempt to summarise the whole thing I will point to a few snippets:

* “Post-Fordist Britain makes more cars than ever before, and the weight of car production remains firmly in the developed world.” I have long suspected this was the case but had not tracked down the reference to prove it. Heartfield cites The Shock of the Old by David Edgerton.

* American Cold War intellectuals played a key role in developing technophile. For example, Walt Rostow, the author of The Stages of Economic Growth, reworked Marxist theory to make industry the blind agent of history. This is discussed further in Imaginary Futures by Richard Barbrook.

* The New Left led the attack against the technocratic society. Arguably they were the forerunners of today’s environmentalists and therapy addicts. Key thinkers in this tradition included John Kenneth Galbraith, Herbert Marcuse and Reinhold Niebuhr. Theodor Adorno’s Dialectic of Enlightenment was a widely taught anti-technology manifesto of the time. All this is evidently examined by Barbrook.

* Heartfield also gives examples of how the victory of technophobia is damaging industrial growth right now.

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