The future encyclopedia of Luddism | Curio

The future encyclopedia of Luddism

25 mins | Feb 1, 2021

What would have happened if the Luddites had won their battle against alienating technology? In The MIT Press Reader, Miriam A. Cherry — a professor of Law, and Associate Dean for Research & Engagement at Saint Louis University Law School — offers us a glimpse of an alternative economic and industrial history and future. "In common parlance, the term 'Luddite' means someone who is anti-technology, or maybe, just not adept at using technology. Historically, however, the Luddite movement was a reaction born of industrial accidents and dangerous machines, poor working conditions, and the fact that there were no unions to represent worker interests during England’s initial period of industrialization. The Luddites did not hate technology; they only channelled their anger toward machine-breaking because it had nowhere else to go. This is an alternate history (an encyclopedia entry from circa 2500) that depends on the critical assumption that the Luddites succeeded in their industrial campaign in the 1810s. Instead of techno-determinism (that the development of technology is inevitable, and that society will alter and adjust to it) the Encyclopedia entry notes that the Luddites, in their success, formulated a different, yet productive, relationship between society and the development of technology."

publisher logo

From MIT Press Reader