Since the ancient times, it is visible that there is always a gap between societies that often divides them into two or more distinct groups. There are countries that have more political and economic capability than other countries, while there are countries that are better in social stability. In terms of people, they are mostly divided through their financial capability, educational attainment and upbringing, which would then determine as to whether or not they can keep up with the modern world. As far as technology is concerned, people are yet again divided over their capacity to know and afford these technologies, utilizing them into their optimal advantage. With the technological market expanding under the hands of private groups and corporations, it is a question as to whether or not this expansion’s capability to trigger a technological divide is really necessary. The technological divide caused by global capitalist expansion is a necessary evil because even if it entails dangers and the inclusion to the global economy; it would trigger innovation, awareness and development within the public and its industries to eliminate the technological divide.
Capitalism or capitalist economies are an economic system of generalized commodity production that is owned privately and its flow determined by the market forces of supply and demand. There is a corresponding value for a commodity – may it be a good or a service- and its distribution and production is determined by private institutions. Capitalism began in the 16th and 17th century as it provided pressures for societies to improve their technological capability in order to improve productivity and economic competence. The onset of capitalism in the period provided the necessary elements to push scientific innovations to be applied to various industries such as in agriculture and textile. By the 18th century, capitalism reorganized the economic capabilities of the Western nations and allowed the establishment of new factories and communities to sustain the market. Since then, capitalism has expanded rapidly not just in the Western world but also in the Eastern world, evolving capitalism into three versions: enterprise capitalism, social capitalism and collective capitalism. Enterprise capitalism, which is prominent in the United States and the United Kingdom, argues that the market is self-regulatory and businesses under such system are profit-driven. Social capitalism, on the other hand, is prominent in Central and Western Europe, establishing an economy that operates under a society that has effective welfare systems and public services. Finally, collective capitalism, which is prominent in the Asian region, promotes long-term relationships and are affected by relational markets improving the stability of businesses and firms in exchange for loyalty and improve their standing .
Considering how capitalism has engrained itself within the economies around the globe since the 16th century, many perceive that the technological divide it entails can be seen both as a necessary evil, and a means to monopolize the technological market. On the one hand, the technological divide caused by the capitalist expansion is not a necessary evil because it only acts as a burden for states that can develop means to narrow the gap without needing the aid of the capitalists. In the 2012 study of Pew Research regarding the world economy, many find capitalism to be a huge burden to many countries because of the fact it restricts the economy to select programs or products they believe can bridge the divide established by capitalism on technological progress and other factors. Countries such as such as Italy (23%) and Spain (20%) believe that it is essential to open a freer market because it would take into consideration all of the factors that would permit market competition between all actors – may they be public or private corporations . Aside from the desire of a freer market, the technological divide is also can actually be augmented through socialist economies due to its approach to innovation. Many perceive that technological innovation can be received only through capitalism; however, this is not true because innovation and narrowing the gap of technologically capable countries can be further developed through other methods. Socialist economies presents to the people that technology had been possible because of artisans and skilled workers, especially by the government which has supported these actors. Without such aid from the state, ideas cannot be freely exchanged due to the control of private groups over these projects and removes accountability. In socialist economies, the state can ensure that technology is freely developed and would take into account the position of all actors to bridge the gap already present on technological capability. Utilizing the socialist perspective in technological advancement also surpasses capitalism as it ensures that the public would not gain huge consequences over their projects, improving the quality of technology that would benefit all sectors .
Keeping up with the technological divide caused by global capitalist expansion is also a burden for many low-income countries rather than seeing it a necessary evil to entice development. In the 2008 assessment of the International Monetary Fund, developing countries – from low-income to upper-middle income countries have utilized their capacity to invest on technological improvements as compared to high income countries since the 1990s. At least 160% change in technological progress has been reported on low-income countries when it comes to their technological capability, narrowing the gap of their technological capabilities with the richer nations. However, while these low income countries have high rates in technological progress, they do not have the capacity to use these technologies to their 100% advantage as compared to high income countries. These countries can only utilize 1/4th of the technology, leaving only a few of its population able to utilize or possess these technologies. Low-income countries are also burdened by the technological divide they would need to narrow down because they are expected to establish new scientific innovations that high income countries can establish 100%. With these numbers in mind, these low-income countries would be burdened further as they would need to come up with means to get these technologies to penetrate society and keep up with the still growing expansion of the capitalists within the technological market .
