Response to John Thackera's, “Introduction, ” in the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World

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Submitted By katcat
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Pages 3
In his introduction to the book “In the Bubble” John Thackera tackles the ethical role of technology within our society and challenges our attitude towards our perception of technology and it’s role in a rapidly changing world. Based on his perception of the current situation, he sets forth a manifesto for change that would re-humanise the structure of technology through design.
Although he writes with the best of his intentions and we empathise with many of his assertions, the structure of his argument is often non-sequential and illogical. For example, when Thackera discusses the fact that designers are not to blame for the state that the earth is in, he declares that “no designer that I have ever met set out to wreck the planet.” He misses the opportunity to explore the financial motivations (which are often stronger that any altruistic notion we might have) that drive not only the designer but the businesses to which designers are related. He repeatedly views technology through the lens of design and fails to mention the important relationships between business, economy and technology. We would further argue, that the idea of asserting blame on individual designers is spurious. The reason our world (especially in the west) looks the way it does when this introduction was written, is less to do with individual moral positioning and more about a dominating capitalistic structure. This is something that he appears to confront, although without directly naming it, when he suggests the solutions for “a less-stuff-more-people world”. He gives us list of socially orientated systems that, in direct opposition to capitalism, are entrenched with a marxist agenda. As Thackera states, structures that place technology above peoples, are doomed to failure citing the dot-com crash where many businesses had fallen, because they failed to consider the needs of people in an…...

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