Hitech lags behind other sectors in terms of real progress

Sometimes it is both informative and constructive, when being served up deep-fried bollocks in its own jus des insultes, to compare what passes for ‘progress’ in hitech with other manufacturing sectors. In most lines of business, there is no debate whatsoever: progress is being made. One can see this simply by going back into the sector after several years away from it.

Last week, I invested in a second log-burning stove. The last one came from the US, and the new one comes from Kerry in Ireland, no Kerryman jokes please. This is what has happened over the last eleven years since I bought the American monster:

  1. Log burners are smaller and neater
  2. They’re easier to clean
  3. They’re easier to use
  4. They pump out more heat
  5. They do it using fewer logs
  6. They’re multifuel if that’s what you need.

Don’t get me wrong: the Yankee heat-blaster is a fine piece of engineering. But there really are only three settings on it – off, Bessemer iron-ore converter, and Surface of Sun.

Why has this progress been made? The answer, I submit, is the march of Time, and the new necessities that trudge creates. Over that eleven years…

  1. Energy in all its forms has – long-term – become more expensive
  2. Raw materials have become more scarce
  3. Average real wages (and thus pdi) have fallen.

‘Necessity is the mother of invention’ as somebody long lost in the dry ice of history once said, or perhaps wrote. I put forward for you now a thesis:

Neoliberal greed is the mother of complication

Sometimes it is both informative and constructive, when being served up deep-fried bollocks in its own jus des insultes, to compare what passes for ‘progress’ in hitech with other manufacturing sectors. In most lines of business, there is no debate whatsoever: progress is being made. One can see this simply by going back into the sector after several years away from it.

Neoliberal greed is the mother of complication

As regular readers may have spotted, I’ve just been through a three-week nightmare trying to get a printer, a satellite and a computer to talk to each other. The experience had nothing whatever to do with necessity, and everything to do with finding excuses to flog more kit at higher prices.

One can see both invention and complication acting side by side in the automobile industry. The inventive side of things – higher performance and greater fuel economy from small engines – reflects the reality facing the consumer. But the complication involved with on-board computers, automation and pc diagnostics reflects nothing more than the accountant’s desire to fire more grease-monkeys, and the sales director’s need to shift a new update at a higher margin.

It comes down in the end to yet another dimension of the elegantly natural versus the unnatural irrelevance. Infantile gizmos do not feed a necessity, and therefore they are a frivolous distraction – a counterfeit selling point, and in reality a regression.

Different people have different needs, and it is not for me (or anyone else for that matter) to dictate what people want or need. My point is merely this: real creativity does not need to be installed, configured, coordinated, downloaded and unzipped. It doesn’t even need a program, let alone digitally virtual.

If it does need those things, then it is a ruse: you are the Red Man, and these are beads and firewater with which to steal your money and your privacy.

The choice is yours.

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