Is it important to preserve old technology and skills?
Many people do not think old skills and technology is important. My question is to challenge that: is old skills and technology important and should it be preserved? I see so much of the attitude that “newer is better,” “out with the old, in with the new,” and more.
A lot of the old skills and technology has been rendered moot by modern technology and these skills are either gone or only practiced by history reinactors and people who just love what they do.
I am talking about things like how to make a wheel for a horsedrawn carriage the old way. This skill is going by the wayside, only a few practice it. Here is an example of a fellow who still does things the old way, showing that building a wagon wheel properly is not something that an unskilled person could do. I am certain that what he does is decribed somewhere in a book but that video shows that it takes more than book learning alone to make that wheel properly.
If a catastrophe were to occur to the point where we lost our access to modern technology, returning us to, say, a preindustrial society, how would we handle it if past skills were lost? At this time, 2010, the skill to make wagon wheel without modern tools, for instance, is not that important. It would be important if we lost the ability to use cars, either by loss of cars themselves or running out of fossile fuels (or any other type of fuel) or something else.
Another example is preserving food. What would we do if we lost refrigeration, modern preservatives, electricity, manufacturing ability for glass, etc?
The list could be endless here.