When we look back to the mid 1930s, we’ll see that the US was facing a very difficult time. After the gigantic losses on the New York Stock Markets, the economy was on its way to an all time low. The unemployment rates were astronomically high, leading to even worse conditions.
‘But why did this happen?’, we may wonder. Well, there is a very simple answer to that question. Just before the economical downfall, many people worked on the land, in the agraric sectors. But technology had, as it always has, a cheaper answer to the quest for lower costs. Many people were replaced by machines, making the land-owner able to provide the same amount of products with fewer workers on the land. This lead to the gigantically high unemployment rates, which on its turn lead to an extremely high amount of overproduction (after all, people with no jobs could hardly spend much money on primary and secondary needs, let alone tertiary needs). This had a great impact on society back then. Because of the great poverty, people had to change their lives. And so many people did, leading to a different kind of society, with different kinds of relations. However, not only then, but also nowadays technology has its impact on society.
At present many countries in the world face a hard economic time. With large gaps in the consumers confidence in the United States and Europe the short-term prospect does not look very colorful. This, evidently, changes the way society works. Especially when one considers that we currently live in a consumer society, and when consumers lack faith, so does society. But how did we come to live in a consumers society? Let’s look back a while.
After World War II, there began to evolve a large need for machines that make life easier. Cars, airplanes, household-machines (such as vacuum cleaners, ovens, microwaves), televisions, you name it and it was produced. It began to become a hype, to always have better material possesions than the people in society around you. Having the maniest, newest material possesions stated that you were wealthy. And wealthyness made people respect you. And even today, when we look at cars, cellular phones and computers we still want the best to make an impression on the people around us.
If this advancement in technology hadn’t been here society would simply have looked completely different. We would not have tried to squeeze out every cent of our incomes to pay for a vacation trip that is better and longer than last years. We would not massively have ran to our banks for even larger loanes, for which we ‘only’ have to pay 11% interest, in order to buy that all-important house on Martha’s Vineyard. If we would not have been so hungry for wealth there wouldn’t be so many poor people existent as today. In the US alone, over 17 per cent of the population lives life below the poverty line. And why? Because they didn’t realize that when they lost their jobs they wouldn’t be able to pay for their huge debts they had from their loanes. By the way, would it be a coinsidence that the US contributes the most to the technology sector, and also has the largest consumers society in the world?
Surely, we realize these facts, but still we remain in the same pattern, seeking life happiness in material possesions. This pattern is all caused by the technology sector, making people want more than they can have. It has shaped our society into a consumers society.