New book - 'Building a Better World in Your Backyard' - on Kickstarter (sponsored friend)
Intermediate technology is a term pioneered by E. F. Schumacher, describing something much more effective than "primitive" technology, but much less expensive and smaller-scale than the technology used in mass production:
In recent years, the term appropriate technology has become much more common - the terms have almost the same meaning, but refer to different aspects of the technology.
Schumacher's view on this subject is expressed in this quote:
The system of production by the masses mobilises the priceless resources which are possessed by all human beings, their clever brains and skilful hands, and supports them with first-class tools. The technology of mass production is inherently violent, ecologically damaging, self-defeating in terms of non-renewable resources, and stultifying for the human person. The technology of production by the masses, making use of the best of modern knowledge and experience, is conducive to decentralisation, compatible with the laws of ecology, gentle in its use of scarce resources, and designed to serve the human person instead of making him the servant of machines. I have named it intermediate technology to signify that it is vastly superior to the primitive technology of bygone ages but at the same time much simpler, cheaper, and freer than the supertechnology of the rich. One can also call it self-help technology, or democratic or people's technology -- a technology to which everybody can gain admittance and which is not reserved to those already rich and powerful.