Corporate technology involves many ‘technofixes’: from nuclear power to synthetic biology; from genetic engineering to mass surveillance; from electronics to reproductive technologies; from weaponry to chemical agriculture; from mass data collection to assembly line machines; from transport systems to the internet; from mobile phone technology to factory farming. from ID cards to bioenergy; from social networking technologies to robotics.

Technologies are often seen as providing solutions to social and environmental problems, as well as enabling people to do things that were not previously possible, thereby extending the human experience. Corporations promote the role of technologies in the illusion of continued social 'progress' and in so doing continue to gain from the development of technologies on a massive scale. The corporate development of technologies serves a variety of purposes, such as: enabling capital to reproduce and reinvent itself through new product markets; furthering the mechanisation of work, thereby creating more unemployment and work insecurity; social control through surveillance technologies; and creating distractions from key social and political questions by promoting the latest gadgets.

Technological innovation may not be entirely negative and politically problematic, with things such as bicycles, health care and contraceptive technologies, and renewable energy devices bringing positive changes to society. However, real solutions to social and environmental problems will only come about through addressing the political and social causes of those problems, not just through the application of technologies however useful some of them may be. In fact, many of the key problems global society faces today, such as pollution, social alienation and climate change, stem from the industrial system and its associated technologies. One of the main driving forces for capitalist 'modernisation' is technological development.  Read more...

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