Liberatory technology


As a statement: Technology should be liberatory.

So what is liberatory technology?

I think the specific phrase was coined by Murray Bookchin. Certainly espoused by Bookchin. For example in Towards a Liberatory Technology.

I suppose a big piece of the definition is, what is your definition of liberation?

From reading Towards a Liberatory Technology, the vibe I get is:

  • technology should reduce toil
  • technology should function in harmony with nature
  • technology should facilitate community and reduce alienation

I'm down with all of that.

I mean in some senses that makes me think of doughnut economics - helping to meet social foundation while staying within ecological boundaries. A liberatory technology would be one that keeps us in the doughnut.

Liberatory technology as per Bookchin, I think, has the extra additional proviso of small scale, localised, and decentralised. I'm fine with that too - but I imagine it's probably the area that would have the most contention. As in - reducing toil, not wrecking the planet, I imagine most people can get on board with that. Whether you can succeed best with decentralisation or state coordination you're going to get discussion.

Technology would be used for the purpose of eliminating toil and drudgery, and labor-saving techniques would be applied so as to minimize the amount of necessary work for everyone.

Communalism Pamplet

Liberatory technology would facilitate Unemployment for all, you (a Dadaist) might say.

1. Examples

Bookchin discusses alternative and renewable energy a lot in Towards a Liberatory Technology. As well as technologies that facilitate local, decentralised agriculture.

The Communalism Pamphlet goes in to a bit of detail on ways technology could be liberatory with regards to:

  • manufacturing
  • mining
  • agriculture
  • energy

2. See also

3. Elsewhere

3.3. Mentions

This page last updated: 2023-03-17 Fri 16:15. Map. Recent changes. Source. Peer Production License.