In the first chapter of Neil Postman’s Technopoly he gives a background into what he means behind the term. The first chapter contains a story called The Judgement of Thamus found in Plato’s Phaedrus. Thamus is a king of a great city in Upper Egypt and entertains the god Theuth, who is an inventor. Theuth invents many things including writing, he presents his inventions to Thamus because he wants them to be available for use to all Egyptians. Thamus listens to Theuth explaining his approval and disapproval of all the inventions, when Theuth gets to writing he says “it is a great accomplishment that will improve the memory and wisdom of the people”. On this Thamus disagrees he believed that writing would do more harm then good to the Egyptian people. He says that people would become forgetful relying on writing to remember things, they would receive information without proper instruction and it would create false knowledge. Overall the use of writing would be a burden to the society and nothing but that. Postman argues that Thamus although he does make valid points is not completely right on the matter, he failed to see what benefits writing could bring. According to Postman every technology has its blessings and burdens, but after a new technology is introduced the world and society surrounding is forever changed whether people realize what’s happening or not. This is what Postman calls “Technopoly”
After reading Postman’s first chapter I have to admit my opinions about technology were deeply changed. I began to see how much technology controls nearly everything having to do with an individual even down to judging a person’s progress in learning by giving grades. Basically technology has become a necessity in a world where people seemed to function just fine before certain things became available for their personal use. Television and the computer have influenced how people live there lives down to what they wear, what they eat, how they express their emotions and even how they make their money. Technology has become one of the largest money making industries in the world and continued growth will make all old technology obsolete. Soon the things that we view as familiar and real will change as time moves forward, every new generation will see the world differently depending on how technology shapes the future.
Watching the film The Corporation in class I was honestly disturbed by what I saw. The purpose of a corporation was defined as a way of devouring profit at any cost. By the words “any cost” the film showed corporations exploiting desperate people for ridiculously low wages that in no way reflect the work they had done or even supported their families and when the cost to employ gets to high they move on. The corporations were originally meant to serve the people but instead they sacrifice their morals to protect the interests of their investors. Probably the most appalling thing that was explained in the film was that corporations use the 14th amendment claiming to be a person that by law can not be denied life and liberty. The corporations claim to be a person behind the law but act like leeches feeding off people to make their profits.
There are many similarities between the film The Corporation and Neil Postman’s Technopoly. It seems that they are alike in the fact that they go hand in hand. With advancements in technology, materials related to or sold by technology will need to be mass produced to be dispersed to customers who “need” them . This production will take place outside the United States in countries where corporations that are paid to mass produce products then they will pay workers less than a fraction of their earnings they receive in exchange for low wage labor. In other words the issues of new technology changing society and corporations doing anything for profit are the same because either way new technology will become available then money will be exchanged to gather the materials needed and whatever knowledge is published is what people will take as the truth.