Progress And Its Enemies


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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7 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    I imagine the flipside is the things that the new technology will give the future is always vaguely overstated.

    “Wilhelm Reich’s New Orgone Accumulator Will Revolutionize Courtship!”Report

  2. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    Cars are difficult case compared to other technologies because they arguably had a whole lot of very good and very bad effects compared to other new technologies. Besides death and injury from accidents and driving while intoxicating, their biggest effect was destroying the traditional urban form, especially in countries like the United States and Canada that had a lot of land, and really contributing to pollution and global warming. If you really like the traditional walkable or mass transit oriented city and have an ecological bent cars are a disaster. Certainly the increased commutes that sprawl leads to can’t be good for mental health.

    On the other hand, cars are very convenient for personal use. They allow people a wider range of movement and to haul goods they purchased between store and home more easily. If you hate the traditional urban form and believe low density is better living, which is a belief that many Americans do have, cars are great because they defeated the cities. Yet, the sprawling suburb decreases mobility for people who can not drive. This means that many people who probably shouldn’t drive like the very elderly must either be allowed to drive well past the time they should because nobody wants to make them prisoners in their own home or they get screwed.

    So over all, the car is a very mixed bag compared to other technologies.Report

    • Avatar Dead Agent says:

      Don’t forget also that trucks have greatly increased the efficiency of the supply chain, which has contributed to more/cheaper/better food/medicine and a lessening of hunger. Definitely a net positive.Report

  3. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    I've seen it posed a few times now, "How does technology help you?" It could be just a straight question, but if so it's kind of an overwhelmingly vast subject. It seems more to suggest a kind of skepticism about the whole category. And… like…— Michael Drew (@MikeDrewWhat) March 18, 2019

    …So like if the meaning is something more like, "Yeah, so this whole 'Technaawwlogy' thing … *actually* good?"…Like …Yes, we have technology today. But could you tell me what is the time period I'm comparing our today having technology to when we… didn't or something?— Michael Drew (@MikeDrewWhat) March 18, 2019

  4. Avatar Dave says:

    Ah…part of a broader conversation I’m having with Maribou, which reminds me of an email I must complete. Now if you’ll excuse me.Report

  5. Avatar Rufus F. says:

    I’ve been reading a lot of old newspapers for a book project I’m working on and I haven’t seen a ton of pessimism about the then-new technologies of radio and automobiles. Of course, newspapers were using fairly new technologies- better printing presses and wire communications and early telephones- and seemed like they wanted to be as current as possible. I’ve found quite a bit of skepticism about jazz and flappers though. I think one of my favorite headlines was “Expert Predicts Women of the Future Will Wear Pants”.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      The expert wasn’t wrong. I wonder what people at the time would be more dismayed about, women wearing paints or the general great informalization that occurred?Report