Baukasten:The Productivity Worldview - digital
The Productivity Worldview - digital
In his text "The Productivity Worldview" Otto Ullrich analyses the Global North’s "industrial way of life" and the problems that arise from it. A key thesis of the text is that the consequences of this industrial way of life are geographical and temporal shifted to another place and another time. This would lead to a high level of inequality in material and political terms between people.
The text is divided into three sections. Section A is a description of the problem referring to the aspects: Destruction of the world, Justice and Happiness. Section B identifies a number of causes for the above-mentioned problems, including for example the fossil-driven devastation, the conditioning to industrial labor and the production of needs. Section C gives selected keywords for a more sustainable way of life: recovering politics, deceleration and a solidarity-based economy for example.
This building block is structured in the same way as Ullrich’s text. In the first part the participants recall part A (“Description of the Problem”). They create a TINS-D-Diagram together in a moderated group discussion. Secondly, the participants analyse individual “Reasons for the Undesirable Development” mentioned in part B. This is done by creating a small essay in groups of six and identifying keywords from the text. In the end there is time for diverse discussions on “Keywords for a Sustainable Production and lifestyle” (Part C). The participants reflect upon their role as engineers in the productivity world view and a socio-ecological transformation.
Preparation and Follow-Up
The facilitators intensively study the text "The Productivity World View", e.g. by creating an extensive mind map, collection of quotations, etc. The facilitators prepare the text "The Productivist World View" in such a way that it can be read and commented on by all participants as a preparation.
The facilitators prepare an interactive word-cloud (e.g. via mentimeter.com). The participants use it in minute 00 and 90.
The facilitators prepare an online tool for simultaneous editing of text documents (e.g. etherpad lite). The participants use it in minute 20.
The participants read the text "The Productivity Worldview" and complete a TINS-D analysis. They comment on at least two text passages per aspect. Several participants work on a common document and are encouraged to refer to each other.
The participants choose three quotes from the text and talk with three different people about the quotes. They note down their experience in their learning journal. The participants reflect the text and their personal approach to it intensively in their learning journal after the session.
Minute 00 - Introduction and Word-cloud
The facilitators enable the participants to create a word-cloud. They explain the structure of this building block, pointing out that it follows the structure of Otto Ullrich’s text.
Each participant forwards three words to the word-cloud. The words reflect their feelings and emotions concerning Otto Ullrich’s text. This way they "blow off steam" at the beginning of the session and discard their subjective opinion so that it can be left out in the following analysis section.
Learning Outcomes of this building block
- Practicing objectively analysing a text
- Understanding the essence of Otto Ullrich’s text
- Reflecting one’s role in the productivity worldview
Word-cloud on your emotions and impressions
- Add three words to describe your emotions or opinion concerning the text “The Productivity Worldview” by Otto Ullrich.
- - share screen with word-cloud here -
Schedule of today’s session
- 00:00 - Introduction and World-cloud
- 00:10 - Recalling the “Description of the Problem”
- 00:25 - Analysing “Reasons for the Undesirable Development”
- 01:10 - Discussing “Keywords for a Sustainable Production and lifestyle”
- 01:35 pm - Word-cloud and Follow-Up and Preparation
Minute 10 - Recalling the “Description of the Problem"
The facilitators give background information on Otto Ullrich. They shortly outline the content of section A of Ullrich’s text.
One facilitator moderates a group talk about section A. He/she interferes with the discussion as little as possible. Another facilitator notes down the participant’s statements in a TINS-D diagramm while sharing the screen. An example can be found in the attachment.
The facilitators can ask the following questions to guide the participants if necessary:
- Which aspects of TINS-D are involved in the destruction of the world as Ullrich outlines it and how?
- Which aspects of TINS-D are affected by the problem of injustice Ullrich mentions and how?
- Which aspects of TINS-D play a role in the lack of happiness Ullrich attributes to modern society and how?
- Where are interrelations between aspects in the TINS-D diagramm?
