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  •                                  NETFUTURE
                        Technology and Human Responsibility
    Issue #143                                                   April 1, 2003
                     A Publication of The Nature Institute
               Editor:  Stephen L. Talbott (stevet@netfuture.org)
                      On the Web: http://www.netfuture.org/
         You may redistribute this newsletter for noncommercial purposes.
    Can we take responsibility for technology, or must we sleepwalk
    in submission to its inevitabilities?  NetFuture is a voice for
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    Editor's Note
    Quotes and Provocations
       Telephone Booths
       Are Corporations to Blame?
       Cheap Food at Any Cost
       Three Economic Absurdities
    About this newsletter
                                  EDITOR'S NOTE
    It feels almost a sacrilege, at this particular moment, to publish an
    issue of the newsletter not dedicated to the world events now
    unfolding.  But, of course, it's also true that we are nearly drowning in
    words about these events.  Perhaps a little respite from the rhetorical
    flood will be appreciated.  I do hope, however, to offer some commentary
    about politics and the war in the next issue.
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                             QUOTES AND PROVOCATIONS
    Telephone Booths
    News item:  Bell Canada is converting old payphone booths into Wi-Fi
    hotspots.  You must be within one hundred feet of a booth to use the Wi-Fi
    Cartoon idea for the New Yorker:  a mass of humanity is crammed into the
    one-hundred-foot radius around the empty booth, with some people on the
    shoulders of other people, and still others swaying perilously on their
    shoulders.  All are talking into their phones, and one is saying, "We're
    trying to set the record for most people not in a phone booth".
    Are Corporations to Blame?
    I am more and more convinced that the chief weakness of many green and
    social justice movements is their predilection for blaming every ill upon
    "capitalistic corporate greed" rather than upon themselves.  The companion
    weakness, of course, is that they seek remedy for every ill from the
    government instead of relying upon their own resources and those of their
    communities and fellow citizens.
    It is certainly true that we need changes in the legal structure of
    corporations, and I personally would like nothing more than to see an
    energetic push in this direction.  But the changes will require careful
    experimentation over a long period.  Meanwhile, why downplay the fac