Industrialized Nature: Brute Force Technology and the Transformation of the Natural World

Josephson, Paul R. | from Multimedia Library Collection:
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Josephson, Industrialized Nature front cover

Josephson, Paul R. “Industrialized Nature,” and “Pyramids of Concrete: Rivers, Dams, and the Ideological Roots of Brute Force Technology.” Prologue and Chapter 1 in Industrialized Nature: Brute Force Technology and the Transformation of the Natural World. Washington, DC: Island Press, 2002. Historian Paul R. Josephson provides an original examination of the ways in which science, engineering, policy, finance, and hubris have come together—often with unforeseen consequences—to perpetuate what he calls “brute-force technologies,” the large-scale systems created to manage water, forest, and fish resources. Throughout the twentieth century, nations with quite different political systems and economic orientations all pursued this same technological subjugation of nature. Josephson compares the Soviet Union’s heavy-handed efforts at resource management to similar projects undertaken in the United States, Norway, Brazil, and China. He argues that brute-force technologies require brute-force politics to operate. He shows how irresponsible—or well-intentioned but misguided—large-scale manipulation of nature has resulted in resource loss and severe environmental degradation. Josephson explores the ongoing industrialization of nature that is happening in our own backyards and around the world. Both a cautionary tale and a call to action, Industrialized Nature urges us to consider how to develop a future for succeeding generations that avoids the pitfalls of brute-force technologies. (Island Press website text, please see below).