The essay sample on Technological Advancement Essay dwells on its problems, providing a shortened but comprehensive overview of basic facts and arguments related to it. To read the essay, scroll down.
800 million people go to bed hungry every day. 1 out of 2 children in the world lives in poverty. Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names. For millions of hungry people in Africa’s poorest and worst-hit countries, just staying alive is a daily struggle. For many years, poverty has manifested itself in various forms including the deprivation of the basic necessities like food, clothing and shelter, lack of access to sanitation facilities, low infant mortality rate, low literacy rate and many more.
On the other hand, the turn of the century has seen man’s astronomical progress of technology. Technology has reached its zenith in advancement. It is undeniable that technology can help to resolve the dangling and perplexed issues of the humanity such as relationships. However, it is not completely successful in ironing out the solution to global poverty despite striving constantly to put forward the latest gadgets to tackle this issue. Instead, technology could have make matters worse, causing even more people to trap in the quagmire of poverty. Technology has advanced at the expense of our wealth.
Needless to say, though, it is wrong to state that technological advancement has not improved the plight of the poor. With the invention of machinery such as tractors and harvesters, the labour per unit area in the agricultural sectors reduces and hence, leading to a higher productivity. The increase in productivity could also be seen in commercial fishing whereby expensive equipment such as acoustic sonar is used to detect schools of fish. When the fishermen are able to tell where the fish are, fishing becomes more productive. Thus, the catch increases.
Worsen The Problem
Technological advancement has created new surges of wealth and well-being in developing countries where poverty is typically seen. It has helped in modernizing agriculture, increasing output and creating job opportunities. Therefore, technological advancement has given a beacon of hope to alleviate poverty. However, it is to our disappointment that discovery upon discovery, invention after invention still did not lessen the toil of those who most need relief or bring plenty to the poor. It has increasingly evident that progress has no tendency to reduce poverty and improve the standard of living of the poor.
The actual fact is, poverty, with all its ills, appears whenever progress could be seen. Poverty is, in some way, produced by progress itself and could have been brought about by the advancement of technology. One of the reasons why the poor are unable to get out of the viscous cycle of poverty could be due to colonialism, especially during the period of industrialization in the 1800s. With advancements in technology, the colonial powers have the means to add value to these raw materials by converting them into useful products. These products would then be sold for a higher profit.
For example, cotton could be processed into clothing and sold at a higher price. The colonial powers thus became richer from the sale of these products, allowing them to develop their economies. Therefore, many countries which used to be colonial powers were able to achieve developed countries status quickly. Whereas, development was slow in many colonies. Although the colonial powers developed infrastructure such as roads and railways to facilitate the movement of cash crops, other aspects of development such as education and environmental sustainability were not developed.
As a result, many colonies remain poor compared to the colonial powers. This disparity of development continued to widen as developed countries continue to develop technology and industrialise further, while the former colonies continued to export low-value raw materials from which they gained little profit. Thus, the condition of poverty is depressed even further with technological advancements. Technological advancements also lead to cumulative causation which eventually results in uneven development.
Areas which have better potential to develop will attract investments and labour compared to areas which have less potential to develop. For example, when Singapore began to develop quickly, it attracted workers from periphery countries such as Bangladesh and the Philippines. This results in the periphery countries being drained of labour which hinders their development, leaving the periphery at a disadvantage due to backwash effect. Facing the problem of brain drain, the periphery countries would then spiral into poverty.
Technology has helped to gather international aid in a short period of time and therefore unifies the poor and rich countries. News around the world can be reported and telecast real time and information shared amongst all. This is particular important with major news like the tsunami in 2004 and cyclone Nargis that hit Myanmar. Help was needed immediately to attend to the injured people and getting rid of the debris. Countries that do not have the necessary resources will face difficulty in doing so and hence required foreign aid.
Indeed, foreign aid helps to get these countries out of their predicament quickly. However, the inevitable consequence of poverty is dependence. Developing countries will continue to look to the rich economies for financial help so they could build up their industrial strength and begin competing in the global market place but they end up in debt most often. The loans could never really be repaid mainly due to the fact that the economies of such countries never got off the ground. In this Modern Age, many jobs now require good fundamental technology skills and technology has become a quality of life indicator.
Being technology savvy, people can demand for higher pay, communicate better and faster and save time and money by handling routine tasks online instead of doing it manually. In contrast, people living in poverty whom are still struggling with basic literacy and have differing abilities to manipulate technology will be left further behind as they struggle to grapple with the changing workplace that is increasingly complicated. This may lead to them being left out of the scramble for better paying jobs and promotions.
Mechanization has meant the loss of jobs for unskilled or semi-skilled labour. Small local farmers cannot compete with large scale farming using expensive pesticides and machinery. Poor countries are at a disadvantage when it comes to access to information and communication. Hence they fall behind in efficiency and competitiveness. Technological advancement forced people out of job and catapulted them into poverty. It is wrong to assume that any population in the world is educated enough to absorb the skills needed to manipulate technology once technology becomes available.
In addition, new technology is often too costly that poorer countries could barely afford them. Moreover, they often have underdeveloped infrastructure that is unable to support the operation of sophisticated technology, leading them to unequal access to technology. Technology without necessary infrastructure and skills is nothing other than wastage of resources. It does not help to overcome poverty. Developing countries are not well placed to absorb technologies from abroad and thus lose out. The gulf between the rich and the poor has significantly widened with technological advancements.
Technological advancements cannot be entirely blamed for the plight of the poor. Poverty exists due to various causes and technology may not be relevant in some cases. In all, the use of technology has to be coupled with the appropriate skills and knowledge in order to tap on the potential technology can bring for the economy based on various circumstances. Otherwise, it could be a double-edged sword that may be beneficial to mankind but on the other hand, worsen the condition of poverty instead of eradicating it.