Technology And History Essay

1680 words - 7 pages

"Do Machines Make History", by Robert Heilbroner, the author gives many examples on why and how technology brings about socioeconomic order of society. Though it may seem that technology may bring about other changes in society, the article is focused on how technology affects labor forces, organization of labor, order in technological advancements, technological determinism, and as well as reasoning why his idea about why history makes technology is valid. However, with all this strong points the author makes, I am able to somewhat agree on his ideas about how technology brings about socioeconomic order.Heilbroner begins by stating, "The level of technology has a direct bearing on the human drama" (pg. 7). When he says level of technology, he means that level it has advanced since the beginning of time has a correlation with human relations. As technology becomes more advanced, the affect on human relations increase accordingly. Heilbroner does not focus on the various technological advances that have affected history, "There are a number of important ways in which machines make history that will not concern us here...technological order" (pg. 7). Heilbroner does feel that warfare technology did affect the history of politics, as well as television and the radio affecting political behavior.Heilbroner article is strictly about the "concerns the effect of technology in determining the nature of socioeconomic order" (pg. 7). Heilbroner refers back to the quote at the beginning of the article as a thesis statement for his article, "The hand mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam mill, society with the industrial capitalist" (pg. 7). Heilbroner feels that technology advances in steps, there has to be some sort of progress from going from the hand mill to the steam mill. One cannot have the steam mill without having the hand mill," that the steam mill follows the hand mill not by chance but because it is the next 'stage' in technical conquest of nature that follows one and only one grand avenue of advance" (pg. 8). He makes a strong claim that such feat is "impossible" to advance in a form of technology without having the previous form. Heilbroner also makes the notion that some societies might not be interested in advancing in technology or setting up societies with different socioeconomic order.Furthermore, Heilbroner gives more reason to why technology advancements have order within them. The Simultaneity of Invention theory is important, stating, "Discovery takes place along a well-defined frontier of knowledge, rather than in grab-bag fashion" (pg. 8). Invention occurs when previous technology is used to innovate current technology. This idea shows that technological evolution has order instead of being random. The absence of leaps in technology also shows that there is order to how technology and machines are created in history. Heilbroner compares technological advancements to natural evolution. "If nature makes no sudden...

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