from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. Describing the period, between the late 19th century and the Second World War, characterized by the development of new technology
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During Mumford's paleotechnic era, when coal and railways replaced water and canal boats, the United States once again found itself blessed with huge coal reserves, and the arrival of the neotechnic era, when petroleum and highways became the new foundation of power, the United States found that nature had supplied it with so much oil that in 1950, it produced more petroleum than all other countries combined.
The neotechnic age, in effect, turned out to have no successor.
While I generally agree with Carson's critiques of Corporate Liberalism itself, I tend to strongly disagree with his embrace of a "Peak Oil" collapse event (for a particularly dire forecast of such a collapse, reference this recent post by Jim Kunstler that seems to be simultaneously channeling both Matthew Simmons and Peter Schiff to concoct a particularly nasty scenario) to trigger his vision of a new socio-economic order built around neotechnic decentralization.
Freed from State subsidy and the influence of politics, technology will be naturally incorporated into the social relations of the community (rather than driving the social makeup of the community), thus finally giving rise to the Mumford neotechnic era of decentralized production.
According to Mumford, in the neotechnic phase the possibilities for invention are suggested by, and follow directly from, the general level of scientific knowledge -- which itself is the product of an egalitarian international community.