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Technology, Society and Inequality

New Horizons and Contested Futures

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Erika Cudworth, Peter Senker and Kathy Walker

Over the last 250 years, the global capitalist system has been responsible for rapid economic growth and technological change. The consequent increase in production of an ever-changing and expanding range of products and services has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and deprivation.
This book suggests, however, that the primary purpose of current production and distribution is not to satisfy human needs but to create profit for the owners of capital that in turn has devastating consequences for the environment and for vulnerable people.
Multidisciplinary in perspective, contributors to this volume addresses issues of inequality which affect both developed and developing countries. While they are concerned with the framework of income distribution they also explore the wider dynamics of capitalist systems of production and consumption and examine the dimensions of inequality from both an economic and socio/cultural perspective.
The book has three key themes: relations between technologies, inequalities and exploitation; issues surrounding technologies and development; and the nature of technologies and their associated opportunities in the face of the future. That future is contested, and in the present context of persistent inequalities, a debate about where we might be going and how we might get there is crucial. This book makes a trenchant and challenging contribution to this debate.
Contents: Alvaro de Miranda: Technology and the Individualization of Consumption: The Development of Personal Computing – Richard Sharpe: The ICT Value Chain: Perpetuating Inequalities – Erika Cudworth: Climate Change, Industrial Animal Agriculture and Complex Inequalities: Developments in the Politics of Food Insecurity – Miriam Mukasa: The Cultural Implications of the Consumption of ICTs for Development – Peter Senker: Health Care Systems, Technology and Inequality – Allyson Malatesta: Elearning or E(l)earning: Contemporary Developments in the Commodification and Consumption of Education – Peter Senker: Arable Agriculture, Food, Technology Choice and Inequality – Kathy Walker: Invisible Medium, Virtual Commodity: Changing Perspectives on the Radio Spectrum: From Public Good to Private Gain? – Charlotte Chadderton: Secondary Schools Under Surveillance: Young People ‘As’ Risk in the UK. An Exploration of the Neoliberal Shift from Compassion to Repression – Maxine Newlands: Reclaiming the Media: Technology, Tactics and Subversion – Erika Cudworth/Peter Senker/Kathy Walker: Conclusions: New Horizons and Contested Futures.