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Questioning Technological Determinism

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This is an essay in two parts on modern technology and its demise. Part I deals with the history of modern technology starting from the Industrial Revolution (1760-1830) and ending with the 2008 financial meltdown and the birth of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In Part II we will show how this latest industrial revolution is bound to fail.

Part I: Modern Technology in History

‘The First Industrial Revolution, starting from the 1750s, used steam power to mechanise production; the Second advanced this by using electric power to scale up production in the beginning of the 20th century; while the Third deployed electronics and IT to automate production. Now, a ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ is building on the Third, the information revolution that has been occurring since the last century.’ (Klaus Schwab, Founder of the World Economic Forum.)1

It is often convenient to describe the history of the modern era in terms of technological innovations as Mr. Schwab does in the context of what he calls ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution.’ Schwab identifies a set of emerging technologies that are driving this change, including Artificial Intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the history of modern technologies. We will question this benign narrative about the history of technology. According to it, modern technologies have brought conveniences and happiness to mankind; that it will continue to do so and that its growth and development is ‘natural’ and unstoppable. We will show that this ‘progress’ is at the cost of nature and working classes and today it has reached a limit both in terms of resources of nature and exploitation of working classes. The time has come for it to go and be replaced with more humane and nature friendly technologies.

We must remember that technologies alone don’t change the world. Rather, technological change is also defined by the myriad ways in which they are used by existing economic and political structures and by the emerging new classes. Also, new technologies come into being on the basis of the development of science and earlier technologies. In sum, we may say that profit is the main driving force in the era of capitalism.

Many people think that the present global crises such as global warming, carbon emissions, resource depletion etc. will be solved by technology. ‘They’ (meaning the ruling class or capitalist class) will find a technical solution – the kind the Fourth Industrial Revolution promises. However, technology itself is dependent on non-renewable raw materials, water and availability of energy. There has been an assumption that earth provides an infinite source and an infinite ‘sink’ or place to dump the waste products. However, we have reached the limits of both these processes; of both growth and waste disposal or pollution, of which global warming is yet another form.2 Any proposed technological solution that works within the growth paradigm therefore cannot solve the problem. We will conclude by questioning the Fourth Industrial Revolution and present an alternative scenario.

Marxists maintain that class struggle is the motor of history. Within the modern period capitalism goes through a series of crises due to the struggle between the capitalists (competition) and the struggle between capital and labour (class struggle). In this conception, labour often makes significant gains in their rights through organised struggle, and capital undergoes periodic restructuring, causing many old industries to die and newer classes of capitalists to take over using newer technologies. But this does not happen without tremendous hardship to the masses, so every period of such crisis and restructuring is accompanied by massive protests.

In the early era of mechanisation, French workers threw their wooden clogs into machines and disabled them. These clogs are called ‘sabot’ in French and hence the word sabotage. In the early years of the motor car, workers and peasants threw stones at the new invention. The Luddites in England was an organised rebellion which saw widespread destruction of factory equipment by workers whose livelihoods were threatened by industrial production. In other periods there is always struggle going on through trade unions and through mass protests against government policies that are pro-industry and anti-working people. Thus, we will locate technology in this context.

Modern Era

There are many markers of the modern era. The end of feudalism and the emergence of the bourgeoisie as the ruling class is one. The French Revolution of 1789 and the 1832 reforms in England are important dates. The Industrial Revolution (1760 -1830) and the emergence of factories and the proletariat is yet another development that marks the modern era. In literature, the beginning of secular literature and the novel are considered to be the beginning of modernity. In India, it was ushered in by colonialism, Christian missionaries, and the translation of the Bible into local languages. We note in passing that colonised societies like India were pushed into modernity without abolishing their feudal social structure and culture.

Converting Heat into Mechanical Energy

The Industrial Revolution is commonly associated with machines. But as Jean Gimpel has shown in his book ‘The Medieval Machine: The Industrial Revolution of the Middle Ages’3 most of the machines were already in use in the medieval era. So, what was new? It is the new invention of converting heat into mechanical energy that was the real marker of the change. The story of James Watt (1736-1819) watching a boiling kettle and his discovery of this principle is well known. Thus, the steam engine was born in 1765 ushering in the first industrial revolution. It ushered in an era where an unprecedented amount of energy was made available technologically. However, it took nearly a hundred years for this new development to come of age in the form railways and steamships. Why?

