Sunday, April 25, 2004

Whole System

Our post-industrial history has been one that combined an old worldview with new and powerful technology.

We have continued to perceive the world as fragmented: There is an "other" and there is an "away". While in reality, the world (as always) is a seamless whole.

At the same time, we developed technologies that allowed us to be remarkably effective in modifying nature: taking molecules apart, recombining them, moving huge amounts of mass, distributing new chemicals around the world and in our bodies.

The two do not combine well. It has led to an economic system that externalizes cost and where short term economic profit (for the actor) is the main priority. It has led to designs, of chemicals, processes, transportation technology and more, that (apparently) solves one problem while creating many new - and often more serious - ones.

Seeing Blue Vinyl reminded me of this. It is a product developed with narrow evaluation criteria used, a set of criteria that focused on certain aspects of performance and prodcution cost. The wider impact on worker's health, the health of people living in manufacturing communities, and others impacted by toxins released into the air, water and soil, was not factored in. And still is not. See My House is Your House for more information.

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