The purpose of this essay is not to instruct the reader on the fallacy of the technological fix. We can assume that by now the environmentally conscious person has seen through the delusion of applying technology to remedy the problems that have been caused by previous technology.
It is obvious that a new pesticide won’t finally eliminate the superweeds that evolved to resist the previous pesticide; that new and more powerful antibiotics won’t bring a final victory over the superbugs that evolved to resist previous antibiotics; and that massive geo-engineering projects – such as seeding the stratosphere with sulphuric acid or the oceans with iron to combat climate change – will likely cause horrific unanticipated consequences.
What is less obvious is how pervasive the mentality behind the technological fix is. In the United States, we respond to the failure of metal detectors, lockdowns and other forms of control in our schools by calling for even more control.
European countries unable to pay their debts are lent even more money, with the proviso that they try even harder to pay their debts. Imperialist powers apply military violence to fight the terrorism that is a response to previous imperialism and violence. Doctors prescribe drugs to address the side effects caused by other drugs. Urban planners address traffic congestion by building more roads (which leads to more development and more traffic). And millions of people manage the emptiness of a life of material acquisition by buying more material possessions.