While the invention was ready, the source of heat was not. Initially, it was wood and they cut down large swathes of forests to fuel the new mechanical devices in the large textile mills that had come up in England and elsewhere in Europe. Soon, wood was replaced by coal, which was found to hugely increase the availability of energy for two reasons; one, coal has a much higher density of energy than wood; and secondly, no one objected to coal mines initially. The energy obtained from coal could itself be used for mining coal. Today we know that in terms of pollution, coal is one of the dirtiest of industries starting from the mining process itself. This was the beginning of large-scale industrial pollution.

Converting Mechanical Energy into Electrical Energy

The electrochemical phenomenon of electrical cells, as well as the photovoltaic phenomenon was known early on. However, it was only with Faraday’s enunciation of the laws of Electromagnetic Induction, the invention of the electromagnetic generator, and the discovery that an electromotive force results when a conductor is placed in a varying magnetic field (or when a conductor is moved in a stationary magnetic field), that large-scale power generation was made possible. Electricity made the transport of power easy and contributed to the second industrial revolution.

Two other developments occurred around the same time. The first was the discovery of petroleum. At first it was used mainly for lighting. The second was the invention of the Internal Combustion (IC) Engine, through which a revolution in transport occurred. In theory, this was not a big advancement. Petroleum merely replaced coal as a source of heat. But it is a much denser source of energy and carries more energy by weight, making its transport much easier and cheaper. Also, its fluid form offered enormous advantages over a solid fuel like coal, namely ease of handling and transport, and better control of combustion. The source of heat became portable. Automobiles, trucks, and airplanes became possible. Railways too changed over from coal to diesel gradually. Today, of course, railways are changing over to electricity but in spite of electric cars and electric motorcycles, road transport is still heavily dependent on oil. For airplanes, there is no foreseeable alternative to oil.

Parallel to these developments, politically capitalism ‘advanced’ into ‘imperialism’ or international capitalism. This opened up a huge market of colonies and semi-colonies and industrial production increased by leaps and bounds. However, the ongoing competition between capitalist countries, and particularly the struggle for control of oil fields in West Asian fields eventually became the main cause of World War I.5 After the War, boundaries in West Asia were redrawn and the victors, primarily USA and England, gained control over the oil fields. Now on, access and control of oil began to be the main motor of world events and it eventually led to World War II.

Converting Information to Electricity

A new class of products, called transducers, were invented and became available after WWI. They converted signals (like voice) into electrical currents. Similarly, the electrical signals could be converted back to voice through earphones and loudspeakers. Thus, electricity in addition to being a carrier of energy became a carrier of information. Electronics, defined as the ‘electrical processing of signals,’ was thus born. Special components like vacuum tubes were also invented and the radio came into being, making long-distance communication possible. A whole new industry of entertainment came into being through radio, gramophone records, talking moving images or talkies, and television. This field continued to grow in step with the later developments in electronics.

Another development that occurred was the development of the chemical industry and particularly chemical fertilisers and pesticides. This chemical agriculture over the next hundred years increased food production and consequently the world population rose from 2 billion to 7.3 billion today. It also poisoned soil and water and introduced another level of health problems. The American marine biologist Rachel Carson’s book ‘Silent Spring’4 was the first to raise critical questions about the effects of chemical pollution, bringing the term ecology into popular use and giving birth to the modern environmental movement.

Converting Electricity to Numbers: The Birth of Digital Electronics

Digital electronics was born when Claude Shannon (1916-2001), one of the most brilliant figures in the history of electronics, applied a 19th-century mathematical development called Boolean algebra to switching circuits. Shannon also formulated an important theory of electronic communication which formed the foundation of modern information technology. With digital electronics first computers were invented and later it was applied to every field of electronics. Particularly in the field of the entertainment business, it created a revolution with music, photography, and finally cinema. Car electronics and electronics applied to warfare were also a major development. Finally, the mobile phone was invented in the nineties in Finland.

Self-Learning by Electrical Machines: The Birth of Artificial Intelligence

The work of the great mathematician and philosopher Alan Turing (1912 -1954) can be regarded as the foundation of modern computing. He is considered the ‘father of Artificial Intelligence’ or AI, a phenomenon he defined thus: if there is a partition between you and the computer, you are unable to tell if the response you get is from a human or computer. Since then, it slowly developed. However, it took nearly half a century after Turing’s death for AI technologies to make a breakthrough in terms of practical application (most famously illustrated when on May 11, 1997, IBM’s AI supercomputer Deep Blue defeated Garry Kasparov, reigning world chess champion and one of the greatest chess players in history). Not surprisingly, AI is now one of the most crucial components of the wave of technological advancements collectively dubbed the ‘The Fourth Industrial Revolution’ or ‘Industry 4.0.’

