Eric Magnuson

My unique intersection of cooperation, sustainable business and local living economies.

Until I re-prioritize blog publishing, all my contributions to the noise can be found on Twitter.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Appropriate Technology

I recently read Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World and what follows are some observations.

When I read that the people of Gaviotas refer to their engineering as the pursuit of “appropriate technology” I got excited. My excitement comes from the fact that I have been starting to talk about my consulting practice using these same words. Appropriate technology, wherther it in Los Llanos or on the Web is an important concept that I think keeps technology in service of human needs. It is when technology is fetishized as THE solution that it ceases to be in service to humans and instead creates more of a parasitic dependency.

Now seems like a good time to draw a parallel with the idea of human-scale development from the Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef. Gaviotas is an experiment in human-scale development to a great extent through the use of appropriate technologies. Since its founding in 1960, incremental improvements in the living conditions were brought about to meet human needs and no more. There is certianly a deep academic paper in this relationship. I hope to find that paper someday!


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