Post Industrial technology, then, is distinct from Industrial technology. Industrial technology produces energy by burning material, polluting the air, soil and water, and leaving a residue behind in the process. Post Industrial technology redirects already existing sources of energy by changing them from one form to another. Wind, sun, geothermal and moving water are all forms of energy already. Transforming them requires neither destruction nor pollution. A photovoltaic cell transforms light into electricity; the electricity can be turned back into light. Nothing is destroyed. In reality, the actuality is more complicated and the transformation not quite so simple, but the principle remains the same. Energy does not have to be created; it already exists. It only needs to be collected, transformed and redistributed. Like money, it is fungible.


This is not to ignore the importance of regional differences. Quite the opposite, unlike the Industrial system, which seeks to flatten regional differences by making the same products which are burned to create energy available everywhere, PostIndustrial technology relies on regional differences not only to to balance the system, but to be net producers. Each longitude and latitude, each local environment, has a different potential to produce energy in excess of local needs. One has an abundance of solar energy, another huge seasonal temperature swings, a third is almost constantly windy, a fourth many rivers and and waterfalls, a fifth fissures to the hot core of the earth, and so on. These differences not only suggest that local users may find one source more reliable than others, but that a global system of distribution can rely on energy always being available for transformation and instantaneous transportation to where it can be consumed.

This has clear implications for regional differences in the design of buildings and the organization of communities. This is not a new idea; it is a new cycle of a very old one. Prior to the Industrial Age, regional distinctions in building and community organization were the norm. They were driven by limitations in the availability and transportation of building materials, of communication and of the ability to control local climatic conditions. All of this was concurrent, of course, with the development of local culture. The countervailing force against regional differentiation was social, economic and military, but was technologically limited. The Roman Empire planted its emblematic baths and temples in every land it conquered, but in the end had to recognize that Mediterranean housing was simply not feasible in the wintery north of Gaul.

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