squid_ink (squid_ink) wrote in knitting_chat,
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knitting_chat

LOL word of the day today

luddite

PRONUNCIATION:
(LUHD-yt)

MEANING:
noun: One who opposes or avoids the use of new technology.

ETYMOLOGY:
After the Luddites, name taken by textile workers in England during 1811-1816 who destroyed machinery that was displacing them. They took the name after one Ned Ludd, whose identity is not clear. Ned Ludd is said to have destroyed, in a fit of insanity, a knitting frame in 1779. In response to the Luddites, the British parliament passed the Frame Breaking Act which made the destroying of knitting frames punishable by death.

I guess he was more of a needles only kind of guy

Source : A.Word.A.Day

eta: *SIGH* I can't believe I'm defending TECHNOLOGY on the INTERNET. Ironic.
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And to think until today I always thought of myself as a purist. Now I can be a Luddite!!! Thanks!
This takes me back to my school days where the only history I was taught was 'British Social and Economic History 1700 to the present day' (The present day being approximately 1983).

Though it's easy now to be flippant about it, these were turbulant times in our country, where, as the Industrial Revolution took hold, highly skilled crafts people were being replaced by mechanisation and the employment of unskilled labour, particularly in the textile industry.

It came at a great social cost as, with soaring wheat prices, many of these traditional workers and their families were left literally starving. For those who moved into the newly developing towns to find work in the new mechanised mills, conditions were squalid and degrading. Serious injury and death were daily occurances. Workers were forced to buy food from their employers own stores at highly inflated prices. Child labour was compulsory and preferred for certain dangerous tasks in maintaining the mechanised looms (the children could fit into the small spaces underneath the looms as they slammed back and forth).

It's a personal chagrin of mine that the word Luddite is so negatively connotated today. What the Luddites were really about was the rights of workers to be respected and valued for their skills and traditions. Something we as handknitters/spinners/dyers can really appreciate.

Strangely enough those who did the same thing in France were known as 'saboteurs' (for throwing their clogs -sabots- into the machinery), yet the word 'sabotage' is devoid of any of the negativity of 'Luddite'. Perhaps it's no mystery given the vast difference in attitude between the two countries in relation to the social welfare of workers; The French work a 35 hour week whereas here in Britain we work the longest hours in Europe. Last week riots erupted all over France in response to their government increasing the state retirement age to 62. Yesterday the government in the UK announced (along with a raft of swinging public cuts) an increase in the state retirement age to 65, the UK populace barely batted a collective eyelid.

The saboteurs were heros, challenging their overlords and demanding their rights. The Luddites by contrast were seen as risable fools who stood in the way of progress and the wonder that is capitalism.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/PRluddites.htm
sounds like a case of technophobia

I for one am partial to innovations in general

Deleted comment

people were exploited before the industrial revolution too, it has nothing to do with technology

Ned should have focused his anger elsewhere

Deleted comment

um, ookay.

if you say so

No. It was about human rights being recognised and the humane treatment of workers. The innovations enabled mass exploitation of a workforce that had never previously existed, by mill owners and their ilk.

To follow your argument to it's logical conclusion, you'd have no objections to buying from companies that use sweat shop labour today.

I'm with gannet on this one. And as for your statement that they should have focused their anger elsewhere leaves me speechless in its complete lack of grasp of the social forces at work at a time where only the aristocracy could vote and the common man had no other way to be heard, save for direct action, and often risked death in the process.

I wonder if you'd have felt the same if you were a starving handloom weaver's daughter trying to survive in the early C19th?
Please educate yourself some more about the issues rather than standing on your privileged C21st moral high ground.
I understand your point but you have to realize new jobs are created with technology. Sure there are fewer handloom weavers, but their children are now engineers, draftsmen, even biotechnologists that help people put shattered lives back together. there have been so many wonderful advances as a result of the industrial revolution.

My job today would not exist without technology.

FWIW - I try not to buy from the Nikes/Adidas' of the world. I don't havent been in a walmart for over a decade, so don't throw that 'sweat shop labor' argument at me. Do some of my clothes come from these places? probably, but I do make a vested effort NOT to purchase them for this very reason.

Please educate yourself some more about the issues rather than standing on your privileged C21st moral high ground. I guess I can take that statement and toss it right back at ya.

To follow your argument to it's logical conclusion, you'd have no objections to buying from companies that use sweat shop labour today.

umm... you're using a computer

it didn't put itself together, it was done in China in substandard conditions.
I'd say sabotage has a pretty negative connotation to it.