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At What Cost Progress?

Updated on April 1, 2011

The government has compared balancing the national budget with balancing the budget at home. While I don't pretend to be an expert on national expenses, I have noticed a disturbing pattern among common people. When the economy was good, many of us allowed ourselves to spend a little or a lot beyond our means. Now that the economy is worse, we have to cut back on a lot of "unnecessary" spending to make up for the deficit. Unfortunately, we have to make up for all the unnecessary spending we've done in the past, leading to massive cutbacks that are just as unhealthy as the initial overspending - a sort of binge-and-purge, if you'll excuse the metaphor.

Unnecessary spending typically includes advances in technology - pricey ones to maintain, at that. People are often heard complaining that to take this or that product away would be to set us back to the time of our great-grandfathers. This comparison may be a bit extreme, but it does raise an interesting point. At the time of our great-grandfathers, to continue the metaphor, progress was a good thing. People created new inventions and technologies that improved their quality of life and made a living off of them. In recent times, it seems we've hit a wall. Our technological advances add less to our everyday lives than they take away, and most are designed to become obsolete within a year almost to the point of being rendered inoperable through the clutter of different apps and updates taking up space on a hard drive. With all due respect to the companies that make these products, we can afford to do without them.

To the people who say we can't do without these things, you have to realize that we have advanced into a world where instant gratification and high expectations are the norm. We are addicted to it. In the time of our great-grandfathers, progress was necessary. Today it almost seems superfluous. I'll be the first to admit that it is neither easy nor fair to let go of these things we've grown accustomed to so that we can make ends meet. It is also true that some people have to give up more than others. However, if you look at the big picture and realize what we've gotten ourselves into, ask yourself this: "If we can afford to do without these things, then what was the point of having created them in the first place?"


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    • M. T. Dremer profile image

      M. T. Dremer 6 years ago from United States

      I believe there are still useful inventions yet to be created, but you're right about a lot of modern technology. Computers, cell phones and video game systems are all designed to be obsolete after a period of years. The technology is intended to become useless so that you have to buy more. Then it becomes less about innovation and more about profit. I hear people say that they couldn't live without their cell phones and my response is that I don't have a cell phone and I'm doing just fine. They forget that we've lived without this technology for hundreds of years. There are other ways to communicate other than the internet! Great hub!