Have Science &
or is that
just a load
of sh*t ?
is small still beautiful?
how fashion genuinely changed the world.
The world is developing more and more each day as economies continue to grow and as technology advances. The annual world GDP percentage has increased from -1.68% in 2009 to 2.47% in 2015, which demonstrates the rapid speed at which our world is developing. Society is continuously looking out for new and innovative ideas, and this links to Schumacher’s highly relevant concept of Small is Beautiful.
At the core of Small is Beautiful lies three major questions: Is technology a value for people? For resources? And the Environment? It can also be defined as the level of social and economic benefits to a specific geographical place. This makes a society self sufficient because they are able to adapt to a certain form of technology and continue to grow independently without worrying about reliance on anything. After understanding this concept and realising the implications of applying it to our developing world I believe that small is still beautiful. It will help control this rapid growth.
Schumacher created the idea Small is Beautiful, which has developed to become what we call, Appropriate Technology. This form of technology is relevant because it aims to meet the needs of the population as well as being affordable and sustainable. Schumacher believes that this concept helps empower people more because it is looks more at seeing how more people are benefitted. Also how people are benefitting long term with regards to sustainability and accessibility.
The relevance of this concept can be seen through the ways in which it impacts different countries with different levels of socio-economic development. An example of how Schumacher's ideology linking to appropriate technology is relevant today is the water bottle light concept. In 2002, a Brazilian mechanic invented a way houses could be lit without the need for electricity using water bottles. This new form of technology has already installed 643 bottles in different homes in the Philippines demonstrating how it is benefitting people on a mass scale. The water bottles are making social change because prior to this, basic household lighting was much more difficult to install. Now, the water bottle lights are easily obtainable and change homes. They decrease electricity bills and do not heat up, which makes things safer and easier for the home. They can be easily replaced and are therefore more environmentally sustainable because these plastic bottles are being upcycled.
This shows the relevance of Schumacher’s concept today. Somewhere like the Philippines is not as developed as America or any other MEDC, making it vulnerable. However, Schumacher’s idea aims to combat this and be something that benefits people no matter which region they live. It is also so relevant in more economically developed countries because this idea is developing into an even bigger concept of sustainable development. This is something incredibly relevant today because of the mass growth of industries is resulting in expanding production rates. This appeals to corporate brands however not to the environment. An example of appropriate technology helping an MEDC would be the Seville PSO Solar Tower. This tower was built to generate 300MW of electricity, which will come from renewable energy sources and save 600,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year. This is an incredible form of renewable energy that is appropriate and self sufficient. This technology will make us think about how we want to develop technology in the long run and can help developed countries become more environmentally sustainable.
Schumacher’s concepts are still incredibly relevant today because they consider environmental factors as well as meeting needs for people on mass scales and being easy for certain geographical locations to adapt to. If appropriate technology continues to develop, the world could become more sustainable and better suited for people. The divide between rich and poor can be minimised because the the concept of Small is Beautiful can help increase access to technology amongst more people. Schumacher is and will continue to be relevant for years to come.
The industrial revolution (1840s to late 70s), sparked from the agrarian revolution, was a collection of new inventions helping manufacture the goods pursued by the agricultural revolution. Inventions like the steam engine were a huge part of the industrial revolution because they grew new industries such as fashion with the help of the sewing machine; another invention introduced by this revolution. It transformed technology and societal understanding in a series of ways. But a pinnacle aspect to this social change was absolutely and without a doubt: fashion and sex. So, what was fashion during this time was really like? Well, fashion for women was highly conservative. Women commonly wore gigot sleeves and large, usually conical skirts with corsets to keep very slim figures. Their entire bodies were covered up very similarly to men. Men wore waistcoats and vests and also had tight fittings around the waist to give a false perception of their body shape.
This was short lived when revolution struck. Suddenly now there are mass produced clothes with different and more complex designs. Mass production also resulted in clothes being cheaper as a result of high demand, which consequently made them more affordable for the average person. To think that prior to this time, choice was not an option and now that it was, people could think about how they looked and had the freedom to care with the new ability that the revolution created. These new factories also created more jobs and with greater access to career opportunities, a middle class was created. People started moving into cities in order to obtain these jobs, which helped create this middle class by also giving rise to urbanisation and a booming economy. The middle class gave structure and hierarchy to society and meant that it was not dictated by nobility or a minority of upper class citizens. People were essentially becoming richer, they had better jobs, could be educated and lived much more comfortably.
