Politics – Technology enables and even promotes changes in every aspect of our lives. Through the years it has changed what and how we eat (the microwave), how and where we work (the internet), how we are entertained, and even how we keep in touch with friends and family. And though many people may notice these types of quick advances of technology, many may not notice how technological advances have tied into changes in politics and the way they have been run. •The power of mass images has really become a major influence on politics as a product of a increasing technology. In the 1960’s, images of wealth in the west eventually exposed the weakness of the communist regime running the old Soviet bloc. There is the story Nikita Khrushchev narrating a film of Harlem in the 1960’s to demonstrate poverty in America.
Instead, his poor, struggling citizens focused on the nylons hanging on backyard clothes lines and the number of fine autos in the street, and saw wealth rather than poverty. Today, the pictures from Iran appear in graphic detail on our televisions. The power of the mass media has made it more difficult for the state to wall off the outside world. •The television has been used to promote politics through commercial advertisement since the Dwight D. Eisenhower campaign in 1952. That was over 50 years ago. It has been used to broadcast presidential debates since the Kennedy vs Nixon Great Debate in 1960 which was exactly 50 years ago. However, nothing is like the way the television is used today.
•The most recent Presidential campaign, in 2008, showed how fundraising is being impacted. President Obama raised a record breaking 600 million dollars in contributions during his run up to the election. Of that 600 that Obama received, 500 million came from the internet and through public financing through the internet. He ran as fierce an internet campaign as he did his television and radio campaigns. Later the same young people who followed Obama’s every move online, turned out to vote. •Is technology damaging politics?
•For example, you can argue that because there are dozens of news channels. Campaigns are now much more media run. The media decides what is news worthy (which as of the past few years has been whatever gets ratings), interprets the meaning of events for its viewers, and manipulates the decision making process of its viewers. •Can technology be damaging to political candidates themselves? •Political videos of nearly every 2008 presidential candidates can be found on YouTube. In many of the posted videos, candidates are engaged in old speeches, contradicting their current political positions. •Also, since the election, the internet seems to have gone from President Obama’s best friend, to his greatest political enemy. Some of the most controversial legislation in US history is being introduced and posted online for all Americans to see, online commentators who once supported Obama are continuously pointing out unfilled promises.
Economy and Social Relations – Technological progress is the key to offering future populations the potential for improved standards of living. Technical change enables firms to combine inputs in a novel manner to produce existing products more cheaply and to develop new products to meet consumer needs. Economists and other social scientists pretty much agree that technological change is the most important contributor to economic growth in the modern era and it is estimated that more than half of the country’s long-run growth is can be attributed to technological change. •A prime example of technology based increases in productivity comes from the field of agriculture.
Until at least the 17th century, about 90% of the population was directly involved in agriculture. In the United States, the farm population was 44% of the total population as recently as 1880. Currently, the U.S. farm population is about 2% of the total population. But over that same period, total production from farms has more than doubled. The increase in productivity is correlated with several technological innovations in the field of farming. The innovations include the widespread use of farm chemicals (fertilizers, pesticides), and farming equipment. Thus, the tremendous increase in farm productivity is seen as a direct result of the technological advances that were made in the field. •Technological change in production processes like that often reduces the amount of labor and other resources needed to produce a unit of output. This is good on one hand because it reduces the cost of production for products but on the other, it also results in a loss of jobs in the short-run.
The long-run is a different story though. By reducing the cost of production you thereby are lowering the price of a particular good in a competitive market, which then frequently leads to a greater demand for that good. And a greater output demand results in increased production, which requires more labor, and offsets the effects of losing jobs in the short-run. •Along with production technology, constant improvements of transportation and communications technologies have also had major impacts on today’s economy. Previously, physical and human resources moved around the world by means of land, sea, and air transportation. Now, with data serving as a basic resource and digital communications the means of transport, financial capital is moving throughout the world at nearly the speed of light. •How has technology negatively affected the economy?
•One challenge that technology has brought about to the new global economy comes from the new wave of outsourcing. As a concept it’s not new. Companies have chased cheap labor around the globe for decades, making cars in Mexico, plastic toys in Taiwan and shirts in Malaysia. But in the past couple of years, the debate over outsourcing has intensified as technology companies reduce costs by sending technical support, software development, quality assurance and other functions offshore. A few years ago this idea would have been impossible. The world mostly turned to its technology leaders, companies such as Microsoft Corp. for example, when it needed software. But with the growth of broadband Internet connections and e-mail, technical support staff and software developers can respond to questions with the same speed in Bangalore, India, as they do in Bellevue. And they can do it at a fraction of the cost.
•Of course this comes at the expense of not only lower class and low skilled workers in the U.S., but even in the middle classes, there are plenty of jobs that are now outsourced.. Again, inability to find work means inability to purchase homes, spend money, and profit companies. When people don’t buy, corporations that produce things don’t make money, which can thus “trickle down” to fewer jobs available and a greater desire to outsource to make things more cheaply so they will be more attractive to consumers. •Those supporting outsourcing say that lowering expenses of corporations will create jobs. There are plenty of government agencies that outsource some of their work, saving them millions of dollars, a direct effect on the US economy and on federal spending.
A common theory contends that being able to pay people lower wages for work means that companies will be able to produce things with less expense and transfer this saving to consumers. Lower prices may mean more consumer spending, and companies will be able to hire more workers in the US because they’re paying less for workers outside of it. •Further, many argue that giving jobs to workers in less developed countries improves those countries economically and increases trade for US products. It also increases a country’s ability to pay back debts to the US, and may promote better political relationships. Companies economically benefit by selling their products in other countries. This means they can hire more people in the US and lower their prices on products for US consumers.
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