The pandemic and the triumph of the Luddites

The past year has brought difficult times for all of us, with a global pandemic continuing to upend lives and livelihoods. In this time of uncertainty, one thing has become increasingly clear: the skeptical, crit

1. The Unforeseen Consequences of the Pandemic

The pandemic has brought about some of the most unexpected changes in our everyday lives, with even more far-reaching consequences than were initially anticipated. Since its arrival, life as we know it has been turned completely upside down.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Distance learning has become the norm for many children and teens, who spend their days in their homes navigating through online courses.
  • Remote work has become a staple for those whose work can be conducted from home, so people have had to adjust to a new way of life in a much smaller space.
  • Businesses who can’t do so have been forced to close their doors, leaving people to worry about their livelihoods and dedicating themselves to finding alternative solutions.

Economic Impact

  • The ripple effect of the current pandemic can be seen all over the world, ushering in widespread job losses and creating a storm of economic uncertainty.
  • The past year has further exacerbated the situation, as more and more people struggle to make ends meet.
  • The greatest challenge now lies in reigniting economic growth while ensuring that everyone’s rights and access to resources are secured and respected.

2. The Unexpected Rise of the Luddites

The Luddites were first known as large groups of English workers in the early 19th century that destroyed machines used in the textile industry. Once thought of as a fringe group, their legacy has had surprising implications for the modern world.

Today, the Luddites are hailed as a symbol of social responsibility and many of their ideas around protecting jobs from the automation revolution remain relevant. The concept of “tech-shaming” – where people are discouraged from using technologies such as self-checkout scanners or automated check-in kiosks – is evidence of modern-day “Luddism”. Economic and environmental concerns are also driving people to reconsider their own usage of technology:

  • Sustainability: Many people are advocating the use of less energy-intensive technologies that reduce carbon footprints.
  • Qualitative life: People are increasingly prioritizing experiences over convenience, making digital devices less desirable.
  • Economic fairness: The fear of mass unemployment from the rise of AI is causing people to take a stand.

These emerging trends are creating an atmosphere for a “new Luddism” filled with environmental, economic and personal sensitivities towards the use of technology. Undoubtedly, the Luddites had no idea their revolt would have such far-reaching implications.

3. Understanding the Return of an Old Movement

India still reverberates with the echo of its millennia-old cultural values, which has seen a resurgence of old movements, such as protest against repressive regimes, regaining of rights and reassertion! From candlelight vigils, human chains to major protests, old movements is an important tool for justice and democracy.

This returned movement stands testimony to the power of collective organisation and strength, for the reassertion of rights postponed due to whatever reason. It requires utmost courage, resilience and hope to take a stand and peacefully demand affirmative actions from the government. Individuals can effect lasting positive change by convincing others in their circle to join it.

  • Uniting for a Cause: Every voice and view matters, when it comes to matters of justice, peace and equal opportunities. Uniting diverse voices can bring great change.
  • Upholding Democratic Values: While venturing into such protests and marches, it is essential to uphold the country’s democratic values. Civil disobedience against any oppressive laws is allowed when bigger issues related to citizen’s well-being are neglected by authorities.
  • Bringing in Lasting Change: Though the march may mean a lot to the one participating in it, its effects shall outlast if it actually advances in bringing a lasting change and answers the needs of its cause.

4. Looking Forward to the Post-Pandemic Era

As the global vaccination effort continues, the world is cautiously looking forward to the era that we have been waiting for so long. There is much to look forward to after the pandemic. Here are four advantages of the post-pandemic era:

  • More freedom: The quarantines and restrictions will reduce, giving us a sense of freedom to go on with our daily lives.
  • More socialisation: We will be able to meet our friends, family, and colleagues safely, after stops and starts due to the pandemic.
  • More travel opportunities: With the decrease in restrictions and travel advisories, we can once again travel with our loved ones or go on solo trips across the world.
  • More businesses: With the decrease in social distancing, businesses will be able to open up and people will be able to work in-person again.

People’s moods will boom when restrictions are lifted, as we will be able to do the things we have been waiting for. Finally, the post-pandemic era will be the time of new beginnings, with changes in our lifestyle and technology that will hopefully make the world a better place.

In the midst of this pandemic, the tireless efforts and foresight of the Luddites stand as a shining reminder of the adaptability of humanity and our capacity to respond to economic, technological, and social upheaval. Although they may no longer be around to take a bow, the Luddites’ resilience and dedication to protecting their way of life will continue to inspire us – and whatever uncertainty the future holds – for generations to come.

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