The state of Michigan is famous for many things: Motown, beautiful lakes, amazing dunes and of course, being home to the American auto industry.
But the state known for Eminem and Motor City didn’t have a particularly good time last year, with Detroit itself becoming the largest U.S. city in history to ever declare bankruptcy and terrible floods causing millions of dollars of damage to the already crippled city.
With the new year however come new hopes — and the announcement that the state of Michigan is one of ten finalists for a new award from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, along with Arizona, New Jersey and Texas.
The problem? The award is the first-ever annual “Luddite Award,” a suitably derogatory award to the state (or states) which have stood most in the way of innovation and the social and economic progress it brings.
In its official press release announcing the 2014 Luddite Awards, the Washington, D.C.-based think tank lists all four states collectively as joint nominees for the award, citing the legislative steps each took during 2014 to ban Californian electric automaker Tesla Motors from selling directly to customers within their borders.
Last year, each of the four mentioned states voted in legislative changes or passed regulatory changes which banned Tesla from selling its Tesla Model S electric car directly to consumers under the premise that doing so would damage consumer choice and the establish auto-dealer industry.
The quartet of four shamed states sit among other nominees for the award too, including the National Rifle Association for its opposition to Smart Guns, the state of New York for its crackdown on Airbnb, and interestingly, the Electronic Frontier Foundation for its opposition to Health IT.
“These ‘neo-Luddies’ have worked to convince the public and policymakers that technological innovation is something to be feared and contained,” writes the ITIF in its official press release. “Their targets include genetically modified organisms, new Internet apps, smart meters, health IT, big data and increasingly productivity itself.”
“To highlight the worst neo-Luddite ideas of the year and the negative impacts they could cause, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation is releasing a new report presenting the first annual Luddite Awards,” it continues. “It recognises the ten organisations and or individuals that have done the most in 2014 to smash the engines of innovation.”
The ITIF says it will announce the winner on February 5th, but until that point, it welcomes votes from members of the public for the nominee they’d most like to see win the award.
Naturally, this particular award isn’t exactly one we expect the winners to be particularly happy about, but if you’re a Tesla Motors fan who wants to pay the states of New Jersey, Michigan, Texas and Arizona back for their pro-auto dealer, anti-Tesla laws, now’s the time to do so.
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