Saturday, October 10, 2009

Luddites: A Lesson From The Past?

Nice article here from Ars about the origin of the word luddite. Although used often today to descri9be people who are not gadget savvy or generally anti-technology, the original name comes from Ned Ludd who destroyed his weaving machine after being threatened with punishment from his boss for not working hard enough. Stockings as a mode of fashion among men was going out, so weavers took Ned's example by attacking weaving factories in protest of the fact that factory bosses were moving to more efficient automated machinery, putting traditional stocking weavers out of work. The problem wasn't the technology itself but that capital industrialists were taking their jobs and leaving workers in poverty. There were no rules in place to protect the workers from the capitalist elite.

I can draw parallels with todays climate. After all the work that has been put into the rights of labourers and protections in the work place, we are seeing an increased amount of power in corporations and rich individuals who are somehow above the law. How can it be that the handful of bankers and law makers who triggered the current economic mess out of pure greed have got away with it, while the repercussions the world over mean people are out of work and long standing financial institutions are threatened. Sometimes it is good to remember our history, what our forefathers fought for and why.