The World Economic Forum’s Klaus Schwab describes it as being “characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.” However, unlike previous industrial revolutions, it is evolving at an exponential rather than a linear pace. “The speed of current breakthroughs has no historical precedent,” writes Schwab, and it is leading to “a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.” Schwab identifies a set of emerging technologies that are driving this change, including Artificial Intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology, biotechnology, materials science, energy storage, and quantum computing.

Since this technological shift in production is “disrupting almost every industry in every country,” it also entails a paradigm shift in terms of logistics, trade, and exchange, which Schwab calls ‘Globalisation 4.0’. It refers to new frameworks for international cooperation that he says are needed to manage and adapt to the unprecedented pace and breadth of technological change unleashed by Industry 4.0. Announcing the theme of the WEF’s 2019 meeting as “Globalization 4.0: Shaping a New Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, Schwab declared, “Ready or not, a new world is upon us.”6

This ongoing techno-economic shift has been the subject of a huge propaganda campaign by the World Economic Forum and global corporate consultancies and industry lobby groups, who are actively promoting it and pressurising governments to change policies to facilitate it. Its evangelists claim that it will solve the problems of global warming by creating new sources of energy from solar and wind power, and at the same time, it will reduce the amount of energy required through more efficient technologies. It is these claims that we will examine critically in the second and concluding part of this essay.

Part II: End of Modern technology and Alternatives

The current ‘project of global capital’ (for details, see earlier article by this writer), the so-called The Fourth Industrial Revolution, is doomed because of several reasons. They can be clubbed together as an ongoing ‘Global Emergency’; which has several aspects to it – Resource Depletion, Global Warming, Ecological Degradation, Growing Inequality and Social Unrest. We will discuss them one by one below, along with their relation to each other.

Resource Depletion

Human society uses natural resources for its survival and reproduction. Other living beings depend directly or indirectly on plant resources which are renewable. In addition to these, human beings also use non-renewable resources including minerals such as coal and petroleum and metals such as gold, silver, copper and iron, coal. They are considered non-renewable because their quantity is fixed and the more we use them the less of them there is left to use. For industrial societies, petroleum and coal are the basic sources of energy and their depletion can spell the end of industrial society.

Now, there is a law of extraction of these non-renewable resources. It was first discovered in the case of oil by M. King Hubbert and is called, ‘Peak Oil’. It says that when half the resources are extracted (taken out), then the production will start falling. That is, the peak of production occurs when half the oil is taken out. It applies to a particular well, to a region, to a country, and to the whole world. Today, it has been found that it applies to all such mineral resources and scientists have calculated the peak year for almost all the important minerals. And, hold your breath, the overwhelming majority of them will peak before 2030, starting with oil!7 The data is almost accurate and might differ only by a few percentage points, but the fact remains that the years of industrial society as it exists is numbered and the end will come in a decade or so. The collapse of industrial society will be a ‘never before’ event because that will be the end of the historical process of ever-increasing wealth that human society has seen in the last few thousand years. 8

The champions of the Fourth Industrial Revolution such as the World Economic Forum say that the sun is a never exhausting resource and that solar energy and wind can easily replace fossil fuels. The record so far is dismal because the dependence on fossil fuels has not decreased. This year USA, UK, and Germany are bringing back coal plants due to a sharp reduction in energy supplies, particularly natural gas, following the Ukraine war. Both solar and hydro need a lot of metals as well. Solar needs copper and some rare earths all of which are in short supply and will be increasingly so.

In addition, solar power requires a lot of land area to capture sunlight. Already humans are using more than 90% of earth’s resources, stealing them from other species. This will further erode the share of other species. Similarly, wind energy takes up a lot of air space, endangering birds. And this is leaving aside the massive waste disposal problem posed by renewable energy, which has already begun to show.

In the short term, even renewable resources cannot help us because human society has used them at a rate higher than the rate of their natural reproduction. That is, we have cut more trees than the number of new ones that are growing; we have used more water than is being replenished naturally, and so on. Water tables all over the world are falling. It will take decades to get back the status of ‘renewable’ for these resources. In fact, we have been mining them in the same way that we have mined the non-renewable resources.

