Technology is the application of knowledge as the main tool in order to solve a problem. Technology has had a very big impact in the development of the world in various areas. These include; construction, medical and information fields. (Goyder, 2004)
International division of labor is as a result of globalization. It occurs when process of production is no longer confined to national economies. This has led to global industrial shifts whereby production processes are relocated from the developed countries to developing countries. This is so as companies are searching for the cheapest options for the manufacture and assembly of their products.(Yuning, 2001)
Advances in IT have brought about a very big impact in the way occupations change in developing countries. The advances in technology have made the international division of labor increase to a great deal in developing countries.
There are several theories which have been put forward to show how the technological advancements have impacted the International Division of labor.
Technological determinism is a theory which makes the presumption that technology is the key driving force towards a country’s development in terms of social structure and cultural values. The term was invented by an American Sociologist, Thorsten Veblen. Different countries in the world have had different approaches to technology and technology has impacted them in different ways. Technology has played a very important role towards the development of different countries of the world. Social structures and cultural values is greatly affected by technology. Countries in which technology has infiltrated, have their social structures changed whereas countries which do not have any form of technological advancement usually stay clinging to their traditional social structures and cultural values. African countries or developing countries for instance, do have a traditional type of lifestyle due to the low levels of technological advancements in these countries. Most western countries try to employ the principles of the international division of labor to these countries. This enables them to get cheap labor and an overall cheap cost of production to their goods. (Croteau, 2003). With the advent of Technological determinism, there are many jobs which have been lost in the developing countries. This has been attributed to the fact that whenever machinery is incorporated into a certain field, less human labor will be required as a single machine can perform work which could have been done by several people.
The loss of jobs retards development in the affected countries. In China for Instance where this has been implemented many people lost their jobs and to the population that was retained had to change their methods of production to IT based methods.
Social Constructivism is a sociological theory which takes into account how social phenomena develop in social contexts. An object can be said to socially constructed because of its dependence on contingent variables of our social selves rather than any inherent quality which it may posses in itself. (Deissler, 2000). There are things which cannot exist in the absence of others. Several methods of production cannot be run in isolation. They have to depend on the completion of another process before they can execute. The advances in IT has changed the type of occupation in countries where operations were done manually with the assistance of other employees. A single machine can perform the task therefore removing the problem of Social construction of a process. In China Social Constructivism is being rolled out day by day and being replaced with more advanced technologies.
Technology can be seen as neutral while in some cases it is not. Some scholars argue that in technology, what counts is not the technology itself but the way in which we may choose to use technology.. In real sense the importance or the impact of technology in any society is totally dependent on the way people may decide to use the technology. (Croteau, 2003). China employs the use of technology is several manufacturing processes which has completely changed the type of labor force in China. The implementation of technology has made them switch off from the traditional forms of production to the modern forms of production which are efficient, accurate and fast.
McLuhan's 4 Laws of Media are; Enhance, Reverse, Retrieve, Obsolesce. McLuhan insisted that the four things happened simultaneously. He added by saying that “We Shape our tools and therefore our tools shape us.” (Federman, 2003). This theory is very important especially in the developing countries. The equipments which are used are designed by man. Their mode of operations is always preset. In China there are several machines which are used in order to make work easier. The use of such machines has completely changed the country’s labor force as most of the operations are done through the use of machines. The country’s employed population is majorly constituted by people with technical knowledge.
Technology as fate is a theory which is mainly found in the developed countries. These countries rely so much on technology that technology is regarded as their main economic activity. The International Division of Labor which has seen many countries involved in manufacturing outsource their manufacturing processes to different countries has had a great achievement especially in countries where technology was not exploited initially. Many countries have as a result of this, employed the use of technology in their operations as a result of the international division of labor. (Sanderson, 2001). Developing countries have also started implementing technology as a fate theory. They have started to rely so much in technology for the success of their production.
