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5.35: Electronic Technology is Ecologically Benign

It was argued above that developing countries could leapfrog from the first wave of the agriculture society to the third wave of the information society with only a cursory wave in passing to the second wave of industrial society.

By-passing the industrial society means by-passing also the noxious by-products and the damaging side-effects of the process of industrialization. The means of doing so, electronic technology, is itself a clean industry. The raw materials are cheap and plentiful. There are no noxious by-products.

As argued above, the transportation-telecommunications trade-off, made possible by electronic technology, also contributes to conservation of our planet. Marshall McLuhan pointed out many years ago that executives drive to the office to answer the telephone. They are still doing so. However, more and more people are recognizing that they have a perfectly good phone at home. It is becoming increasingly possible to perform more and more job functions at home as that telephone trades its handset for a terminal. Cutting the cost of commuting makes good economic sense for the individual and good environmental sense for our society.