Technology Is Holding Us Hostage

Mark Spearman
4 min readNov 21, 2022

Going through YouTube videos, I stumble upon farmers bemoaning the woes of John Deere. They’re in a fight for their businesses as the wrestle with the agriculture giant. They are fighting for their “right to repair”.

Broke farm equipment.
Broken down tractor awaiting repairs.

I’m not a fan of people fighting for “rights” that aren’t really rights. I can hit on many “rights” that just are not defined as such in any legal capacity. We treat many ideas that people want to be true as “rights”, but they simply are just things that people want to be true. I think this “right to repair” is just a something people want to be true.

The video uses the example of a part that John Deere uses in a GPS satellite communication module. It saves money by using GPS to plant seeds with precision. The farmer said that only one part of the piece was broke, but John Deere no longer supports the piece. Without it, the rest tractor will not work. Farmers and mechanic shops say they have a “right to repair” and parts should be made available.

The farmer discussed the fact that an old Farmall had less complexity than just the drivers seat of a new tractor. In the 80’s John Deere starting adding technology to many systems. They’re to the point now where you need to transport the piece to John Deere for repairs. Transport costs alone can cost thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, the Farmall still runs at 50 years old and parts are still available.

Why don’t we go back to the Farmall? Why don’t we learn to adapt GPS systems to Farmall tractors? It’s a serious question. Is the technology so good that it’s paying for itself? If it is, then just pay John Deere and get back to farming. If it’s not, go back to the Farmall. It’s about something else though isn’t it?

Technology is turning out to be a lie. We were told all of the modern inventions would make our lives better. Companies are leveraging technology to enrich a very few and leaving others right where they were before the invention. These few are learning to squeeze the profits out of everything that technology touches.

In the case of farm equipment, the new technology isn’t improving farming for free. There is a constant cost. A farmer could pay off a Farmall back in the 1960’s and they’re still running and working today, but they will never truly own a John Deere. There will…

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Mark Spearman

I hail from Central Ohio. I have a diverse background and enjoy writing to the fullest. See more at http://markspearman.com