Luddites

Technocracy, Luddism And The Environmental Crisis

One environmentalist has realized that Technocracy is destructive to the environment and to mankind in general. He suggests that modern Luddism is anti-Technocracy rather than anti-technology.

For clarification, TN is not promoting Sustainable Development, Environmentalism, Green Economy or Green New Deal. This article is important because it gives a more cautioned view of Technocracy being the real driver of modern environmentalism, with which TN would agree. Technocracy is the heartbeat of modern globalization that promotes increased development by scientific innovation and social control. In sum, Technocracy is no friend of anyone, regardless on their political position. ⁃ TN Editor

A little over two centuries ago, on March 11, 1811, a small band of weavers and other skilled textile industry workers broke into a shop in the village of Arnold in Nottinghamshire, England, and smashed several “wide stocking frames” — mechanical knitting machines, relatively new at the time, that could mass produce knitted material for stockings. The action of these workers, who named themselves Luddites, sparked a rebellion against the use of machines that swept across various industries in the region until it was eventually suppressed with legal and military force in 1813.

The Luddites were not technophobes, as the history written by the victors tells it, nor were they opposed to the use of machines per se. In fact, many of them were highly skilled machine operators. Their slogan was that they would “put down machinery hurtful to Commonality,” i.e., to the common good and the common people, to the values of a society based upon the Commons. They put that into self-disciplined practice, breaking some machines whilst leaving others in the same room alone. The Luddites were among the few social movements that thought about technology in a political way, that understood that technology is never neutral — it is both socially constructed and has its own set of “technological values” that shape it in consistent ways.

In my view, that is the lesson the environmental movement needs to learn when it comes to technology — precisely not that the whole problem is bad technology and the solution is better technology, but that we have to escape from the tendency to think about technology and society separately. We need to think techno-socially.

The reason that technology issues are so critical in our current environmental crisis is that technology is the nexus between humans and nature. The impact of societies on the environment tends to be defined by two things — the technology that they use, especially to produce the necessities of human life, and the religious and cultural ideas they have about humanity and its relation to nature.

In traditional and feudal societies, cultural ideas tended to moderate human manipulation of nature. But, as many writers of the 1970s green movement have argued, since the Scientific Revolution of the seventeenth century, the increasing technological control and domination of nature has come to be defined as “progress.”

I believe the roots of the environmental crisis lie as much in the technocratic attitude towards nature expressed in Western cultures and technologies as in the capitalist drive for profit, growth, and accumulation. The power of industrial-capitalism is that its technological, social, and economic values mutually reinforce one another.

Plenty has been written about capitalism, growth, corporate greed, and misbehavior, etc., so let’s focus on the industrial aspect.

I call the system of power over humans and nature built upon scientific and technological knowledge “technocracy.” It comprises several elements, including:

  • a set of ruling values such as efficiency, uniformity/standardization, rationalization, streamlining, automatic control, “smartness,” etc.;
  • the elevation of the machine to the ideal of cultural perfection. Large-scale social manifestations of this include industrialism and bureaucracy, which tend to create a dehumanized and machine-like social order;
  • the dominance of technical discourses over other ways of thinking, and the accompanying magnification of the power of technical experts.

Many of the most obvious examples of the technocratic values of domination and control of nature can be seen in industrial agriculture, including the large-scale reshaping of landscapes via massive deforestation, the use of monocultures that create huge pest problems and destroy biodiversity, the suppression of those pests with pesticides, and the treatment of animals in factory-farming as “production units” rather than living beings. Other current examples include synthetic biology and geoengineering, where we see the drive toward total control of nature at the smallest and largest scales. In these cases, it is clear how technocratic concepts harm nature. However, to understand how the overall industrial system has led to our global environmental crisis, we need to look more deeply into its workings.

In Pre-industrial societies, most necessities of life are produced at the family or village level, using local raw materials and human skills. In these systems, the natural resources of the Commons are managed communally in order to preserve sustainability and social fairness.

