industrial Society And Its Future
One who believes that women, homosexuals, etc., should have equal rights is not necessary a leftist. It is even conceivable that the revolution might consist only of a massive change of attitudes toward technology resulting in a relatively gradual and painless disintegration of the industrial system. It’s far more probably that the transition to a nontechnological society will be very difficult and full of conflicts and disasters.
In order to enforce it the revolutionaries would have to retain central organization and control. For that they would need rapid long-distance transportation and communication, and therefore all the technology needed to support the transportation and communication systems. To feed and clothe poor people they would have to use agricultural and manufacturing technology.
The world will fly off its orbit if the Japanese ever sell more cars than we do! That is why the industrial system should be attacked in all nations simultaneously, to the extent that this may be possible. True, there is no assurance that the industrial system can be destroyed at approximately the same time all over the world, and it is even conceivable that the attempt to overthrow the system could lead instead to the domination of the system by dictators. And it is worth taking, since the difference between a “democratic” industrial system and one controlled by dictators is small compared with the difference between an industrial system and a non-industrial one. It might even be argued that an industrial system controlled by dictators would be preferable, because dictator-controlled systems usually have proved ineffficient, hence they are presumably more likely to break down.
As experimenters have demonstrated, feelings such as hunger, pleasure, anger and fear can be turned on and off by electrical stimulation of appropriate parts of the brain. Memories can be destroyed by damaging parts of the brain or they can be brought to the surface by electrical stimulation. Hallucinations can be induced or moods changed by drugs. There may or may not be an immaterial human soul, but if there is one it clearly is less powerful that the biological mechanisms of human behavior. For if that were not the case then researchers would not be able so easily to manipulate human feelings and behavior with drugs and electrical currents. As we mentioned in paragraph 134, industrial society seems likely to be entering a period of severe stress, due in part to problems of human behavior and in part to economic and environmental problems.
The economic and technological structure of a society are far more important than its political structure in determining the way the average man lives . To be sure, past societies have had means of influencing human behavior, but these have been primitive and of low effectiveness compared with the technological means that are now being developed. We don’t mean to suggest that the efficiency or the potential for survival of a society has always been inversely proportional to the amount of pressure or discomfort to which the society subjects people.
Because the terrorist who built these bombs targeted universities and airline companies, the FBI dubbed him the Unabomber. The extraordinary range of this new book on industrial theory and practice relocates Kerr in the distinguished company of earlier scholars, whether they are Saint-Simon or Marx, Hayek or Tinbergen, Daniel Bell or Herbert Marcuse. His clarity of style makes this a book for the general reader and scholar, and for concerned observers of advanced societies and of the Third World. Tech companies have untold amounts of data on every person that logs online for everything from shopping for cat litter to ranting on Twitter. How to understand that data – and what to use it for – is an industry in itself. See the 2016 U.S. election and the rise of fake news spread through Facebook.