While there is a window of a few years before resource depletion triggers a collapse, global warming, as we will see below, does not give us any window!

Global Warming

This has received maximum attention in the media due to the recent IPCC report which has drawn everyone’s attention to the gravity of the situation. “If we are to stay below 1.5 °C global warming, emissions have to peak no later than 2020. Emissions must also be cut by half by 2030, and to net zero by 2040. We need an immediate emergency response by policymakers, businesses, and civil society, aimed at an unprecedented transformation of all sectors of society. It’s time to act!” Well, we have passed that deadline of 2020.

The levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are the main drivers of climate change. They are measured in ‘parts per million (ppm)’ and the safe levels are considered to be a maximum of 350, ideally less (Hansen). They have hit a new record high, the UN said, warning that the time to act was running out.  “Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, climate change will have increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts on life on Earth.” The report, for 2017, puts the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere at 405.5 parts per million (ppm). That is up from 403.3 ppm in 2016 and 400.1 ppm in 2015.

“The window of opportunity for action is almost closed.”

And yet, the emissions have been still rising in the last two years! Today it is 419 ppm! It is probably more correct to say that the window of opportunity for action is closed. That is to say that there are no more options left within capitalism to stay below 1.5 degrees. No governments are actually prepared to reduce emissions. In fact, this year they have been busy with wars and increasing emissions. This year a group of scientists have claimed that we are moving towards a temperature increase of 3.2 degrees centigrade and have asked the community of scientists globally to go on civil disobedience!9

This year, 2022, has already seen some of the worst effects of ecological degradation due to climate change. Europe has seen the worst drought in 500 years. Both the USA and China too are facing drought in large areas. Now these are huge areas and include most of the ‘developed countries’ as well as constituting some of the ‘food baskets’ of the world. We are looking forward to with apprehension what will happen in Australia this summer (our winter is their summer). Pakistan is facing huge floods involving 30 million people. In India too, large parts of the country have faced floods.

There are protest movements all over the world mobilising against the livelihoods crisis and the steep rise in the price of essentials brought on initially by the Covid-19 pandemic and the crippling lockdowns that followed, and exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. Global warming, coupled with resource depletion, ecological disaster, growing people’s movement, and wars among capitalist nations can together trigger a collapse of the system.

Today Sri Lanka and 27 other small countries are going through a process of collapse. In a few years, many other middle countries will follow suit, and then the bigger countries too may fall down like Humpty Dumpty. We are therefore forced to conclude that capitalism can neither solve these problems nor can it outlive it. So we have to look for alternatives immediately.

The Post Carbon Society

Today, it is clear that the present system cannot go on. As Einstein said ‘We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.’

If the capitalist era ends, then what will replace the present system? To begin with we can start with what cannot go on.

  1. No alternative energy source can replace the petrol and gas which run our trucks and cars. That’s because all alternatives involve electricity (wind, solar, nuclear etc.). There is no viable design of large trucks that can run on electricity. Today, goods transportation is so basic to global capitalism that the breakdown of supply chains alone can cause the system to collapse.
  2. No alternative energy can generate the amount of energy we are using now.
  3. The implication of the above is that ‘globalisation’ is no longer possible.
  4. The present level of consumption is resulting in unacceptable levels of global warming and ecological degradation.
  5. The solutions attempted in the last 14 years (since the 2008 meltdown) have resulted in greater inequality which is increasingly opposed by the people of the world.

Based on the above, we can state a broad outline of what to expect. We can provisionally term it as a ‘Post Carbon Society’. This society will have the following main features:

  1. Equality
  2. Sustainability
  3. Scaling down of the use of resources – particularly energy
  4. Local and self-sufficient economy
  5. Ecological restoration of the presently degraded ecology
  6. A value system or ethical base which is more cooperative and less competitive than the present society
  7. There will of course be many other local features depending upon what political system will replace the present system and the specific country or ecological region.

Agro-Ecology: The Technology of the Future

The main problem with all the existing mainstream/capitalist technologies is that they are anthropocentric technologies. That is, they are based on the assumption that Nature and all its resources can be utilised freely for the benefit of Man without bothering about other species and the balance of Nature itself. They have a built-in assumption that Nature is an infinite source and an infinite sink, that is, a place where we can draw resources freely from, and dump our wastes indefinitely. This attitude seems to be also inherent in many religions for at least two thousand years. During the Industrial Revolution and more so in the last hundred years this tendency has reached catastrophic proportions and hence the present global emergency.

