Technological fixes aren’t cheap

Sean F. Johnston and Michael Huesemann and Joyce Huesemann would argue against Douthwaite’s assertion that technological fixes are necessary to solve social issues. They argue that while technological advancement and ‘fixes’ have their value in society, these fixes come with numerous unintended consequences. They would suggest that we and our society are inherently unprepared to deal with these unintended consequences of the technological cure-all. Michael and Joyce Huesemann especially would argue that the whole world is interconnected and that changing one aspect of it affects everything else. They assert that science has so far done a good job of removing or mitigating the effects caused by changes in technology and its application, but those supporting examples of this are just a fraction of the total effects associated with technological fixes.

Technological fixes to social and environmental problems have negative repercussions because of the interconnectedness of the world; you cannot change one thing without inadvertently changing another. The social and environmental world is so complex that predicting the resulting effects of one change can be nearly impossible and proposing ways to fix these resulting changes can just lead to a cascade of more unintended consequences. However, the possible unintended consequences should not fully prevent us from implementing technological solutions to our problems, but instead should limit them. Each solution should be studied more carefully and evaluated not just in terms of economic cost but also of social and environmental cost. Technological fixes are a necessary part of our world today, but that does not mean that we should haphazardly implement them without determining the ultimate costs.