Tectonic stresses are a theory that explains the global distribution of geological phenomena related to natural activities taking place in the earth’s interior. It may include; volcanic activities, continental drift and mountain building. It can also be used to refer to the dynamics of plate movements. This theory is very important as it explains why different earth’s surfaces have different structures. The distribution of the earth’s industries and manufacturing firms are greatly influenced by the topography and the geological structures. The geology of a certain place can determine whether an industry can be built there or not. This is due to the availability if some form of raw materials due to the movements of tectonic plates which may expose some minerals to the earth’s surface thus making it easy for them to be obtained. The tectonic stress can also have a negative impact in the distribution of industries thus being an impediment to the international division of labor. This can result from constant tectonic movements which can make a place unsuitable for the establishment of any industry due to dangers that it may pose to humans. The mines in China are being exploited due to the exposure of rocks to the earths surface.
Synchronous failure is another theory which is a symptom of a complex and interconnected global economy. In International division of labor, the interconnection coming out as a result of the synchronous failure manufacturing processes have been made easier and developments have been realized in the developing countries. Technology has made this theory advance to greater lengths as with technology, the interconnection is made easier. Instances where technology has been used in relation to this theory include: global e-business where transactions are done online. Acquisition of goods for manufacturing in different parts of the world is made easier through the use of technology. This theory results into increase in connectivity. China for instance has not been participating in the global currency market and is often cited as a stable anchor for the world trade system. This has made it to gain stability with the markets. This can be seen as a hedge on the global markets as a system. (Bainbridge, 2002). This theory has helped a country like China posses close and tighter relations with other countries. This has also changed how they interact with people. This form of exchange in ideologies brings about a complete overhaul of the labor force officers.
The threshold effects in the International division of labor and how technology has impacted this can be divided into two parts namely; general effects and marketing effects. These are manifested in radical changes that occur within a system in a physical perception or conceptual system which has sudden effects. The marketing effects may include the cumulative effects which can be achieved through sustained advertisements. Institutional domains are theories which results into market implications of technological innovations. This theory suggests that the institutional scope which is meant for understanding technological diffusion should be expanded to incorporate organizations manufacturing technological complementary assets and the non market sector. The international division of labor will be employed only when a thorough research has been conducted and its implementation found to be fit for the situation.
Technological diffusion is used to refer to the adoption of new products. Technological diffusion means the change in technology and adapting to a new set of technologies. During the implementation of the international division of labor, technologies are changed so as to conform to the place whereby the new manufacturing or production company is going to be put. Paradigm shifts is a theory which describes a change in the basic assumptions within the ruling theory of science. A paradigm can be regarded as what only members in the scientific community share. The term has also been used in non-scientific contexts to describe profound changes in fundamental model or perception of events. The constant change in technology also results into a corresponding update of data in the computer.
Advances in technology have had several benefits as the methods of production have changed to a large extent. China for instance has seen a set of developments especially in the Information Technology sector which has seen it improve in production and quality of products produced. China however, has not outsourced most of its products to other countries instead countries have outsourced their production to China.
The new developments in technology have broadened the gap that exists between the poor and the rich. In developing countries, the poor are always involved in casual jobs like operating machines while the rich are involved in supervisory jobs. The supervisory jobs usually pay well as compared to the casual jobs which are offered by the poor. The gap is broadened and it is far from being reduced especially as new forms of technologies are introduced. This is made worse by the fact that the poor have little access to training facilities on the new technologies while the rich can easily access the training facilities. This makes it hard for the poor to use the new technologies and leaving it for the rich who in turn use the opportunity to suppress them. (Bordo, 2008)
Impacts to China
China just like any other developing country has a very large labor force. The implementation of IT has led to dramatic changes in the kind of labor force found in China. Initially the country relied on traditional manual workers who were slow and made many mistakes during their working time. When IT was introduced, it became an impediment to development as there were very few people who new how to use computers. This resulted into a waste of time trying to train the staff. However, once the staffs are well acquainted with the basic computer knowledge the rate of job execution will rise.
China has seen a dramatic change in the type of labor force they have in the recent past. Initially the labor force was characterized by manual workers who were slow and inaccurate. Today the labor force is completely computerized and the rate of jobs completed accurately is on the right.
China has really benefited from the use of Technology in the International division of labor. This is due to thee fact that they have trained their personnel to handle the changing modes of technology.
However there are negative impacts of the IT and the International Division of Labor. It results into retrenchment as fewer employees are required. Computers are usually operated by less number of people as compared to the manual system. Overall, the use of IT has more benefits than any other convectional production technique.
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