Douthwaite, the Correct Minority or Just Plain Wrong

In his writing Douthwaite argued, “We need both kinds of understanding, technological and social… in recognizing this fact we can survive and better enjoy the best of both worlds.” (3 Douthwaite) Meaning for one to grow we must be able to understand the other, humans cannot move forward socially without technological fixes. Johnston had a little different idea than Douthwaite, “Modern problems cannot be reduced to mere engineering solutions over the long term; human goals are diverse and constantly changing.” (7 Johnston) Johnston seemed to believe while technical fixes could work for a time they were simply not effective, any technological advancement would already be behind what humanity required. Huesemann and Huesemann’s critique would seem to be along the line of how the advances of technology is damaging to the natural environment, “…the resilience of complex systems, such as those of nature and even social institutions, is becoming increasingly undermined by the speed of technological change.” (5 Huesemann and Huesemann)

Technological fixes are beneficial to a degree, but the problems come in when the tech either does more harm than good or it creates a whole new set of problems of its own.  Environmental has issues because just about anything done with tech is going to take some form of power, such as coal energy, and while that energy might be used for making the environment better through electric cars that power had to come from somewhere. Social issues being fixed causes more issues because no matter what you fix humans will always be changing and moving forward. However, just because there are issues does not mean we should just stop. After all if we had done stopped while we were in the industrial revolution things would have never gotten better and our pollution levels would be even higher.

1 thought on “Douthwaite, the Correct Minority or Just Plain Wrong”

  1. Firstly, I really liked your analysis of the texts and how you summarized the authors’ view points. I also thought you did a very good job of relating the various authors’ claims to each other’s, and looking into how they would agree on certain topics and be more at odds on other points. I also agree that people often move at a rate that technological innovation cannot keep pace with, and that there will never be a universal solution for social problems. I completely agree with your statement that a commonly overlooked problem with electric cars is the by-product of their manufacturing. Additionally, however, I think you’re correct in saying that sometimes we have to front these downsides temporarily in the name of advancement and the hope that we will come up with solutions that are both socially and environmentally satisfying.

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