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October 17, 2005


David Lee

Yes indeed, it's scary stuff.

Interestingly, as long ago as 1941 in his article 'Some Social Implications of Modern Technology' Herbert Marcuse argued that technology in contemporary society could be seen as a 'mode of organizing and perpetuating (or changing) social relationships, a manifestation of prevalent thought and behaviour patterns, an instrument for control and domination.'

Will Davies

The other thing which strikes me about a benign technocracy such as New Labour is that it is a massive constitutional risk. Two dangers present themselves. Firstly, the Tories could massively scale back the State, including removal of Asbos, personalised services, and micro-regulation in general. Behaviour will suddenly be unshackled from technocracy, but without informal normative constraints that would otherwise regulate it.

Secondly, a nastier version of the Tories could win power, and mobilise all this sophisticated new State apparatus towards far less appealing ends.

David Lee

by 'informal normative constraints that would otherwise restrain it' do you mean morality, or ethics, or community? ie that a technocratic state (new labour) has sought to replace the loss of a shared ethics in contemporary society with microregulation?

but does this lead back to the concern in Bauman's writing with individual responsibility; who argues that we have to take responsibility for our own ethical development. If modernity was about discovering with certitude an ethical order then postmodernity refuses any relation to the law but insists instead that we care for each other?

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