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The Age of Low TechTowards a Technologically Sustainable Civilization$
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Philippe Bihouix

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781529213263

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781529213263.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM POLICY PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.policypress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Policy Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PPSO for personal use.date: 01 July 2022

The Rise and Fall of ‘Engineering Miracle-Workers’

The Rise and Fall of ‘Engineering Miracle-Workers’

(p.1) Part I The Rise and Fall of ‘Engineering Miracle-Workers’
(p.iii) The Age of Low Tech

Philippe Bihouix

, Chris McMahon
Policy Press

This chapter reviews how technology has always responded to shortages of resources. It describes the origins of industrial chemistry, energy technology, food production and storage, and construction materials. It also explains the history of humanity that encompasses a long struggle with resource scarcity wherein every species is constrained by the availability of resources in its environment. The chapter looks at the idyllic vision of energy ending up with nuclear fusion or fast breeder reactor solving the problem of limited reserves of uranium, which is based on a serious misunderstanding of several physical phenomena and of the 'systemic' nature of industrial society. It elaborates how renewable energies are far from being autonomous, resilient, community-based, and controllable by local people and companies.

Keywords:   Technology, industrial chemistry, energy technology, food production, nuclear fusion, industrial society, renewable energy

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