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Technology Can Change Social Relationships

Lauren A. Gonder
Athens State University
Culture and Globalization, Dr. Malcolm Cort
Technology Can Change Social Relationships
Globalization is word used to explain how countries from different nations come together as one global economy. Technology is a science or knowledge put into practical use to solve problems or invent useful tools. The inventions of early times are what forced change throughout, even when it was avoided. For centuries, farmers resisted technological change in their crops, regardless of the promise of higher yields. When the leaders of nations forced the new technologies for crops, it led to ecological disasters, famine, and national bankruptcy. It seems some resistance is not always in vain. Although, technological change can be avoided, it cannot be inhibited for long.

Between 1600 and 1868, Tokugawa Shogunate ruled Japan and coalesced the rejection of technology concerning firearms CITATION Way l 1033 (Massey, 2016). In 1543, firearms, including guns and cannons, and landmines were introduced during a long-time power struggle between the warlords of 1490 to 1600. Tokugawa was able to regain dominance over the other warlords without the use of any kind of firearm by using the quote, “efficient weapons tend to overshadow men who use them.” The civilians were the first to lose their guns under the statute of Buddha CITATION Way l 1033 (Massey, 2016). The new government gained control to regulate the production and manufacturing of firearms, including ceasing all ordering for the army. This eliminated the firearm market altogether.

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The Tokugawa Shogunate ruled peaceably for over 200 years and shut down foreign trade and visitors until the 19th century. In 1854, Commodore Perry attacked Japan, which reinstated foreign trade and began manufacturing firearms and cannons CITATION Way l 1033 (Massey, 2016). By 1900, Japan was heavily armed and very much capable of protecting itself from hostile nations. Usually dominant nations are not proficient to effectively reject and undermine popular and successful technologies. Japan is a series of islands that can easily be defended without the use of firearms. This is part of the reason how Japan did not need to depend on the firearms. Also, the Tokugawa had a small but powerful group of families who supported the decision to abolish firearms. There is a cultural significance and respect in using a sword, as well as archery and horsemanship.

Eli Whitney’s patent on the cotton gin was approved on March 14, 1793. The United States had been the main supplier, over three-quarters of the globe, of the cotton supply CITATION Bom17 l 1033 (Bomboy, 2017). In addition to the cotton gin, slavery was a main component of the cotton business. Cotton grew very well in the Southern states, which is where slavery was most predominant. The cotton gin worked in a way to separate the sticky seeds from the fibers, this had been proved to be a difficult process without the machine. Although the cotton gin improved the separation by a factor of 50, it was still necessary for the cotton to be picked my hand CITATION Bom17 l 1033 (Bomboy, 2017). Whitney’s invention not only sparked an increase in the South’s cotton production, but it also promoted the associated expansion of racial slavery throughout the region. The expansion of cotton throughout the South would not have happened without the concurrent development of industrial plants able to process the cotton and the emergence of widespread consumer demand. During the first cotton surge, the slave population in the South expanded to 4 million people, leaving slave owners with a sufficient population to maintain a workforce as the children of slaves were born into slavery CITATION Bom17 l 1033 (Bomboy, 2017) In 1807, Congress passed an act to make the slave importation ban official, which some say began the dividing of the North and South.

Technology has contributed to the growth of industries or to the process of industrialization. The process of industrialization has affected the nature, character, and the growth of the economy for centuries. The once known agricultural economy is now known as the industrial economy. The dangerous effect of technology is evident through modern warfare. The Tokugawa Shogunate empire could only hold off modern technology for so long. These modern inventions have also strengthened nationalism and the modern governments which rule through the bureaucracy have further impersonalized the human relations. Social movements are an example of collective behavior, which involves collective action. Whether it’s social networking bringing us all together or the inventions from the past that changed the course of history, technology does change social relationships.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Bomboy, S. (2017, March 14). The cotton gin: A game-changing social and economic invention. Retrieved from
Massey, G. (2016). Change, Ways of Social: Making Sense of Modern Times. SAGE Publications, Inc.


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