DOI link for Techno-republicanism
Slave plantations are a conspicuous omission in the myth of original automation. Chapter 5 argues that the whip and the cotton gin are just as central to the history of automation as farm mechanization and factories. The lesson to draw from American history is that automation tends not toward ever-greater freedom but toward the technical perfection of slavery. To explain the significance of slavery for automation myths, the chapter develops the concept of techno-republicanism. Techno-republicanism shares modern republicanism’s definition of freedom as non-domination but repudiates the classical republican argument that slavery is necessary for the citizen’s freedom. To be more precise: human slavery. The techno-republican does not want to abolish slavery but technologize it.