I read Berry’s article on why he is not buying a computer last year. It provoked a lot of thought, as it did debate when it was first published. Jeff Shinabarger recently summed up Berry’s proposed rules for technological innovation.
1. The new tool should be cheaper than the one it replaces.
2. It should be at least as small in scale as the one it replaces.
3. It should do work that is clearly and demonstrably better than the one it replaces.
4. It should use less energy than the one it replaces.
5. If possible, it should use some form of solar energy, such as that of the body.
6. It should be repairable by a person of ordinary intelligence, provided that he or she has the necessary tools.
7. It should be purchasable and repairable as near to home as possible.
8. It should come from a small, privately owned shop or store that will take it back for maintenance and repair.
9. It should not replace or disrupt anything good that already exists, and this includes family and community relationships.
What do you think about these rules? Are they even possible? Are they too idealistic? How do they differ from the way we do things now?