In the industrial system, workers’ knowledge of the natural or raw materials and their hand-brain skills are appropriated by the machine owner and embodied in machinery; the craftsperson is reduced to a low-paid lever-puller. The industrial production process is more efficient, but the alienation of the worker from the products of their labor, and their alienation from nature are just different facets of this same techno-social process.

This fundamental process of dispossession of humans and destruction of our relationship with nature is writ large in industrial societies. The basic business plan of industrial capitalism is to make us dependent upon industrial commodities and the market for our basic needs. Through mechanization of agriculture and the enclosure of the Commons (all in the name of increased efficiency), the bulk of the population is exiled to the cities.

The environmental impact of industrial-capitalism is predictable. Traditional production systems, based as they are upon local resources and human skills, are limited by their relatively low energy inputs. Their environmental impacts are, therefore, inherently limited. They have been tested for sustainability over generations, through people’s direct experience.

Industrial production systems, in contrast, are based upon abstract and universal technical knowledge and are, therefore, inherently much less limited in their scope. As industrial production processes grow, they become impossibly complex, relying upon extraction of raw materials from far-off places. And as industrial ramifications become global, it becomes increasingly impossible for people who no longer have any control over the production process (and who have become dependent upon the products being churned out by industry) to exert any direct control over its impacts upon nature. So, when there is a problem — and problems are common — we are reduced to campaigning for the masters of industrial technology to deal with it.

Almost all social and environmental problems are due to a combination of social and technical issues, mostly resulting from the distortion of social, economic, and material relations in industrial-capitalist society. Because of their technocratic training, which divorces science from its political context and rules out science which includes it, scientists tend to be like the proverbial person whose only tool is a hammer: Every problem looks to them like a nail. Frustrated by the complex nature of the problems, and the need to address them politically, scientists perpetually try to cut the Gordian knot with technical solutions. But this technocratic misframing of the problem creates as many or greater problems than those they were intended to solve, requiring a new generation of techno-fix “solutions.” Because they occur within a capitalist social context, such “solutions” serve the interests of corporations by giving them new products (drugs, seeds, gadgets etc.) to sell.

A classic example of a supposedly green technofix is the idea of using genetic engineering to increase crop yields and feed the world, which is still being touted by some scientists and “eco-modernists.” The basic misconception here is that people across the world are going hungry because there isn’t enough food to go around, when in fact, it has been repeatedly demonstrated that there is plenty of food. Poor people are hungry because they cannot afford to buy enough food. And poverty is the result of unjust socioeconomic systems, not inadequate crop yields: World hunger demands a political, not a technological solution.

In the 1960s and ’70s, radicals critical of the role of science and technology in capitalism created other models of technology development that will become essential to revisit and relearn in the current crisis.

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Multiple Studies Show MMR And Pertussis Vaccine Failure

Big Pharma, which is full of Technocrat groupthink, demands universally mandated vaccinations that either don’t work or are harmful to the human population. Anti-Vaxxers are demonized, harassed and censored for daring to use common sense in defense against the propaganda. ⁃ TN Editor

We are living in a day and age where there is a tremendous divide occurring among the populace on multiple subjects, one of them being vaccination. We are heavily marketed with the idea that vaccines are completely safe for everybody, that they save lives, and that the science is settled. This type of narrative comes straight from pharmaceutical companies and federal health regulatory agencies like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

However, there is a lot of science that continues to emerge which summarily discount the claims being made by pharmaceutical companies and federal health regulatory agencies. Not only are there contradictions in their science, but also extreme corruption within these companies and agencies has been exposed on multiple occasions. One great example would be senior CDC scientist Dr. William Thompson, who blew the whistle in 2014 on data corruption by executives within the CDC with regards to falsified data pertaining to the MMR vaccine. One study which purports to show no link between the vaccine and autism had some of its data sets removed, which otherwise showed a strong correlation between the vaccine to autism.

Two years after that more than a dozen senior CDC scientists anononymously put out a paper (the SPIDER papers) in which they expressed their concerns about the corruption within the agency, its complacency, and undue corporate influence on the published science. The revolving door that exists between these agencies contributes to the continued corruption. As an example, CDC Director from 2002-2009 Julie Gerberding became the head Merck’s vaccines division, which came with a $2.5 million annual salary and $5 million in stock options.

