Re: FYI: MEDIA & Greenpeace

Kathryn Aegis (
Sun, 8 Dec 1996 02:37:59 +0000

Anders Sandberg:

>How much of computer manufacture is still done in sweatshops?

The answer may depend on your definition of a sweatshop. Some
computer chips are manufactured in Asian and Eastern countries
utilizing human labor.

>I have theimpression that they being manufactured more and more using automation
>(which of course would be seen as promoting unemployment in the third

Under Sale's analysis, fully automating a plant is bad, as this
renders humans redundant. Using human labor in a plant is bad, as it
renders humans automatons and cogs in a larger machine. You can't
win here.

>> some real risks to health and bodily function are connected to their
>> operation,
>Which of course is true for every single device invented - from the
>fire and millstone to the Internet.

I suppose repetetive stress injuries become more acceptable when
inflicted by hand plows or spinning machines.

>He completely ignores/misrepresents who really designed
>the computers people use (or more importantly, who designed the *way* they
>are used)

When one is addressing a group that feels powerless, it is easier to
design a target for their anger that is immediately accessible and
inanimate. Sales took a sledgehammer to a computer terminal on
television one night to prove his point. I'm sure it made him feel
better, but did nothing to address the very real problems that
certain segments of the labor force are facing today.

The shallowness of this approach is all the more disappointing given
the sound historical treatment of the early Luddite movement in
Sale's book _Rebels From the Future_, in which he draws certain
lessons that could be applied to present and future development. And
yet, in the last few chapters and in later interviews he seems to
indicate that we have no capacity to learn from our history.

>(Kevin Kelly would say he
>is thinking in terms of industrial society, where control is paramount,
>rather than in terms of network society, where communication is central).

Kelly and Sales go a few rounds in an interview posted at


Kathryn Aegis