Technology and History

Essay by lithiumfoxUniversity, Bachelor'sA-, December 2006

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"Do Machines Make History", by Robert Heilbroner, the author gives many examples on why and how technology brings about socioeconomic order of society. Though it may seem that technology may bring about other changes in society, the article is focused on how technology affects labor forces, organization of labor, order in technological advancements, technological determinism, and as well as reasoning why his idea about why history makes technology is valid. However, with all this strong points the author makes, I am able to somewhat agree on his ideas about how technology brings about socioeconomic order.

Heilbroner begins by stating, "The level of technology has a direct bearing on the human drama" (pg. 7). When he says level of technology, he means that level it has advanced since the beginning of time has a correlation with human relations. As technology becomes more advanced, the affect on human relations increase accordingly.

Heilbroner does not focus on the various technological advances that have affected history, "There are a number of important ways in which machines make history that will not concern us here...technological order" (pg. 7). Heilbroner does feel that warfare technology did affect the history of politics, as well as television and the radio affecting political behavior.

Heilbroner article is strictly about the "concerns the effect of technology in determining the nature of socioeconomic order" (pg. 7). Heilbroner refers back to the quote at the beginning of the article as a thesis statement for his article, "The hand mill gives you society with the feudal lord; the steam mill, society with the industrial capitalist" (pg. 7). Heilbroner feels that technology advances in steps, there has to be some sort of progress from going from the hand mill to the steam mill. One cannot have the steam mill without having the hand...