factorification, monoculture and agricultural pollution is again the province of agronomists, plant ecologists, population biologists, economists etc., while the urban social crisis of alienation, drug taking, alcoholism, delinquency, etc., has returned — somewhat transformed by an environmental optic, it is true — to become the province of the traditional liberal welfare interest.
Separation, in official circles between relatively pure and rather modified "business-as-usual" attitudes, reveals little divide in political ideology, — the focus is on different attitudes to the investment momentum of past and present technological thrusts. Very broadly, one may say that in terms of the West European political spectrum, the separation between rather softer and harder technological lines (nuclear power and the motor car being perhaps the most sensitive current litmus tests) is that between Social and Christian Democratic manifestos: the private investment focus being more concerned with return on capital, the more dirigist public investment focus being less so. Both these "Hard" and "Soft" lines on technology retain, however, a two-fold bond: (1) a reductionist view of problems which are thus inevitably seen as technically soluble by piece-meal solutions, and (2) a commitment to centralised decision making, investment and economic control (whether in a private corporate or public agency framework).
2. Marxist Alternative Technologists
The alternative technology movement, like status-quo environmentalism, is also divided over the role of private investment and ownership. But increasingly the dividing line runs along questions of scale of production and of political units, and the related issue of international management. The divide comes out most clearly in attitudes to largescale multinational corporate capitalism. The alternative technology Left are naturally, under Marxist intellectual influence, concerned more with systematic or total relationships. They therefore tend to accept a strong element of highly centralised political, social and
Ecologist Vol . 7. No. 3.
economic control as necessary for the foreseeable future (the scale on which this should take place is an important unclarified issue) in order to control multi-national enterprise, whose rapacity these alternative technologists believe will not be checked by any change of values or tastes in the market-place, as these markets are, in their view, largely fictitious or at least manipulated by monopoly or quasi-monopoly capitalism.
Marxist alternative technologists further believe that the centralised control necessary for the foreseeable future can occur simultaneously with a burgeoning of shop-floor initiatives that will produce alternative goals for technology: and that worker control in industry and commerce will ensure that the decision-making process responds to such shop-floor initiatives. How this vision is to be realised; what sort of union and management structure will be required, has not yet been spelled out by Marxist alternative technology theorists. It is a theme to which the British Labour Party's younger left wing theorists, such as Stuart Holland and Mary Kaldor, are beginning to give attention.
The attention is long overdue. It was in the 1920's that William Morris's and Arthur Penty's concern with "small is beautiful" was dropped from the Guild Socialists' proposals for worker-ruled functional democracy. Instead, the economist S.G. Hobson envisioned the productive life of Britain as being run by about 22 Guilds — enormous organisations, each covering a whole industry — which were to evolve out of the trades union movement. With out modern experience of trades union power, especially in Britain, could we feel confident that any accommodation can be arrived at between the narrow sectional and wage-related interests of trade unions and the larger goals of society? And in Western consumer societies generally, does it make sense for either the consumption or the production function of the individual or of society as a whole to assume primacy? If Socialist functional democracy is to evolve further — even as a theory — production and consumption functions of citizens must be brought into some form of balance.
3. Liberal Alternative Technologists
The alternative technology liberals, are, as one might guess, much less clear about systematic relations and structures. Their continuing belief in the efficacy of political representation, and the pluralistic society, turns them toward the concept of an alternative society growing up parallel to present social values and institutions: perhaps eventually to supersede them in a post-industrial era. It is extremely hard to gauge the strength of the liberal alternative movement. Its salient feature is its decentralized character and its focus on local issues. In Britain, for example, the liberal alternative technology cause is inseparable from that of local amenity and conservation campaigns. John Tyme, the anti-motorway organiser, represents as much a thread weaving through similar local protest movements against centralized planning, as he does an opponent of the DoE's motorway programme. Tyme's initial target is the lack of accountability and responsiveness of the supposedly democratic Governmental process. The headway that he and his colleagues have made in the last eighteen months is impressive. But were the corruption of the governmental process (which is how Tyme describes the DoE's motorway enquiries) to be resolved by more truly democratic decision making, would the public's perception of the general interest — accurately reflected in reformed Governmental procedures — support liberal conservationists, and alternative technologists' value judgements? Given continued control of the national media of information and persuasion by interests tied to the wheels of "business-as-usual", it is hard to imagine that it would.
It is this perception which will increasingly reinforce the incipient alliance between liberal alternative technology and conservationist groups and political devolutionists. Their common ground will be anxiety to escape the electoral tyrannies of urban majorities, orchestrated and manipulated by the centrally organised interests of industry, commerce and information.