On the Industrial Growth Society, or ACID

See HERE for the provisional contents page of the study,

which gives you a proper chronology of sections.

Note: the content below is all in first draft format. It will change considerably during the time it takes for the study to be completed (especially by way of more academic support, generally). I post now ‘for interest’s sake’.

The previous sections (Christianity, Technology, Science, Capitalism) were written without knowledge of what follows immediately below. When the information that follows was encountered, however, the resonance with much of what has been explored above about various anti-ecological, dominant discourses was clearly profound. It has been included here because of its uncanny relevance. The points are taken directly from an essay by Hoyer (2012:48) called Ecophilosophy and the environmental debate; he is commenting on “the Industrial Growth Society”, later referred to as the “Advanced Competitive Industrial Dominion” [ACID]; Hoyer attributes these summary points of ACID to Kvaloy. The summary includes one key aspect, namely competition, that is clearly ‘Promethean’ but which has not been included in the analysis above due to space constraints; its inclusion here must be taken as its inclusion within the broader analysis above, specifically of capitalism. These points all summarise IGS or ACID; hopefully the fact that these points are taken straight from Hoyer is tolerated due to the fact that Hoyer took the points straight from Kvaloy:

  • It is a society that has as its basis a continuous growth in the output of industrial products, one where questions about whether these products are life necessities are not treated as important questions.

  • The growth in industrial production is propelled through the mechanism of competition, whether it is between persons, industrial corporations, or industrial states. Not to compete implies not to survive.

  • IGS’s most important industrial resource and means of competitive survival is applied science. This – coupled with the propellant of competition – leads to a situation in which the number and variation of ways to utilize nature and humans to promote industrial growth interests is increasing exponentially. The ‘front of attack’ upon the total ecosystem – including the social system – is widening with increasing speed and the sum total and nature of this attack is continuously growing more difficult to grasp.

  • To this last point it must also be added that the mounting competition to get on the market first with new products requires such an increasing number of scientists and engineers that they become narrow-viewed super specialists. These are people who are systematically trained to lose the overview that solutions to the systems crisis demand.

  • IGS’s most characteristic tool for social coordination and for repairing social imbalance or disruption is standardization and quantification. Closely knit and complex social units, established through slow adjustment over the ages to specific and varying local requirements, are cut into pieces, and the pieces refitted into simplified, standardized, and quantifiable patterns – suitable for centralised, big-unit switchboard control.

  • The last phenomenon – that quantification has become the general tool of social problem-solving and steering – has paved the way for the development of control and manipulation techniques through the use of computers, communication via electronic networks, and electronics in general. Viewed as a whole, this constitutes a gigantic stride towards shaping humanity into an accessory to machinery, cutting us off from self-control and from the eco-conscious mastery of our destiny in the global environment.