Two Questions

Write your first post: present 2 questions that have arisen from readings and/or discussions in class so far, and reflect on why these may or may not be important to both your personal and academic interests.


In their introduction, Marx and Smith claim that “the advance of technology leads to a situation of inescapable necessity” (p. xii), meaning that a certain technological advancement and its subsequent usage leaves us with well-nigh alternatives but to use that particular technology. There is no going back to the times when we did not have that piece of technology. Is this necessarily true? Are there any examples of us retrograding to a point in time where a piece of technology was not yet developed?

For example, I can think of plenty of things that we cannot live without now that we have the technology and the resources to afford it: air conditioning, dependence on the Internet, vehicles for transportation, electricity, refrigeration, traffic regulations aided by traffic lights, computerization of massive data such as the census (though initially collected in paper – but then paper was also invented through technology), etc.

It is easy to think of those examples in which technology has added more and more inescapable necessities in our lives. Are there any examples in which the technology advancement did not improve our lives or it did but now it is not being used any longer?


About marialarahwang

Doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University.

One response to “Two Questions”

  1. marialarahwang says :

    To comment on my own proposed questions, I do not agree that it is necessarily true that we cannot travel back in technology time and live without something we have been living with for a while.

    This example regards not using calculators in a math classroom. Though when I was growing up there were calculators and they were being used in classrooms in many countries, my classmates and I were not allowed to use calculators at all in the math classrooms. All algebraic operations as well as calculus level calculations and graphing were all done by hand. As a former math teacher I value this experience tremendously and I would require my students not to use calculators in the classrooms and for homework. I believe that more rigorous training in mathematics is not only necessary but also helpful for learners needing the basic and complex mathematical and logical problem solving skills.

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