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Sunday, August 20, 2006


Whilst trawling through wikipedia, I can across this:

Bernard Gendron, a professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, defines the four principles of modern Technological Utopians as follows:

1. We are presently undergoing a (postindustrial) revolution in technology;
2. In the postindustrial age, technological growth will be sustained (at least);
3. In the postindustrial age, technological growth will lead to the end of economic scarcity;
4. The elimination of economic scarcity will lead to the elimination of every major social evil.

Point 3 is highly suspect. Might I point out, as every major and minor left theorist has done for the last 150 years, the scarcity we experience is not because there is a lack of goods (i.e. the size of the cake), but a problem of distribution (i.e. how the cake is cut). We currently have enough resources to feed, clothe, and house every human being on the planet, we don't do so because, damn it, please should have to earn (steal) it like I did and my daddy did. Instead, our goods distribution allocates great wealth (excess of goods) to a minority and poverty (lack of goods) to the rest. This is a political and economic choice that has been made, not a technological impediment.

Therefore, I see no reason as to why technological advances would necessarily remove economic scarcity. Access to technology might (access is a political and economic issue) remove scarcity, but not technology itself. So, if your hopes are pinned on nanotechnology or human genetic modification, think again. Without major political and economic change, scarcity will continue.


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