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September 2008
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Technology, Society and The Environment: Week #2

The buzz on campus is still very fresh, students are still excited to be there, still going to class and no one is panicing, yet … mid-terms are not for another couple of weeks.

Dr. Vanderburg promptly arrived in class this week and got right into the thick of things. Our class size was about half of last week, but it is a keen group of individuals interested in being part of the sustainable discussion.

His lecture was based on chapter 1 of his book, Living in the Labyrinth of Technology. The focus of the lecture was Connectiveness, from Biology-based to Technology-based over to Culture-based connectiveness. We didn’t really dive into biology-based connectiveness but focused in on the other two.

Technology vs Culture

What does this connectiveness mean?

Let’s start with Technology. All of technology requires a through-put of energy. This in turn requires both direct and indirect inputs. Eventually as you trace the production of a good or service it will cross the biosphere-society boundary and connect us back to our natural environment.   Culture-based connectiveness ties us together through symbolization; the human brain relates everything to everything else.

Prior to the industrial world we were a culture-based society. We learned what our ancestors learned and followed in their footsteps. We followed their religion, their language their belief.

And then Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations and everything changed. Agreed I have over-simplified things here a lot but the notion of the technical division of labour changed everything,

We went from a culture-based society to a technology-based society.

We became a society craving higher income and more consumer goods to purchase with our new wealth. Skills became mechanized and simple and people started designing machines to do human jobs. Our society went from depending on what our ancestors had known to challenging the limits of science.

With this desire for new technology came the degradation to our environment. It was around 200 years ago that we began to ‘industrialize’ around that same time, Vanderburg explained, the world average temperature began to rise.


Pingback from sasha on the street » Technology, Society and The Environment: Week 3 vs TAC: Day 1
Time September 25, 2008 at 4:51 pm

[…] starts with Adam Smith’s technical devision of labour, which I mentioned last week here. Simply put the techical devision of labour is simplifying every little task in a production line […]