The participants recall the key statements of section A together in the big group. They refer to each other's statements. If one wants to say something they give a hand signal. The participant who is talking chooses the next one to talk.
Who was Otto Ullrich?
- Born in 1938 as a son of farmers in eastern prussia
- He and only a part of his family survived the war as refugees
- Studied electrical engineering, later sociology, social psychology and economics
- Habilitation thesis about technology as an instrument of power and oppression
- Co-founder of the Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW)
- Worked at TU Berlin doing researches on transportation and energy
- Applications for professorships were denied due to too offensive criticism concerning technology
- "He was a troublemaker in the most admirable way." - taz, 2015
Content of Section A: Description of the Problem
- "I want to highlight three issues that I associate with capitalist industrialism: the high level of global destruction, the great injustice and the *"happiness inefficiency" of our current mode of production and living. Positively turned, my three keywords are sustainability, justice and happiness." The Productivity Worldview, p.2
TINS-D-Diagram of the "Description of the problem" - 10 min
- - share screen with TINS-D-Diagram here, post the questions in the chat -
Minute 25 - Analysing “Reasons for the Undesirable Development” - Group Work?
The facilitators explain the complicated tasks and double check if everybody knows what to do. The facilitators might have to explain the use and aim of tools again. They also stress that this task is about analysing and not about one’s own opinion.
The facilitators send the participants in breakout sessions of 6 people and provide each session with an joined text document.
The participants write a short essay analysing section B of Otto Ullrich’s text in a group of 6 people. They frame an introduction and a conclusion together. They split up the main part of the essay into 6 sections and distributed them amongst their group members.
Overview of Tasks
- Task 1: Write an introduction - 10 min
- Task 2: Write the main part - 15 min
- Task 3: Write an Conclusion - 10 min
Task 1 - Write an Introduction - Group Work - 10 min
- 1.1) Discuss following question together:
Is looking at history important for Engineers? If yes, in which situations?
- 1.2) Note down 1 to 5 sentences as a group that summarizes your ideas. They will serve as the introduction of your essay.
Task 2 - Write the main part - Individual and Group Work - 15 min
- 2.1) Distribute the following sections of Ullrich’s text amongst you:
- The Bacon hypothesis (p. 9 -12)
- The fossil driven devastation (p. 12 -14)
- The desacralization of nature (p. 14 - 16)
- The conditioning for industrial work (p.16 - 20)
- The hamster wheel - The production of needs (p. 20 - 24)
- The hamster wheel - Innovations (p. 24 - 28)
- Note: If you are less than 6 people leave out as many sections as needed.
- 2.2) Analyses your topic individually with the help of TINS
- Write 1 to 3 sentences to each aspect of TINS (Technology, Individual, Nature, Society)
- Quote keywords from Ullrich’s text e.g.:
- In the bacon hypothesis technology is seen as …
- The individual plays … role in the bacon hypothesis. It …
- Bacon considered nature as …
- Society in context of the bacon hypothesis means …
Task 3 - Write a conclusion - Teamwork - 10 min
- 3.1) Discuss the Blue Engineering Tool “Yardstick of Democracy” together:
- What role does democracy play in your section of the text from task 2?
- Are there similarities and differences in the role of democracy between your sections?
- 3.2) Note down 1 to 5 sentences as a group that summarizes your ideas, they will serve as the conclusion of your essay.
Yardstick of Democracy
The yardstick of democracy measures whether all people (can) participate equally and freely in taking decisions.
The very individuality of each person means that not all people can be equal and free at the same level. Nevertheless, democracy sets itself this goal and thus ensures on a material and social level that all people can participate equally in decision-making processes. With this yardstick democracy is able to measure and must let itself be measured again and again.
Minute 70 - Discussing “Keywords for a Sustainable Production and lifestyle” - Group Work
The facilitators provide quotes from each of the five sections of part C but do not present them. They create one or two breakout session(s) for each section, depending on the amount of participants.
