My friend, Oliver, once told me that “technology simply creates classicism and exploitation.” I decided to ask him to elaborate more on his comment, so I could turn it into a blog entry. I will admit that I love my iMac and my iPod Touch, so I am guilty of being a “slave” to technology, but Apple sure knows how to make its technology work very well!
It is the single hope for survival right? Won’t some great technology fix pollution, travel distance, being overweight, traffic, etc.? Are we in a society of technology worship?
We, as consumers, are quite obsessed with technology. In fact, the category leader in Christmas shopping year after year is electronics. This is a result of all the new technologies within this industry. How about Wii or iPhone-mania? You see lines for PlayStations like you would see lines in Russia for bread.
The world, and especially the United States, is obsessed with technology. We all believe that it makes life easier. Ha ha ha! The trick is on us; the fools. In fact, technology makes our lives busier. With the exception of the microwave, every other technology to make our personal lives easier has resulted in more hours worked. TRUTH! Read Juliet Schor’s The Overworked American. If you have a dishwasher, you will put even a slightly soiled dish in it, where in the past you would have wiped and reused it. Statistically, all these inventions have made our houses cleaner than in the past, but they have not reduced the amount of hours we spend on housework.
This study does not even consider one of the most important points; you have to buy these items with money that you have to earn somewhere, so you engage in more work to obtain them! Now let’s just say you are a privileged person who has all these technological inventions: the iPhone, the Viking fridge, a Sony laptop, the Dyson vacuum, etc. etc. You can be reached at any moment by any method; you have the ability to store massive amounts of food that you have taken long hours to acquire; and you whip out the vacuum any time any specks of dust fall on and ceremonially clean surface that you manage. Is life getting easier?
By the way, clacissism is determined by a struggle or conflict, jealousy, envy, etc. between classes. Classes are determined by assets and income; these can be visually observed by things obtained. Therefore, someone with a Brooks Brothers suit and an iPhone, drinking a nine dollar Starbucks beverage is obviously in a different class than someone who has relieved himself in his only pair of pants the night before. Each measure of inequality is determined by the haves and have nots of items.
It’s quite possible two families are exactly the same but say one has a toaster while the other is one slight step above the other. Herein lies the problem with technology and classicism. Each new technology creates something new that some will have and some will not. The more technology continues and expands exponentially, the more goods and services it creates in a capitalist market economy. The more limited goods and services in a market create prices that some can afford, and others not. So you see that technology creates further divisions within classes in two ways and a wider spread overall. Some can obtain new technology, while other will have to wait; some will be able to afford its fruits, while others may never be able to before they die. Just wait until something new comes out, ask yourself, “Why do I want this?” Because someone else can’t have it? Because you want to be known as having the product? Because you need it to be competitive?
Lots of people live without stuff. In fact, some people who live the longest, healthiest lives keep fewer things and do not embrace new technologies. Even considering overall happiness, and not length of life or health, the wealthy are not the most happy. In fact rural sociology studies have shown that primitive groups and societies that have thwarted technology are the most durably happy.
Technology is chocolate poison; too tempting in the short term to realize the long-term effects. The capitalist-technologist agenda in one that is self-supporting and exponentially detrimental to human happiness and quality of life.