Industrial Society and its Future

INDUSTRIAL-TECHNOLOGICAL SOCIETY CANNOT BE REFORMED

✲1 The conclusions made in ¶111 is really a seriously pessimistic view. One can't really make such categorical prognosis and decisions based on observation of history. As the author has himself noted, that theories on historical trends are only approximate and there are great number of exeptions and unexpectedness.

111. The foregoing principles help to show how hopelessly difficult it would be to reform the industrial system in such a way as to prevent it from progressively narrowing our sphere of freedom. There has been a consistent tendency, going back at least to the Industrial Revolution for technology to strengthen the system at a high cost in individual freedom and local autonomy. Hence any change designed to protect freedom from technology would be contrary to a fundamental trend in the development of our society. ✲1

Consequently, such a change either would be a transitory one — soon swamped by the tide of history — or, if large enough to be permanent would alter the nature of our whole society. This by the first and second principles. Moreover, since society would be altered in a way that could not be predicted in advance (third principle) there would be great risk. Changes large enough to make a lasting difference in favor of freedom would not be initiated because it would realized that they would gravely disrupt the system. So any attempts at reform would be too timid to be effective. Even if changes large enough to make a lasting difference were initiated, they would be retracted when their disruptive effects became apparent. Thus, permanent changes in favor of freedom could be brought about only by persons prepared to accept radical, dangerous and unpredictable alteration of the entire system. In other words, by revolutionaries, not reformers.

112. People anxious to rescue freedom without sacrificing the supposed benefits of technology will suggest naive schemes for some new form of society that would reconcile freedom with technology. Apart from the fact that people who make suggestions seldom propose any practical means by which the new form of society could be set up in the first place, it follows from the fourth principle that even if the new form of society could be once established, it either would collapse or would give results very different from those expected.

113. So even on very general grounds it seems highly improbably that any way of changing society could be found that would reconcile freedom with modern technology. In the next few sections we will give more specific reasons for concluding that freedom and technological progress are incompatible. ✲2

✲2 the author is bent against technology. There are few things to note: (1) The goal and purpose of humanity or each human animal is a philosophical question. The author may wish to live in a certain “free” life, but not necessarily everyone would agree. For the vast majority perhaps 99% of people, they don't really know anyhing about such large-scale long-term humanity's destination esoteric philosophical ideas to care. The vast majority of citizens will live contentedly in their locality, as long as there's no famine and they are doing relatives OK in comparison to their nearby neighbors. Statistically, there may be large number of suicide, divorce, psychosis, murder, and comparative-culturally one locality may be truly oppressed or depressed than another locality, but in general each individual will be abliss with ignorance and live their lives as centuries of all animals have done like a biological clock. For the few elite educated, we don't necessarily agree we want the author's ideas of a free society.

(2) The author's idea of freedom in society is not one that we'll all agree to desire, nor is it clearly specified. Living without Big Brothers may seem appealing, but without more detail about such society it's hard to say.

(3)The big risk cited in ¶112 for a new society is not necessarily unacceptable.

(4) The author's view that technology and “free” society cannot coexist is questionable. Although he makes many remarkale observations, but i'm not sure most elite will come to the same conclusion as he.
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