The participants assess and discuss one/two of Ullrich's thesis of section C “Keywords for a Sustainable Production and Way of Life” in groups. They can recall their passage by the quote provided. They define a reasoned position towards the given ideas and proposals and post it to the forum.
Overview of Tasks
- Task 1: Identify and familiarise with your keyword - 3 min
- Task 2: Discuss your keyword - 10 min
- Task 3: Reflect you role in the productivity world view - 7 min
Task 1: Identify and familiarise with your keyword - 3 min
- Ullrich names 6 Keywords for a sustainable future. Every breakout session deals only with one/two.
- 1.1) Identify which keyword should be discussed in your session.
- session 1 + 2: Breaking with the ruling ideology
- session 3 + 4: A shortened concept of freedom prevents the recovery of politics
- session 5 + 6: Slowing down
- session 7 + 8: New social metabolism with nature
- session 9 + 10: Solidarity-based economy AND Regionalization
- 1.2) Read the quote concerning your keyword and recall its main content together.
Task 2: Discuss your keyword - 10 min
- Discuss the following questions:
- How relevant do you think is your keyword for socio-ecological transformation towards a sustainable future?
- Who is addressed to act by your keyword?
- What can engineers do to support your keyword?
Task 3: Reflect your role in the productivity world view - 12 min
- 3.1) Read through the text of the tool “Fireworks to my delight and your suffering” and keep in mind
- 3.2) Phrase three sentences that outline the role of engineers in the productivity worldview together
- 3.3) Phrase three sentences that describe the role you want to have as a engineers together
- 3.4) Post both descriptions in one post into the forum
Quotes to familiarise with each keyword
- Breaking with the ruling ideology (p. 23-26)
- Every dogma, every component of this productivist ideology must be examined for its truthfulness and its impact with regard to the goals of justice, sustainability and happiness. (p. 25)
- A shortened concept of freedom prevents the recovery of politics (p. 26-34)
- Those who are in favor of justice, solidarity, human dignity, protection of the weak, freedom from want, freedom from fear, must intervene in the freedoms of the strong through a political order. [...] It is even necessary to intervene in certain freedoms of all through a democratic-political order that has been found by law, if these are harmful to the common good, [...]. (p. 30)
- Slowing down (p. 34-39)
- Since the outstanding characteristic of [...] industrialism and capitalism is acceleration [...] and if this acceleration leads to "unchecked running further into the abyss" (Rosa), then deceleration is a key word for a sustainable society. Slowing down is then also multifaceted and must start at many levels. (p. 34)
- New social metabolism with nature (p. 39-47)
- The approach to nature should be careful, elegant, unobtrusive, knowledgeable, sensitive, mimetic. Sophisticated, gentle techniques are needed that fit into a natural process. (p. 43)
- Solidarity-based economy (p. 47)
- The economy of solidarity will be embedded in a "culture of enjoyment", it will be decelerated, it will be able to wait for the demand again and give leisure its place. (p. 47)
- Regionalization (p. 47)
- The solar and natural material-based solidarity-based economy is a close-range economy. The most important goods for a region are produced predominantly in the region. (p. 47)
Fireworks to my delight and your suffering - Tool
A little bling-bling to make my own suffering more bearable has always ended up hurting everyone.
Almost all the “modern” technologies we are having today are cost-relocation robbery techniques. They are the means by which we appropriate private benefits such as profit, income, convenience, pleasure, fun, etc., resulting in non-quantifiable costs such as pollutant emissions, noise, land erosion, climate impacts, etc., to the detriment of others. The relocation of costs often affects people and living beings located in countries geographically removed from our own, and has large scale temporal effects reaching far into the future thus affecting future generations. The scene and time of the crime compared to the scene and time of the suffering as a negative ramification of the crime thus diverge from one another. - Otto Ullrich
Minute 95 - Word-cloud, Follow-Up and Preparation
The facilitators enable the participants to create a second word-cloud. They comment on the growing word-cloud, pointing out differences and similarities compared to the first one. The facilitators explain the follow-up tasks and next week’s preparation.
