Adam Greenfield on bottom-up DIY tech in India

These days the UK’s lefty The Guardian newspaper tends to lean toward an all-powerful state run by a sneering leftist elite. But once in a while some genuine anarcho-something pokes his head through its shiny newsprint, to refreshingly point out that even the poorest ordinary people can do it for themselves — when given access to efficient tools that are free of government interference. Adam Greenfield, for instance, with his long December 2014 article “The smartest cities rely on citizen cunning and unglamorous technology”

“the communities of the [global] south are responsible for an ever-lengthening parade of social and technical innovations that rival anything the developed world has to offer for ingenuity and practical utility. […] it is the tactics of daily survival devised by the unheralded multitude that really inspire urbanists. These techniques maximise the transactive capacity of the urban fabric, wrest the very last increment of value from the energy invested in the production of manufactured goods, and allow millions to eke a living, however precarious, from the most unpromising of circumstances. [And] The true enablers of [their more ambitious] participation [in a society that ignores them] turn out to be nothing more exciting than cheap commodity devices, reliable access to sufficiently high- bandwidth connectivity, and generic cloud services.”

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One thought on “Adam Greenfield on bottom-up DIY tech in India

  1. AG January 16, 2015 / 1:41 pm

    Thanks for taking notice of my piece. I’m flattered and pleased that you enjoyed it.

    Please note, however, that while I suppose I’ll cop to a certain anarchist strain in my thought, I’m not a “techie.” And far, far more importantly: I am in no way an optimist, and do not intend for anything I write to be taken as support for the notion that the quality of life is in general improving.

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