Ivan Illich is one of those rare, seminal thinkers to whom I keep returning, again and again, because he fearlessly grapples with core themes that otherwise go ignored.
When hitch-hiking, a certain irony is common: Time and time again, the authors’ of this post have been picked up by drivers who immediately instruct them that hitch-hiking used to work, but now is impossible.
I had always admired Ivan Illich for his penetrating insights into the pathologies of modern life and the human condition. Like dormant seeds, they sprouted at just the right time in my life and helped me develop a vocabulary for better understanding the commons.
Many Americans have not heard of the commons except in connection with the word “tragedy.”
Aaron Peters and Tony Curzon Price, in their important exchange about workfare, both seem to accept a basically techno-utopian view of the future of hyper-automation. But this view ignores two crucial factors which make the fundamental picture much less rosy: the environmental constraint and global-scale immiseration on a global scale. Ivan Illich’s ‘Energy & Equity’ (1973) is still the right place to start to understand the nexus involved.