So, fashion? With this increased choice of clothing, a demonstration of class could be represented through what a person could afford. Class representation was extremely important as it demonstrated growth in society and how people now had to work for their merits over being handed aristocracy for breakfast. Fashion created trends and perhaps also gave an insight into the politics of the time. So in the early 1900s, the hobble skirt became very popular, but by the time the first world war broke out, fashion was forced to change to become more practical for women. In the 1920s, WWI was over and everyone overjoyed because their men were home and women became confident and more independent. This was made possible after WWI because of the 19th amendment, which changed civil rights amongst women and gave them the ability to vote, own property and make their own decisions. The stereotypical domesticated housewife persona now had an opportunity to phase out with women starting careers of their own. This new confidence altered their appearance because it became fashionable to resemble masculinity, with the short cut hair and freerer clothes, hence flapper girl dresses. We see a depiction of politics through fashion again in the 50s when “the pill” was invented, which increased the amount of sex people were having. Now that sex was more common, clothing also changed and in the 60s the mini skirt was invented and Marilyn Monroe was sex symbol of the century. Clothes started to get shorter and shorter as the decades went on. This awareness of sex was seen through fashion. Music, popular culture, world affairs, we saw it all in the fashion trending during each time period. Hippies, rockers, disco, skinny jeans, it comes from somewhere. Fashion also created freedom, choice and expression.
So in a sense fashion did genuinely change the world, and is still changing it today.
Science has it's limits
Science has its limits; it cannot be used to solve every kind of problem. Science can only address natural phenomena (not supernatural phenomena, as such), and only natural explanations can be used in science. Supernatural or magical explanations cannot be definitively or reliably tested - they cannot be disproved, since any result of any test could be attributed to some supernatural or mysterious influence. Natural explanations are testable (open to being disproved) by being shown not to consistently follow the rules of nature. The fact that the most highly credible concepts in science today have survived such critical testing attests to the practical reliability of scientific knowledge and the processes of science that created that knowledge.
Science is not subjective and cannot prove opinions opinions to be right or wrong. This is what differentiates science from opinion; it is fact based on experimentation and proof. It is difficult for science to explain if certain things are right or not because what defines being right? How do we know if things like abortions are right? Can science really prove that? This therefore depicts how science cannot answer opinionated or subjective theories and questions as there is no real way of proving these things. Science cannot be bias.
There are concerns with the scientific research of the environment because what is tested in a lab can highly differ to that of the outside world. Climate sceptics and researchers say that the complexity of our environment is so vast that no experiment can prove what is really happening. This therefore brings us to the conclusion of how do we know any of it is actually real? So yes it can be tested but the reality is sometimes hard to grasp. However, some theories such as global warming can be tested and proven because of the comparison between modern day and the past.
It would mean that theories and ideas would not be able to be proven true or false. How can action be taken on an issue that doesn’t really exist? The government, world leaders, politicians, major companies will not pay to try and stop something like the burning of fossil fuels if it cannot even be proven that it harms our planet.
Privacy matters because it is in our nature. We as humans are “social animals” (TEDX Talks) and we grow up craving human interaction. However, in spite of this, there is always going to be to a limit as to how much we actually want to share with others. To feel free, we must understand the information we want to share and the information we want to hide. If we as humans shared everything that ever happened in our lives, every thought, every interaction, every event, we would feel like we have to censor ourselves. This is not what being a human is about. We strive for this balance between sharing and conserving because being in that realm of privacy is where our creativity and thoughts can flourish without judgement. It is a place where human freedom runs free.
Although, how do we decide how much privacy is enough? In 2010 there was a case of an invasion of privacy in the Lower Merion School District. Teachers and staff were monitoring their students’ private lives when they were not on school grounds, which was taken to court after one of the students had been caught for something “wrong” he did whilst at home. The severity of the case can be seen through the fact that it was of large enough scale to be brought to court. This home monitoring was non-consensual, and caused a massive uprising amongst the students. Is this unethical? The school had the intentions of monitoring the students for safety purposes and to help them address any issues that they were not sharing with the school. However, due to the nonconsensual intrusion on the student’s private life, the case was considered by the court as an invasion of privacy. The school was in the wrong to a much larger degree than the students were.
Then, what about terrorist attacks? Do the same ethics apply in both cases? The government aims to save lives when invading people’s privacy in order to avoid terrorism. However, according to an article written by ‘take part’, these invasions have never proven to be successful in spotting terrorism. The National Security Agency in the US monitored every phone call made in the country, airline travel, text, email and more, after the horror of the 9/11 terrorist attack. In 2002, Bush gave the NSA authority to privately monitor civilians in the country, however it has now been made illegal.
And cookies on our computers and phones. Controlled advertising based on the things that you like and view works by collecting data you use daily. Is there ever a point where we can do something that is not monitored or collected to be used for something else.
Both the Lower Merion school case, this hunt for terrorism and cookies differ in the severity of their context, however are similar in the sense that they invade our privacy and are not always ethically correct. Our privacy is so important to us as humans and cannot be violated without consent. If invading personal privacy in an unethical, non-consensual to receive the information we want and it is the only way we know how to do it, we must be doing something wrong.