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ERIC Number: ED156566
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Jun
Pages: 50
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Soft Technologies, Hard Choices. Worldwatch Paper 21.
Norman, Colin
The infusion of technology into society has created social and environmental problems as well as benefits. Four concerns linked with technology are discussed in this paper: rising unemployment, growing social inequalities, dwindling oil and gas reserves, and potential long-term ecological problems. Indiscriminate transfer of modern labor-saving technology from industrial nations to developing nations uses up capital and energy resources, and overlooks the need for great numbers of people to be employed. Also, centralized technology creates urban migration which must be halted by creating productive employment in villages and fields. Domestic research and development ought to produce more appropriate alternatives to imported manufacturing technologies. Social inequities produced by technology are illustrated in developing countries which open modern hospitals for the urban elite when the countries' most serious problems are illnesses associated with poverty. Unequal distribution of energy created by centralized power plants can be eliminated by developing local solar collectors, small-scale hydroelectric generators, and biogas plants. Technology which uses dwindling fossil fuel resources must be replaced by those which use renewable resources such as sunlight, running water, wind, and plant materials. Technologies which damage the earth's atmosphere must be altered. In order for technological development to be more compatible with human needs and the earth's resources, society must recognize that (1) some technologies are no longer appropriate in certain countries, (2) developing nations must generate their own new technologies, and (3) technology cannot solve political and social problems. (AV)
Worldwatch Institute, 1776 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20036 ($2.00, paper cover)
Publication Type: Books
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: United Nations Environment Program, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Worldwatch Inst., Washington, DC.