Cottage weavers

In another twist to the spiral curriculum thrown up in discussions triggered by the responses to Covid-19, we learn once again that things come round again, but different.

In Britain much heavy and primary industry has moved off the islands, where logistics, marketing and finance networks continue to make it uneconomic either:

  • To engage in such activities on the island; or
  • To develop new primary industries.

A century and more of bureaucrats and secretaries dictated structures and archived the protocols that wove these networks together.

Information technology enabled the expansion of information output as the assembly line and integrated hydrocarbon energy systems enabled the expansion of industrial output.

We gathered in great numbers on the roads and highways at predictable times as we crept to the great information mills where we worked: universities, research institutes, insurance companies, oil companies, banks, transport firms, health care providers and – of course – law firms.

There were some techno optimists who advertised Cisco Systems or Hewlett Packard lifestyles with a mobile phone and a laptop from a mountain cabin. We could be cyber commuters, dressed from the waist up. But for many reasons found it difficult.

Then, in February 2020, we all were forced through the looking glass to that world where we (who could, the information workers) had to work from home. We were shut out of the big information mills and found ourselves sat at our home looms weaving each our own very small part of the great information tapestry that holds our info-verse – our social imaginary – together.

And what is it all for? I have heard that for universities it is now “… all about control and compliance for service delivery. Not so much that academic freedom stuff.”

But, I repeat, what or who for?