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Anarchists embrace the notion of appropriate (or intermediate) technology, that is, utilizing organizational and technological means that are ecologically, politically, socially, and economically appropriate, rather than the private cost minimizing, profit-maximizing (and usually capital-intensive) method of production. So a labor-intensive method may be used even when a more capital-intensive method is available, or methods that are ecologically harmful or dangerous to human health will be abandoned. Longer time horizons will also be employed in planning, so that pesticides and fertilizers that are now used to maximize short-run profits will be replaced by organic and other greener methods that maintain the long-term fertility of the soil and water, as well as human health.
Europeans who upon arriving in West Africa observed farmers using the simple hoe scoffed at them as “primitive” and “backward,” but we now know that the very delicate, thin topsoil characteristic of West Africa rapidly deteriorated after introduction of the plough, and the hoe was in fact more “appropriate” a technology. The same for shifting cultivation – colonial plantation owners thought it “inefficient” to leave land untilled and ceased the practice, to the detriment of longterm sustainability and therefore long-run productivity."
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