By Thomas DeGregori
During this provocative paintings, Thomas DeGregori explores some of the innovative technological advances of the earlier century, in particular these in agriculture.
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Extra info for Bountiful Harvest: Technology, Food Safety, and the Environment
Some are even nostalgic for earlier technologies because they were less reliable: ‘‘The new cars are good, very good. They are almost perfect compared with what some of us grew up on. . But their predictability unreasonably makes us long for a past where every car and driver had a story’’ (Reeves 1997). And also, among those who were once competent to repair cars and other technologies, part of the nostalgia for less-reliable vehicles can be attributed to loss of status—from being able to start someone else’s car when they were helpless to do so.
Above all, it was the democratizing force of the Industrial Revolution that allowed the ‘‘things of common use’’ to have a previously unattainable aesthetic value. From the cast-iron detail of a station roof to locomotives, resplendent in brass and bright paint, from lamp standards to garden seats, from furniture to fabrics, from steel engravings to chromolithographs [they] often had a grace, delicacy and functional beauty Wedgwood himself would have admired (47). Technology, Imperfections, and the Arts With the advent of the Industrial Revolution, one of the qualities that made a craft item superior was its demonstrable inferiority.
To get a complete picture for any technology, particularly in the dynamic sense of technology in action, we must learn by doing. The ongoing process of the effective 28 Technology and the Unity of Experience use of a stethoscope (or antibiotic or pesticide) is as much a part of the technology as is the physical instrument itself. To avoid misunderstandings—and misguided public policies—we have to look at the total process. Criticizing the overuse of a technology is a vital constructive part of understanding the technology and its potential.
Bountiful Harvest: Technology, Food Safety, and the Environment by Thomas DeGregori