Assess the extent to which technological Innovation has unforesen social, economic and environmental costs

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Assess the extent to which technological Innovation has unforeseen social, economic and environmental costs


Intro: Define Tech, Externalities & use Kranzbergs first law

Cars: Leakage-eco, Co2-enviro, and carbon particulates-soc (health)

GeneR: Monsanta example, cross-pollination, social polarisation

GreenR: poisonings from consumption, ecological problems- eutrophication

Mobiles: take business away from companies, health issues? Built in obsolescence

Technology is the development of physical equipment, their processes, skills and knowledge to make effective use these advancements. However the innovation of new technology comes with its disadvantages. Externalities are the costs or benefits that a use of a technology creates for a third party. Consequently, due to the mix of costs and benefits, the philanthropist- Kranzberg famously said: “Technology is neither good nor bad, nor it is neutral.” The externalities that I will pay the most emphasis on, are the negative unforeseen consequences of technological innovation. With the exponential growth of the population and the demand for technology becoming greater by the day, we are now dependent on technology. However social factors such as health issues, economic factors such as the costs of fuel alternatives and environmental costs of a decrease in biodiversity make technological innovation a controversial subject.

Technological innovation was sparked by the industrial revolution, and we are still reliant on the same fossil fuels today. Due to incomplete combustion of the fuel, carbon particulates are released into the air. This is seen in not only the production of technology, but in transport too. Despite more cars becoming more fuel efficient, 99.99% of all cars (1.2bn worldwide) run on fossil fuels. Although some cars have catalytic converters, carbon particulates are released in the older cars. When consumed these particles can cause serious health issues such as asthma and in some cases lung disease. Serious health problems that can sometimes lead to fatalities. The automotive industry is worth over $1.6 trillion, and provides 7.25 million jobs. It has few economic costs, but due to the rise of TNC’s leakage occurs at an astonishing rate. With Audi, Germany, Ford and Mercedes outsourcing in Mexico. Mexico receives on average 0.67% of profits from those 4 companies. The leakage benefits the economy of the source country, damages the environment of the host country and its economy. Due to the fact that fossil fuels are a finite resource companies have started to find different fuel alternatives. However these are very expensive therefore damaging the company’s economic state, whereas its aim is to increase its shareholder value. Due to almost 100% of cars using fossil fuels, they release 4.4bn tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year accelerating the enhanced greenhouse effect. As not only does this push us closer to the tipping point, but it also is absorbed by water, making it acidic threatening marine life. Overall the development of technology in the automotive industry generally benefits the economy, and with more and more cars implementing tech to produce less particulates there will be less breathing problems. However the environmental cost is huge, with the vast amounts of C02 emitted each year, the worlds climate is becoming unstable.
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The Gene Revolution has lead to the development of genetically modified (GM) crops. This has increased yields of the crop, makes them more resistant to tough climates and can make them more nutritious. Making the crops more resistant to extreme conditions makes people dependent on these plants. However as they are more expensive to source, there has been the socio-economic impact of social polarisation- this is where the divide between the rich and the poor becomes more apparent. This is because the poorer farmers get less business, as they don’t have the GM crop to sell on, furthermore ...

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