Another rant this time on technology and civilisation. Noting I'm currently in my 6th year of studying in a field of science I'm likely somewhat biased in what I think about this sort of stuff. Seeing Science to a certain degree exists to further technology.
The first thing is that technology for the most part, as far as we can tell, is the product of civilisation as well as both the means and the ends of civilisation.
Civilisation advances technology and technology in turn advances civilisation, while becoming both the cause and cure of many of the ills of civilisation.
A common idea at the moment seems to be that of "dropping" out of the technological society to some degree or another, to get back to the basics etc.
Hardly a new or original idea, it's been tried numerous times before in varying manners with varying degrees of success, possibly the most successful example I can think of might be the Amish.
Any way I'm wondering about how well people have thought it through and to what extent would they consider dropping out of the technological society?
For example would you consider dropping out to the point where you are completely self sufficient, contributing nothing to society, no taxes etc?
If so do you expect government funded healthcare and a pension?
If so why? Your certainly not helping pay for it if your live in a manner that pays no tax.
What would you be doing to help People/Government/Society?
Or would you drop out to a lesser level? Keep useful tech an dump stuff like TV's, coffee machines, blenders?
Would you remain at your job, or find a new one that was lower tech yet helped people or provided something they needed? Such as becoming an organic farmer or a wandering doctor who wandered from village to village?
Another thing I find worrying about the go low tech idea is that if a large enough mass of people adopted it and started dropping certain none essential tech such as TV's there is likely to be a sort of flow on effect to other areas of technology that people depend on.
Say TV's get a boot, so factories that produce them shut down, and some how we find jobs for all those workers, also save a bit of power so a couple of spare power plants gets shut down.
Now if you get hit by a natural disaster what happens? Say a Dam or two burst (big earthquake, certainly possible) so there is a significant loss of power, with less power stations as a result of the ones shut down earlier every dam has a bigger share of the electricity generated. So what happens to electrical heating, if a power runs short or lighting?
Also natural disaster the government wants to alert people about it, and provide them advice on how to survive, what places to avoid etc. However we've got rid of TV's so radio it has to be. Radio though has a lesser bandwidth, it doesn't display visual info so it will take longer to inform people and warn them of the full extent of the problem. In that time difference how many will die?
The thing is that with our society and civilisation everything is interrelated. Technology is present every where, extending our lives, our activities and the range of habitats we can survive in. And because technology and science are so interrelated cutting back in one area will always have flow on effects to other areas. Effects, that due to the way we use technology to extend humans abilities to survive and live when they would be other wise incapable of doing so, means that reductions in technology will lead to loss of life, either directly or indirectly. As minor issues become major ones.
One series of books I've read makes and interesting suggestion. That being, for what every you do, there will be at least 3 unexpected and potentially unwanted consequences, that you failed to see or consider.
So consider carefully and don't jump off the bandwagon just because you don't like the way it's heading just at the moment.
Also the other thing to note is that humans being generally a competitive species if one group, if not all groups reduce technology to the same level those that don't will soon out compete those that did reduce it.