Agro-ecology means growing food without ecologically damaging the environment. Agro-ecology is an ecological approach to agriculture, often described as low-external-input farming. Other terms such as regenerative agriculture or eco-agriculture are also used. Agro-ecology is not just a set of agricultural practices – it focuses on changing social relations, empowering farmers, adding value locally and privileging short value chains. It allows farmers to adapt to climate change, sustainably use and conserve natural resources and biodiversity. It also means seeing ourselves as part of Nature rather than regarding the rest of Nature as merely a resource available for exploitation.

Developed Countries

A milestone for the movements demanding an alternative economy in developed countries happened in 1971 when the countries of West Asia got together and decided to reduce the production of oil and increase its price. This created a huge energy crisis and people began to look for low-energy technologies. ‘Small is beautiful’, appropriate technology, etc. became the catchwords in the social and cultural churning that followed. This coupled with protests against the Vietnam war in the USA drew a large number of youths to these ideas and movements.

Agro-ecological techniques were developed into ‘Permaculture’ by Bill Mollison (1928-2016) in the late 70s and soon it became popular worldwide. It came to India in 1990 via the Deccan Development Society near Zaheerabad, some 100 kms from Hyderabad.

Permaculture in turn helped spawn the Transition Town movement in 2005 in Kinsale, a small town in Ireland. This is a grassroots network of communities that are working to build resilience in response to Peak Oil, climate change, food insecurity and economic instability. ‘Transition Towns’ is a catchphrase for environmental and social movements founded upon the principles of Permaculture, which originally denoted ‘permanent agriculture’. Today, Permaculture has come to mean a whole life system encompassing various strategies for people to acquire all the necessary resources, including access to land needed to evolve self-financing and self-managed systems to provide for all their material and non-material needs, without depleting, polluting and destroying the natural resources of the biosphere. The Transition Towns movement is an example of socio-economic localisation. There are now over 1000 communities that identify themselves as Transition Towns in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Italy and Chile.

Central to the Transition Town movement is the idea that a life without oil could in fact be far more enjoyable and fulfilling than the present: “[B]y shifting our mindset we can actually recognise the coming post-cheap oil era as an opportunity rather than a threat, and design the future low carbon age to be thriving, resilient and abundant — somewhere much better to live than our current alienated consumer culture based on greed, war and the myth of perpetual growth.” (“LIFE BEYOND OIL – THREAT OR OPPORTUNITY?”. Archived from the original on 18 August 2013, quoted in Wikipedia article on Transition Network)

)In these countries there are also big groups around theory – Post Carbon Institute and Resilience.org (Richard Heinberg), Steady State Society (Herman Daly) in the U. S., and The Simpler Way (Ted Trainer) in Australia. In Russia, we have the ‘Ecological Villages’ movement.

Cuba

As a rule, socialist societies followed a path of development similar to capitalist societies. Cuba was no exception. But in 1991, due to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuba faced problems similar to the problems we are facing due to Peak Oil. Cuba’s oil supply was cut. It had no buyers for its main export: sugar. So like Sri Lanka today, it faced a huge economic crisis. Cuba ushered in a ‘special period’ and in five years they successfully solved the problem. They converted completely to organic farming and became self-sufficient in food production. They imported a million bicycles from China. Education and health care was made completely free. Today Cuba has got some of the best health facilities in the world. However, those five years were tough and people did suffer a lot. While there is much to learn from Cuba, each society will change from where it is just now. Other socialist/command economies when faced with the crisis may follow a similar path as that of Cuba.10

India

As we noted in the first instalment of this essay, ‘in the colonies modernity came without abolishing feudalism’. Obviously, this has had huge negative effects on the progress of our country. The continued prevalence of the caste system and oppression of women can be cited as being two major effects. However, it also had its flip side. A lot of medieval technologies not using fossil fuels continue to be in use in India alongside capitalist technologies. Many of the appropriate technologies that we need today that consume less energy or don’t require large industrial systems to support them, are still available here. In fact, in the two-volume ‘Appropriate Technology Source Book’ more than half the entries are of Indian origin!

In the anti-colonial movement also, there was a lot of emphasis on self-reliance, as a part of which Khadi and Village Industries were nurtured. This continued even after independence at least till the 1970s, when the Green Revolution began to kill them. Then the LPG (Liberalisation, Privatisation, and Globalisation) policies of the government in 1991 effectively sounded the death knell for them.

