Ecology, Morality and Synergism

Thomas Power, Dublin Institute of Technology

Property Valuer, Summer 2005


This short essay looks at the views of unorthodox members of three professions. Richard Douthwaite an anti-growth economist, James Lovelock a "mythical" scientist, and Yoneji Masuda, a Japanese guru of the Information Technology age. All three assume a re-orientation of human thinking. Douthwaite's "moral society", Lovelock's "ecological society" and Masuda's "synergistic society" have little basis in reality, despite their intrinsic appeal. Despite the "high knowledge consumption" of an information age, predicted by Masuda, history teaches us that knowledge has always been used by man to gain power and not to better the lot of mankind. There is no reason to suppose that, in the information age, man will behave any differently than he has down through the ages. The new wealth (knowledge) will, most likely, be appropriated by the rich and powerful. Altruism has rarely been an outstanding attribute of the powerful classes. It is more probable that the diffusion of computers notwithstanding, control of the information systems of the future will remain in the hands of some central authority. This would lead to less, rather than more, autonomy for the individual.