When the World Trade Center was attacked, George Gilder referred to the terrorists as "Osama Bin Luddites," suggesting that it was American technology that was under attack. Even--and especially in the digital age--the turn against technology is powerful, and the Luddite cause does not disappear.
This book addresses the question of what it might mean today to be a Luddite--that is, to take a stand against technology. Steven Jones here explains the history of the Luddites, British textile works who, from around 1811, proclaimed themselves followers of "Ned Ludd" and smashed machinery they saw as threatening trade.Against Technology is not a history of the Luddites, but a history of an idea: how the activities of a group of British workers in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire came to stand for a global anti--technology philosophy, and how an anonymous collective movement came to be identified with an individualistic personal conviction. Angry textile workers in the early nineteenth century became symbols of a desire for a simple life--certainly not the goal of the actions for which they became famous. Against Technology is, in other words, a book about representations, about the image and the myth of the Luddites and how that myth was transformed over time into modern neo-Luddism.