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CAPITALIST CRISIS AND PARADIGM SHIFT

My friend and colleague, Kimon Valaskakis, came to Hudson on 15 January to talk about his Conserver Society Project at the invitation of Go Green. I'm delighted that he was invited and that so many Hudsonites turned out on such a cold evening to hear him. Here is my small contribution to maintaining the momentum of our movement towards conservation.

Kimon and I have worked so closely over such a long time that we can practically complete one another's sentences. Indeed, for many of those sentences, we can no longer remember who first uttered them! However, he can still surprise me. Many of the sentences he uttered in his talk I could not complete. He had obviously been thinking about the Conserver Society during the intervening 30 years, whereas I had been distracted by the Information Society.

In the late 1970s, a member of GAMMA, a Montreal-based think tank founded by Kimon, had lunch with Marshall McLuhan. One remark casually dropped by McLuhan - "executives drive to the office to answer the telephone" - triggered much discussion in our think tank. It conjured up an image of a businessman unnecessarily using non-renewable resources, polluting the environment, and creating ulcers, since he had a perfectly good telephone at home. The emphasis at GAMMA shifted from the conserver society to the information society, since this transportation-telecommunication trade-off (TTT) promised to contribute to conservation.

By 1990, the commute had become even more ridiculous, since one could phone computers as well as people. Why talk to computers? They are lousy conversationalists but they are very well informed. That is when I practised what we had been preaching by conducting my personal TTT - I sold my car and bought a computer. I don't need a 2000-pound car to take my 200-pound body to pick up a 2-pound book - I download it over the internet.

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