Fixing Progress

LeCain defines three types of technofixes. The transformational, the relocational, and the delaying technofixes (p. 138). A transformational fix transforms a part of the problem into something else, a relocational fix moves the effects elsewhere, and the delaying fix delays the problem. These different types of fixes are often woven together, as seen by the sulfur dioxide being transformed into sulfuric acid, and then sold to fertilizer companies. It was transformed, and then moved. LeCain’s argument is essentially that these fixes were thought of good solutions at the time, but unfortunately since they were thought of as good solutions, they thought nothing else needed to change. This means that instead of simply not processing ores high in sulfur, they continued to do so since the problem was supposedly solved entirely (p. 150-151).

With the way our current world is, we definitely need copper and other minerals. Without them every person’s life would drastically change, and if we had not had them in the past, the current world would be very different as well. It goes without saying that mining is an environmentally damaging process, and history has made that very clear. However, while mines are necessary, that does not mean that every single mine is. As stated in the reading, some copper smelters would refuse to deal with ore with high sulfur content before the sulfuric acid solution (p. 151). This implies that if mining was done in a more moderate pace, and with proper examination of future consequences, a lot of damage could have been avoided. Of course, that comes at the cost of speed, but perhaps it would have resulted in a better outcome.

Leave a Reply