The
Philosophy Hammer
Philosophy, Economics, Politics & Psychology Tested with a Hammer

23 Things they Don't Tell You About Capitalism
By: Chang Ha-Joon
Major Topic: Economics
Minor Topic: Politics

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         Thing 4: The Washing Machine Has Changed the World more than the Internet Has

         We are told that modern digital communication (for example: through the internet) have fundamentally changed the way the world works. Modern digital technologies are eliminating the factors of space in that distance is no longer an obstacle. Meaning that the future belongs to those who have access to the internet and its related technologies.

         The truth is that other technologies have had a greater influence on the world than the internet and its technologies. The invention of and setting up of the telegraph made a much bigger change in communications: the telegraph reduced trans-Atlantic communication times from 2 weeks to 2 minutes; the internet has only reduced communication times to 2 seconds. Relatively that is only a minor improvement.

         Modern labor saving devices have probably had enormously greater effects on human life and society than the internet. Consider servants: in the past rich countries had a similar proportion of servants as poor countries but with the invention of the washing machine and other household labor saving devices the proportional number of servants in rich countries went down. Women were freed from domestic chores allowing them to enter the labor market as opposed to being part of the unpaid labor force. These increases in productivity (machines doing women's work and women doing other work) were also coupled with the increased independence of women who had more choices in life. One of the results was a change in family size.

         The internet seems to be a big world changing technology only because we are living through its development. However, economists have not been able to see much difference in productivity gains in spite of all the anecdotal evidence.

         This miss-understanding of the actual effects of the internet have lead to certain beliefs and policies that may be unsuitable for developing countries. It is hard to see how getting internet access can ever be more important than getting clean drinking water.

Added on: 2012-10-05 12:03:33
Text Crawl by: James Jeff McLaren
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