By William Leiss
Lucid and trenchant essays at the philosophy of nature, arguing for an angle of admire instead of domination of our environment. we have now, in keeping with Leiss (communications, Simon Fraser U.), no legal responsibility to just accept the imposition of latest applied sciences; yet, whether we do settle for technological innovation, we maintain the best and accountability to form the
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16 Caldwell and Drucker stress three subsidiary points: First, knowl- KNOWLEDGE AND POWER / 19 edge is the greatest economic resource in the modern productive process. Second, the organization of knowledge - defined by Drucker as 'the systematic and purposeful acquisition of information and its systematic application' - is the key to understanding the use of knowledge as a productive force. Third, knowledge must be managed, and therefore development of a capable stratum of administrators (knowledge managers) is the most pressing concern of our society.
They never entirely silenced the dissenting voices, however, who worried about the moral degeneration and degradation of skills in the labour force. Originating in a striking passage in Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (1776), this dissenting strain was kept alive mainly in the nineteenthcentury socialist movement, notably by Robert Owen, Karl Marx, and William Morris. It remains alive in the twentieth-century tradition that runs from Thorstein Veblen to Ivan Illich. Many dissenting social thinkers believed, however, that the degeneration characteristic of industrial society was remediable, in most cases by more or less drastic reordering of economic and political circumstances.
Growth in productive output could be matched by growth 22 / THE TECHNOLOGICAL IMPERATIVE in individuals' capacities to use the new wealth justly and fittingly. A despotic marriage of knowledge and power in technologically advanced societies is indeed possible, but it is not inevitable. We are not tyrannized by the complex technical knowledge incorporated in our society's administrative structures; we simply expect too much of it. No matter how sophisticated, technical knowledge cannot of itself make our responses to contentious social issues more reasonable or more just.