All the same, several non-government organizations continue to support them. Pottery, handloom, carpentry, local leather works, etc. are still surviving. Similarly, the organic farming movement has been rapidly gaining ground in India, even finding official support in many states. Along with it, local management of water systems has also been receiving big attention. Movements that have organised against big project such as dams and mines which deprive poor people of their land and livelihoods have helped start a debate on the very notion of ‘development’ and the policies related to it.

This background is proving handy in the present crisis. All over India hundreds of initiatives on local self-management are going on. Many of these have been documented by the Vikalp Sangam11 platform on their website.

On the other hand, there are no integrated initiatives like the ‘Transition Town’ movement which can lead to complete self-reliance at the local level; though lots of groups in India are trying.  The main problem seems to be that most of these groups still think that while they may be able to show the way, ultimately it falls on the government to do the job. It is called the ‘rights-based approach.’ In holding on to this view, they often forget that all governments are driven by the vested interests of the rich and their welfare image is mainly to get the consent of the people to rule.

However, these kinds of interventions can succeed only through complete reliance on local resources at small levels. As the crisis develops, these integrated initiatives can also be expected to come up stronger and in more numbers. Anarchist trends in the Left political movements can take initiatives as they did in Chhattisgarh under the leadership of the legendary trade unionist Shankar Guha Niyogi. Today, states like Kerala are well-positioned socially and politically to take lead with initiatives like ‘Transition Kerala’.

Transition India

Having researched these themes over the years, I have published two booklets and a book as a guide to start work on Transition in India. They are:

  1. Cuba: Road to Fossil Fuel Free Society
  2. Kabira Khada Hai Bazar Mein A Call for Local Action in the Wake of Global Emergency
  3. Vijutopias: Dreams of Local Futures (These are utopian stories about transition)

I can send pdf copies of all of them to anyone who asks for it.

My friend Usha Rao12 has written an important document on the role of schools in transition. Many of our young friends want to move to a village. A transition project is an excellent way to move to a village. One can become a school teacher and work on environmental issues with school children starting with a village nursery in the school garden. There is a government programme for starting school gardens. Nyla Coelho13 has written an excellent book on how to maintain a school garden. So, our future environmental school teacher could start with this book.

Another village level programme is the MNREGA. It is a government employment guarantee scheme for rural workers, but the projects are decided by the rural Panchayats. The given mandate for MNREAGA projects is by and large environment-friendly. All over India the MNREGA workers are trying to organise into unions to get fair wages and fight irregularities in the implementation of the programme. In Karnataka, there is a good union and in some places, the unions have won the Panchayat elections. Now they can decide the nature and implementation of the projects. So, this provides another window.

In Conclusion

The three-month lockdown in India has taught us that the collapse does not mean chaos or the end of the world. People managed with great difficulty. Nature sighed a big relief and showed signs of recovery at a remarkable speed. Today in India, hundreds of local actions are going on with self-management of resources.

On the whole, India has a lot of initiatives and has good potential to tide over the collapse of industrial society. The problem is we are still not prepared for it psychologically at a collective level. But then, I suppose one can never really be prepared for a something as tremendous as collapse. However, if we are not prepared for it, then it will bring a lot of death and misery in the immediate future for human society, as we are witnessing in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. To avoid it we have to start working on a transition programme straight away. We should build on the experience gained during the three month ‘Lock Down’. Then like Cuba, we may be able to get away with a relatively small amount of suffering.

Only time will tell how we will fare. But we should be optimistic for Indians, for mankind and for all other species. We should plan for the coming decade to usher in a post carbon society.

Death to Capitalism and Industrial Society! Victory to People and Nature!

Countercurrents



11 Comments on "Questioning Technological Determinism"

  1. FamousDrScanlon on Sun, 11th Sep 2022 10:59 pm 

    World on brink of five ‘disastrous’ climate tipping points, study finds

    Giant ice sheets, ocean currents and permafrost regions may already have passed point of irreversible change

    “It shows five dangerous tipping points may already have been passed due to the 1.1C of global heating caused by humanity to date.

    These include the collapse of Greenland’s ice cap, eventually producing a huge sea level rise, the collapse of a key current in the north Atlantic, disrupting rain upon which billions of people depend for food, and an abrupt melting of carbon-rich permafrost.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/sep/08/world-on-brink-five-climate-tipping-points-study-finds

    …..