On the other hand; however, while there are indeed societies that showcase that the capitalist expansion’s technological divide can be augmented, the technological divide is a necessary evil. First and foremost, the capitalist expansion triggers a technological divide in order to push local private enterprises and actors to exploit their capabilities in the world market in order to learn new techniques that would benefit their local technological competence. As they introduce their innovations or capabilities to the world market, they could then gain new ideas or strategies that would help their local market to become interested with these innovations. Firms would then utilize their wealth or income from the foreign market to transform their current firms to match the need for their innovations in order to get a technology-based competitive advantage. Although it would mean that they would sell their rights towards these innovations overseas, the knowledge and development of their innovations within the world market would then be the key to introduce an effective technological program for the nation that would remove the technological divide caused by their inclusion to the global capitalist economy. Local private corporations could also enter in technological collaborations within the world market to develop technical knowledge and products that would be applicable to all types of societies. These collaborations can even be amongst firms within the country, therefore, improving the economy and revising the technological capability of the nation .
The technological gap presented by global capitalist expansion also triggers innovations within the country experiencing a technological divide in order to open new economic and technological opportunities for the people to learn about these technologies. It is not very often to see people unaware of the inner workings of technologies especially in this day and age. The private sector within the technological market of any nation currently has the capacity to diversify their technological offerings to match the local and global needs. Utilizing mass media to introduce their economies, they also utilize freehand demonstration in their shops to introduce the technology. Some even offer job opportunities for the public to collaborate with these companies to create these technologies and train them as to the function and advantage these technologies would possess. For example, multinational firms and private companies open jobs around the globe for their subsidiary companies to work on distribution, processing and development of materials. The workers would then have the experience to take part in the production process and understand how these technologies would improve their competence and development. Aside from this, the capitalist expansion that triggers the technological divide would spur local economies to invest on technology to create new sectors and production. With this in mind, it opens competition between small, medium and large enterprises to present technology to the public that they can afford and use in any given instance.
Finally, the global capitalist expansion’s technological divide opens the minds of the public towards the importance of these technologies and their capability to improve life despite the possible impacts it can have to the people. Technology has long been associated with development and progress as technology aids in various economic activities such as production and manufacturing. Productivity is greatly improved by technological progress, especially in agriculture as it enables farmers to produce in huge quantities to sustain growth. However, many become apprehensive over these technologies – creating the already present technological divide – as they believe in traditional methods of production, manufacturing and distribution. Regardless of this, capitalism is perceived to introduce technological innovation and progress within society despite its capacity to have detrimental impacts. Some technological breakthroughs, such as weaponry and chemicals, have the capacity to kill or present danger to the people. Capitalists can even utilize cheaper materials that can endanger the consumer in order to offer the goods cheaper. Nonetheless, it is undeniable that, through the private corporations and enterprises expanding their control within the technological market, people become aware of other means to do their everyday activities more efficiently as compared to traditional methods. Some technological breakthroughs are even designed to target a specific populations and skills. Although these consumers would need to pay huge amounts to acquire these technologies, many would comment that it reduces the time they would need to do the activity and do more activities within their time. In this end, they can now reduce the technological divide they have with other countries without difficulty .
It is undeniable that technology plays a key role in the development of society and without technology, it is very difficult to compete within the modern world as it continues to change. Technology has also provided means to improve the life of people; however, it is observed that there is a divide between countries over their control over these technological breakthroughs. With capitalism continuously expanding and triggering a technological divide, it can be perceived as both a burden and a necessary evil. It is a burden because it causes low income countries to have limited options on which technologies they can support due to the growth of private control over these technologies. Aside from this, states can even opt to use socialist economies or freer markets to narrow the technological divide as they too can entice technological prowess. However, with capitalism more prominent in many nations due to the onset of globalization and growing demand for technology, the technological divide is a necessity because innovation would need to match the need and value of the commodity in order to improve the nation’s technological capability. The continuous expansion of capitalism also ensures that the technological divide triggers the mindset of the public and innovators to accept the possible setbacks posed by investing in these technologies as it would be a worthy investment in the long-run while reducing the gap and joining the global market.
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