What is Technology Justice?


October 16th, 2014

Technology is a broad term and covers a broad spectrum of aspects of our daily personal and business life.

Repairing a borehole in Gwanda, ZimbabweFor me, this is a rights based issue, where depending on what one is trying to address, everyone should also be able to determine what technology best works for you and when.  Inequality becomes an issue if people do not have this right or even the knowledge of what ‘technology justice’ is.

In order to bridge this gap people need to have sufficent knowledge to make appropriate choices for themselves.  This then becomes their art, craft or skill and how this technology is applied in everyday life to improve livelihoods.

While it is a diverse subject and covers a lot of aspects from personal to business issues, without technology life would be very dismal.   From some of the very basic things that may be considered less important by others such as indoor plumbing, access to clean water, electricity, things which are key either in a home or business environment to things like internet access,  state of the art medical facilities, communication models, transport systems etc.

Technology is good as long as it does not bring about technological process that results in the depletion of natural resources and for me this is where the inequality becomes an issue.  When others are deprived of natural resources as a result of someone else’s use of a certain technology, then that technology is no longer good.  We need technology that does not impact negatively on other people’s lives either directly or indirectly.  If this is the case then there is justice and makes life so much easier if well-done and well-developed.

In summary, technology has the potential to create a high standard of living and improve livelihoods.   When everything has been said and done, I feel that Technology Justices ensures that it is every person’s right to choose and to have access to basic needs and need or service being the operative word here starting from an individual perspective to a commercial one.  Clean water, energy access and shelter are some of the things that come to mind.

2 responses to “What is Technology Justice?”

  1. Yassir AM Says:

    I liked the topic, and the phrase of “Inequality becomes an issue if people do not have this right or even the knowledge of what ‘technology justice’” led me to ask: Doesn’t this require Practical Action to involve in education system, illiteracy is an inequality, and should be treated equally to food access, shelter access, not less.
    Can’t that be a wing for Practical Answers, given that the means and educational technologies are becoming affordable, such as mobile cellular, to be used as a mobile-class, mobile blackboard.???!!!

  2. Jonathan Casey Says:

    Hi Yassir, thanks for your comment. Certainly, there is evidence of technology injustice in education too – both in terms of teaching technologies, but also in terms of basic services required to operate a school successfully, such as energy and water supplies. My colleague Martha has blogged about this too: http://practicalaction.org/blog/programmes/energy/inequality-in-energy-access-in-the-education-sector-in-malawi/

    Practical Action’s expertise lies in our four key goal areas, of Energy, Agriculture, DRR and Urban Services. However, as part of our Technology Justice Global Dialogues, we are engaging with stakeholders across our Regional & Country Offices in both these four areas, as well as in other areas, including health and education. You can read more about this here: http://practicalaction.org/technology-justice-global-dialogue

    If you would like to discuss anything further please feel free to contact me at jonathan.casey@practicalaction.org.uk

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