Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Seventeen rules for a sustainable community


shannon said...

A couple of those rules are goofy, in my opinion.

"Understand the ultimate unsoundness of the industrial doctrine of ‘labour saving’ if that implies poor work, unemployment, or any kind of pollution or contamination."

Practically all labor saving increases unemployment. That's rather its purpose. It isn't really better if oxen plow fields, nor is it better when everyone spins their own wool and makes their own cloth. The only reason we don't do this today is because of labor saving devices which increased unemployment.

Thinking small and thinking local are great, but I don't think that becoming Luddites is a good idea.

Sarah said...

What it comes down to is making conscious choices in adopting technology. If you invent a basket-weaving machine that produces five times as many baskets as a skilled artist, that might be a good thing if there's a basket shortage. But if it's boring and dangerous for its operator to run it, and it's eliminating enjoyable life work for four other people, and we don't need more baskets anyway- what purpose does it serve?

shannon said...

Let's say it wasn't dangerous for a moment. If it was boring, it still might serve the purpose of letting four other people do something else. The results of this freedom are unknowable in advance.

(And I am NOT arguing that one should blindly accept all change. It may be difficult to decide, though, what is and isn't positive.)

The Amish decide what new technology they'll adopt on a case by case basis. And their decision is basically based on keeping their community and their faith. (Not saying it's good or bad, just noting the similarity.)