If you feel unable to cope with the pace of socio-cultural change or reconcile obvious contradictions and feel social and personal injustices have grown rather than shrunk over the last 30 years of neoliberal economic globalisation with an unprecedented rate of cultural change and social engineering, then you maybe you are not mad, society is. Opinion leaders in the prosperous world herald material growth and greater reliance on immature technology as progress. Opponents of material growth are often lampooned as luddites, conservatives and green fascists somehow opposed to technological progress. Yet if the advocates of eternal material growth based their economic theories on hard science, they’d understand that what may go wrong will go wrong. It’s only a matter of time, for sixty years of mass consumerism represent just a short chapter in the history of humanity. Civilisations have risen and fallen before, but never have we experienced such an extreme level of planetary interdependence.
Clearly technologies can have good and bad applications, e.g. advances in farming, food distribution, sanitation and medicine have reduced infant mortality in most of the world, but can also increased our dependence on greedy multinationals, led to pharmaceutical addiction, weakened our immune system through drug resistance, obesity through over-indulgence and the greater challenges of unsustainable population growth in some parts of the world where family sizes have not yet adjusted for lower death rates. Information technology could be a great tool for education, research, democratic engagement etc., but also for unscrupulous businesses, propagandists and invasive government agencies.
Unless otherwise specified, yours truly, Neil Gardner, is the author of all articles here. My views and analysis have evolved since I started a modest blog in 2001 and I welcome any feedback.
You can follow me on Twitter at @outsider63 .