The Failing MMR Vaccine

A study published as far back as 1994 in the JAMA Internal Medicine details quite clearly that the Measles vaccine does not and has not worked:

We found 18 reports of measles outbreaks in very highly immunized school populations where 71% to 99.8% of students were immunized against measles. Despite these high rates of immunization, 30% to 100% of all measles cases in these outbreaks occurred in previously immunized students. In our hypothetical school model, after more than 95% of schoolchildren are immunized against measles, the majority of measles cases occur in appropriately immunized children.

The apparent paradox is that as measles immunization rates rise to high levels in a population, measles becomes a disease of immunized persons. Because of the failure rate of the vaccine and the unique transmissibility of the measles virus, the currently available measles vaccine, used in a single-dose strategy, is unlikely to completely eliminate measles. The long term success of a two-dose strategy to eliminate measles remains to be determined. (source)

There are many examples up to the present day that clearly indicate the failure of the vaccine. For example, A study published in the highly authoritative Bulletin of the World Health Organization looked at recent measles occurrences throughout China and found that there were 707 measles outbreaks in the country recorded between 2009 and 2012, with a steep upward trend in 2013. “The number of measles cases reported in the first 10 months of 2013 – 26,443 – was three times the number reported in the whole of 2012.” This is odd considering that since 2009 “…the first dose of measles-virus-containing vaccine has reached more than 90% of the target population.” (source)

A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases – whose authorship includes scientists working for the Bureau of Immunization, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA – looked at evidence from the 2011 New York measles outbreak, which showed that individuals with prior evidence of measles vaccination and vaccine immunity were both capable of being infected with measles and infecting others with it (secondary transmission). (source)

During the measles outbreak in California in 2015, a large number of suspected cases occurred in recent vaccines. Of the 194 measles virus sequences obtained in the United States in 2015, 73 were identified as vaccine sequences. The Pharma-owned media generated high public anxiety, a form of fear mongering that led the public to demonize unvaccinated children, who were falsely perceived as the spreaders of this disease. Rebecca J. McNall, a co-author of the published report, is a CDC official in the Division of Viral Diseases who had the data proving that the measles outbreak was in part caused by the vaccine. It is evidence of the vaccine’s failure to provide immunity. (source)

How Many People Is The Measles Vaccine Injuring?

According to a MedAlerts search of the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) database, which is the subject of the pilot study mentioned above, as of 2/5/19, the cumulative raw count from measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines alone was: 93,929 adverse events, 1,810 disabilities, 6,902 hospitalizations, and 463 deaths.

The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act has paid out approximately $4 billion to compensate families of vaccine-injured children. As astronomical as the monetary awards are, they’re even more alarming considering HHS claims that only an estimated 1% of vaccine injuries are even reported to the VAERS. Again, these facts are also illustrated by the study that’s the main focus of this article. If the numbers from VAERS and HHS are correct, only 1/3 of the petitions are compensated – then the compensation could be up to 300 times greater, if all vaccine injuries were actually compensated for.

There are many examples up to the present day that clearly indicate the failure of the vaccine. For example, A study published in the highly authoritative Bulletin of the World Health Organization looked at recent measles occurrences throughout China and found that there were 707 measles outbreaks in the country recorded between 2009 and 2012, with a steep upward trend in 2013. “The number of measles cases reported in the first 10 months of 2013 – 26,443 – was three times the number reported in the whole of 2012.” This is odd considering that since 2009 “…the first dose of measles-virus-containing vaccine has reached more than 90% of the target population.” (source)


The Takeaway

The tactic of Pharma-owned mainstream media is to use fear, ridicule and terms like “Anti-Vaxxers” to marginalize anyone who doesn’t believe the entire planet should be vaccinated. Vaccine advocates and mainstream media never really seem to address the points made, like the ones above, or the science provided by vaccine safety advocates. This alone should tell us something about the safety of vaccines, and why the push for mandatory vaccination is highly objectionable.