Each participant forwards three words to the word-cloud. The words reflect their feelings and emotions concerning Otto Ullrich’s text.
Word-cloud on your emotions and impressions
- Add three words to describe your emotions or opinion concerning the text “The productivity Worldview” after having analysed it.
- '- share screen with word-cloud here -
Follow-Up - Three Quotes
- Think of aspects of the text that impress/unsettle/annoy you the most (e.g.: content, choice of words, Ullrich’s perspective etc.)
- Look for 3 quotes from the text which reflect the text and your emotions the best
- Talk to 3 People about the quotes - 1) family member, 2) friend, 3) sb. with whom you normally would not talk about that
- Record your experience in your learning journal, you will talk about it next session
Notes and Remarks
This text is a key component of Blue Engineering. Every semester it provokes great disagreement amongst the participants. Some tend to develop a defensive attitude and therefore become judgmental before even reading it thoroughly. Therefore it is especially important to pay attention to objective analysis throughout the building block.
The building block can be linked to the building block Technology Assessment, when drawing connections to Ivan Illch’s conviviality model in minute 10.
If there is trouble with participants not interacting in the session, minute 20 can become problematic. To prevent any problems the facilitators can ask the participants to come back to the main session if some group members are not participating at all.
At the beginning of the next session following this building block about 10 min should be reserved. In that time the participants share their experience concerning the follow-up task in breakout sessions.
Still to come.
- “Das Produktivistische Weltbild” ist ein Basistext im Blue Engineering Seminar - http://www.otto-ullrich.de/Texte_files/Das%20produktivistische%20Weltbild.pdf
- “Forschung und Technik für eine zukunftsfähige Lebensweise” von Otto Ullrich hat in etwa die gleiche Gliederung und bietet zu den einzelnen Abschnitten noch weitergehende Hintergrundinformationen - http://www.otto-ullrich.de/Texte_files/Forschung%20und%20Technik%20fuer%20eine%20zukunftsfaehige%20Lebensweise.pdf
- further text of Otto Ullrich on this website - www.otto-ullrich.de
- “Marx Grün. Zur Demokratisierung der gesellschaftlichen Naturverhältnisse.” von Alex Demirović bietet einen einfachen Einstieg in das Thema gesellschaftliche Naturverhältnisse - https://www.zeitschrift-luxemburg.de/marx-gruen/
Participants’ Preparation - Comment on The Productivity Worldview
The facilitators uploaded the text in a way of structured posts to the forum. They can upload the text in several forum-posts. These posts can conform to the original structure and subheadings of the text.
The participants quote and comment on aspects of the text. They can see what the others think and comment referring to each other.
Preparation - Productivity Worldview
- Read the text “The Productivity Worldview” by Otto Ullrich
- Analyse the text with the help of TINS-D
- Comment on 2 statements of Otto Ullrich for each aspect of TINS-D (Overall 10 comments with about three sentences)
Refer to the comments of each other
Example: Line 1-3:
- Anton: "Here Ullrich describes a relationship between the individual and nature. He describes it as a positive one as...."
- Berta: "I think that Ullrich is rather negative about that relationship, because..."
- Caesar: “I would rather say this sentence is referring to the connection between nature and technology, because...”
The participants choose three quotes of the text and talk to three different people about these quotes. They record their experience in their journal. The facilitators have to emphasise that the participants should not only note down what the three interviewed people said. The participants also record their personal thoughts on the conversations they had.
Follow-Up - Three quotes
- Think of aspects of the text that upset/annoy/irritate you the most (e.g.: content, choice of words, Ullrich’s perspective etc.)
- look for 3 Quotes from the text which reflect the text and your emotions the best
- talk to 3 People about the quotes - 1) family member, 2) friend, 3) sb. with whom you normally would not talk about that
- Record your experience in your learning journal, you will talk about them next session