BLAMING TECHNOLOGY: The Irrational Search for Scapegoats by Samuel C. Florman

BLAMING TECHNOLOGY: The Irrational Search for Scapegoats

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Writer-engineer Florman attempts to counter the anti-technological backlash--but with essays unpersuasively compounded of sweeping generalizations, unwarranted assumptions, and much comfortably vague philosophy. The spread of technology, Florman begins (after an outline of current anti-technological thinking), is controlled by market forces--witness the numerous promising technologies that failed commercially; and talk of a supragovernmental ""technological elite"" is nonsense, he continues, since none of these so-called technocrats have engineering training.. More to the point, Florman defends the US Army Corps of Engineers and the American National Standards Institute, whose occasional failures he attributes to political whims. Nuclear power is safe and efficient, Florman next contends--on the basis of a visit to a suitably sanitary and idyllic facility (for an altogether different view, see Nuclear Witnesses, p. 776); ""disasters have always happened"" is his retort to Three Mile Island. He controverts the Club of Rome's gloomy predictions by citing the chaos of a 1976 Club meeting, and vilifies the Schumacher set for daring to suggest alternatives to large, centralized plants and generators. Feminist groups are also criticized for their anti-technological tendencies (women, it seems, prefer to aim for political or economic power rather than to become engineers): ""the ultimate feminist dream will never be realized as long as women would rather supervise the world than help build it."" The tone varies from snide to patronizing or peevish; and Florman's piecemeal approach to what are mostly minor issues leaves areas of legitimate concern--like the future of computers, weaponry, or genetic engineering--altogether unaddressed.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1981
Publisher: St. Martin's