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On Gadgets

If many “labor-saving” devices do not in the end save labor but multiply it, or simply change its form or shift its burden to others, this may be because saving labor or time is not their true purpose, only their rationale in an economy where every claim must be understood in the context of marketing and sales. Truth in the consumer society is what sells, and the practical usefulness of a product or service is secondary to its sales capacity. This is the context in which technology as a whole evolves in our society. Any approach to the wise and selective use of technology cannot ignore this general commitment to the values, lifestyle, and economy of consumerism and the distribution of power which technology serves. Neither technics nor the notion of progress can be understood apart from the growth of the global economic machine, in which society becomes ever more a ghost of its former self.

RELATED TAGS: [labor-saving device, market society, wise/selective/appropriate technology, notion/concept of progress, sustainable lifestyle, corporate takeover of society, evaluating technology, social evaluation of technology, balance with nature]

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