Category Archives: Commons

The Technological Society and its Symptoms

At least four threatening and pervasive trends within all technological societies are crying out for acknowledgment and for preliminary analysis of the problems created by them. These are:

(1) increasing bureaucratization along with an accompanying decrease of organizational accountability and effectiveness;

(2) an increasingly impermeable social stratification based on ability to access, comprehend and apply information and knowledge;

(3) an accelerating erosion of public places, biodiversity, and all sociocultural forms of “the commons”; and

(4) a downward spiral in the quality of leadership in modern democracies, with leaders tending increasingly to represent the lowest common denominator within the population, to appeal to the basest of motivations and to seek the shortest-term of ends.

Moral reasoning consists largely of coming to recognize that whatever makes for a meaner, more corrupt, more violent or more totalitarian culture — or a more self-indulgent, short-sighted or destructive personality — is bad for both individual and society in the long run. The looming “tragedy of the commons” has brought home to all thinking people the long-term cost of short-term self-aggrandizement. It has opened our eyes, as well, to our inextricable interdependence and connectedness with the social and physical environment, and to our evolutionary inheritance and future prospects as a species.

– written by the late Pat Duffy Hutcheon in 1995.