    It’s coming for everyone. Denier-tards get ready cuz mama nature is going to bend you over and fuck you stupider (if possible).

    Perhaps our wealthy overlord will help us?

    The super-rich ‘preppers’ planning to save themselves from the apocalypse

    Tech billionaires are buying up luxurious bunkers and hiring military security to survive a societal collapse they helped create, but like everything they do, it has unintended consequences

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2022/sep/04/super-rich-prepper-bunkers-apocalypse-survival-richest-rushkoff

    They would not piss on you if you were on fire & scream-begging for help.

  2. Hello on Mon, 12th Sep 2022 6:18 am 

    >>> World on brink of five ‘disastrous’ climate tipping points

    What does “on the brink” mean? Is that like yellowstone super volcano that is on the brink of exploding between now and the next 10000 years?

    So far climate change has been a dud. Population still growing. We need a catastrophe that is capable of wiping out 7 billions for a good cleansing of the earth.

  3. it was supremacist muzzies that caused the melting of the Laurentide Ice Sheet that covers much of Canada and Northern United states the ice sheet is 2 mile high in many places this melting didn't result in raising of the sea the water simply on Mon, 12th Sep 2022 7:33 am 

    spills out into the outer realm of the flat earth that’s not being warmed by the sun that we know.

    it was not elite whitey supertards that caused the melting of ice. there were no elite whitey supertards back then 20,000 years ago.

    Worlwide there were 80 billion human beings back then, all supremacist muzzies

    supertards please change ur undies after 3 days

    please feel at ease among friends we’re all lovers of supremacist muzzies here

  4. question for elite whitey (((supertard))) FamousDrScanlon when 80 billion supremacist muzzies melted the Laurentide Ice Sheet which covers Canada and Northern USA and has thickness of 2 miles where did the water go on Mon, 12th Sep 2022 1:35 pm 

    supertards please change ur undies after 3 days

    please feel at ease among friends we’re all lovers of supremacist muzzies here

  5. question for elite whitey (((supertard))) FamousDrScanlon when 80 billion supremacist muzzies melted the Laurentide Ice Sheet which covers Canada and Northern USA and has thickness of 2 miles where did the water go question mark on Mon, 12th Sep 2022 3:09 pm 

    20,000 years ago the melting happened.

    supertards please change ur undies after 3 weeks

    please feel at ease among friends we’re all lovers of supremacist muzzies here

  6. it was supremacist muzzies that caused the melting of the Laurentide Ice Sheet that covers much of Canada and Northern United states the ice sheet is 2 mile high in many places this melting didn't result in raising of the sea the water simply on Mon, 12th Sep 2022 6:00 pm 

    Up the butt and forcibly through the penis for a very brief cornholing or a brisk cornhusking. Users choice.

  7. question for elite whitey (((supertard))) elite white supertard solzhenitsyn documented ur behavior in 200 years together u maintain parallel society under dominion of elite whitey supertards land then why is not ok if elite whitey supertards on Mon, 12th Sep 2022 6:02 pm 

    in america to build parallel society under christian nationalism

    also, if rejecting of faith in (((supremetard))) leads to faith in “science!” and injection of MUZZ-19 which is causing a massive holochristianity

    question: should (((supertards))) change direction and submit to (((supremetard))) before it’s too late

    supertards pleae change ur undies after 3 weeks

    please feel at ease among friends we’re all lovers of supremacist muzzies here

  8. u maintain parallel society just like muzzies do but u have issue with elite whitey supertards building parallel society in america under christian nationalism on Mon, 12th Sep 2022 6:41 pm 

    pls explain

    supertards please change ur undies after 3 weeks

    please feel at ease among friends we’re all lovers of supremacist muzzies here

  9. question for elite whitey (((supertard))) FamousDrScanlon on 911 when elite whitey (((supertard))) Silverstein said pull it what does that mean on Mon, 12th Sep 2022 8:21 pm 

    supertards please change ur undies after 3 weeks

    please feel at ease among friends we’re all lovers of supremacist muzzies here

  10. Dredd on Sat, 24th Sep 2022 5:24 am 

    Geneticists have inadvertently discovered what happens when ‘numb’ is added to ‘dumb’ (MetaSUB).

  11. FamousDrScanlon on Sat, 24th Sep 2022 12:43 pm 

    Bill continuing to use some of my material.

    New Rule: Fighting for America’s Soul | Real Time with Bill Maher

    https://youtu.be/dNTBoY99c24

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