How Money Has Changed Society

708 Words3 Pages
How Money Has Changed Society *Works Cited Not Included Marshall McLuhan's lasting contribution is his vision of the ways technology affects and changes history and culture. McLuhan proposes that technologies are not mere add-ons to who and what humans are but, rather, alter them as though the technologies really are extensions of humans. Technology determines culture and history to the extent that it "shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action." The introduction of money affected culture in that this new technology gave rise to accelerated change and growth within society. Money increases the volume and diversity of trade and it facilitates the exchange of goods and ideas. It also provides a means of showing who gives and who takes to and from society. Money is an extension of mankind's ability to give, receive, and exchange. McLuhan claims that all media are extensions of man, and subsequently, money extends the human faculty of giving and taking work. McLuhan states in Understanding Media: Money, which had been for centuries the principle transmitter and exchange of information, is now having its function increasingly transferred to science and automation. (142) Moreover, money makes possible many other enterprises and technologies. The invention of money changed society and caused change. For example, seventeenth century Japan was affected by this new technology. It caused a slow revolution, the breakdown of the feudal government, and a revival of foreign trade. McLuhan also emphasizes in Understanding Media: Like any other medium, it is a staple, a natural resource. As an outward and visible form of the urge to change and to exchange, it is a corporate ima... ... middle of paper ... ... often think in terms of trades and counter trades, talks and negotiations, but proceed directly to the balance of dollars and cents. Numbers, in such case, are no longer remote abstractions, but useful measures of human desire, need, and power. Money creates in humans a range of emotions toward numbers, given how much money counts in the fulfillment or frustration of needs and desires. The affective relation between numbers and need is dramatized and formalized with the introduction of money. The technology of money is a dramatic and relatively obvious example of McLuhan's idea of inventions changing cultures and societies fundamental ways. Not only did money pave the way for mathematical thinking, but also extended mankind's ability to give, receive, and exchange. In conclusion, money clearly exemplifies McLuhan's proposition that "the medium is the message."
Open Document