Technology and Cultural Hegemony
Reframing technology as a tool of cultural amplification should not be mistaken as an effort to make technology a completely benign concept. Technologies like the internet, weapons, and transportation have been the primary means for our Global Economic Society to actively impose itself on others. Technology is thus a means for cultural hegemony rather than the originators of hegemony. I often criticize our technological culture as a people that lost sight of its ability to function without technology. Do we blame the existence of the vehicle or the culture that made vehicles a mandatory appliance in our daily lives?
The development of culture in relation to technology can be summarized like this: Generation A develops observations, theories and scientific revelations. Generation B uses these scientific developments on their material culture, giving way to paradigm-shifting inventions; however, the scale of production and accessibility is not enough for mass adoption. Generation C is raised on the slow adoption of these inventions and their integration into the cultural consciousness. Generation D gis raised on the belief that the cultural consciousness is founded upon these inventions, turning a paradigm shift into a daily habit. Generation E, viewing these technologies as just another part of culture, start to ask why some have better access to it, and others don’t; by this generation, the most groundbreaking technologies appear almost like a public utility—people develop policies to institutionalize the technology as a permanent part of the cultural consciousness.
In five generations, earth shattering technologies transform into daily givens. This occurs with each successive generation normalizing a technology into culture, thus a lack of access to these technologies appears like a lack of culture, which is unacceptable for hegemonic societies who want all people to be “cultured”.
It is the cultural spirit of our Global Economic System to view communities as groups of people that just haven’t yet gotten with the program. When those who enact the story of the Global Economic Dream see a group of people that do not use a piece of culturally-ingrained technology, they perceive lacking rather than an alternative mode of living.