Because mainstream media, mainstream education, and our pharma-driven health care system have a stranglehold on the proliferation of information, not many people are aware of the information that’s presented in this article. If we continue to give our brains away to these authority figures, we continue to be impacted by extreme amounts of propaganda. However, as we start thinking for ourselves and realize that there is a lot of information out there that is being kept from us, the picture becomes a little more clear.

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Behavioral Science Used To Get Citizens To Dump Their Cars

Public ownership of automobiles has been disparaged since the 1930s when Technocracy proposed a national ride-sharing system of public ownership. The UN’s Agenda 21, 2030 Agenda and the New Urban Agenda follow in lock-step.  ⁃ TN Editor

The mayor of Durham, NC isn’t afraid to get dirty — literally. Steve Schewel has taken a hands-on approach to smart city leadership, which has included riding along with trash and recycling crews.

In addition to prioritizing the city’s waste issues, Schewel has turned to behavioral economics to entice residents out of their cars and onto bikes or buses. Those methods have even included a weekly $163 lottery for residents who choose to ride the bus. 

Smart Cities Dive caught up with Schewel, who is up for reelection on Nov. 5., to learn more about his campaign platforms and how he’s used social science to implement “smart” initiatives throughout the city. 

The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

SMART CITIES DIVE: The UN Climate Action Summit happened [recently], and the U.S. lacked a leadership role in those conversations. As mayor, what kind of pressure do you feel to take action on climate change in lieu of strong federal leadership?

STEVE SCHEWEL​: I feel a lot of responsibility to take action on climate change. The inaction of the federal government has only strengthened our resolve here in Durham to take action. 

Do you think that local leadership at the city level will be enough to help the U.S. meet the Paris agreement goals without strong federal leadership?

SCHEWEL​: No, I don’t think that will be enough. It’s critical that cities take a leadership role, but if the federal policy doesn’t change, we will not be able to get the job done. Cities can’t set national emission standards. Cities cant override lousy federal energy subsidies… Cities can’t override drilling for fossil fuels in places where we shouldn’t be drilling for fossil fuels. Cities can’t redirect government support away from fossil fuels and toward renewable sources like solar and wind.

Cities have a role to play, but we’re not going to be able to get this job done on climate unless we have a change in federal policy.

Would you say a lack of federal leadership is one of the biggest barriers for Durham and other cities to meet their climate goals?

SCHEWEL​: Yes, I would say that’s one of the biggest barriers for sure. For example, if we’re going to meet our climate goals, we’re going to have to have a lot more installed solar technologies. And if the federal government was giving the support to those technologies instead of fossil fuels, we would be able to do a better job of meeting our local goals.

I read that you’re using behavioral science to get people to stop driving their cars alone to the city center. Why did you choose to use behavioral science methods to change residents’ driving habits? 

SCHEWEL​: We are very fortunate in Durham to have the Duke Center for Advanced Hindsight, which is a fabulous name for a center. It is a real wonderful research and practice center for advancing the insights of behavioral science into public policy.

We have been working with the Center for Advanced Hindsight to try to change the mobility habits of folks coming downtown here in Durham. We want to reduce the number of people driving individual cars into the city center and encourage people to come on buses, to walk or bike. The behavioral economic insights that we’re using so far have…had good success.

What behavioral science techniques did you use?

SCHEWEL​: They were very simple. We competed for this through the Bloomberg Mayor’s Challenge and we are very grateful to have been awarded the million dollars to do this over three years. In the pilot phase … there was a control group and an experimental group. And with the experimental group, we gave everyone simply a map of how they could get downtown [by] walking, biking or on the nearest bus. [We] gave them information about how long it would take to make that commute and [we] gave them information about how many calories they would burn and how much money they would save from gasoline. In the experimental group, there was quite an increase in the number of people who were not driving their cars downtown.

Another [method] was [also with] an experimental group and control group. And in the experimental group, anyone that rode the bus, we offered the chance to enter a weekly lottery to win $163. That significantly increased the number of people taking the bus even though the chances of them winning the lottery weren’t that high…  Our goal is to decrease the number of trips in individual cars coming downtown by 5% because we want to stop building parking garages. We want to have a positive affect on our climate. That’s just the beginning, but that’s our initial goal.

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