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Technology, Government, and the Law

BEHS 103: Technology in Contemporary Society

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Week Five

Credit: Katherine Im (2021, July)


















Government: the organization, machinery, or agency through which a political unit exercises authority and performs functions and which is usually classified according to the distribution of power within it


Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary



Politics: the art or science of government



Law: a binding custom or practice of a community : a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding or enforced by a controlling authority













Are government and law forms of technology?









Both are social structures created to serve humankind

Both evolve as needs change





Why government?







Nomadic existence

Traveled in small groups

Everyone contributed to the welfare of the group

No need for a structured government or laws





Early Civilization



Agriculture and domestication of animals – allows for permanent settlements

Required many hands doing the same tasks

Natural leaders emerge in small groups and tribes

















Technology leads to the need for government and laws




Technological advances in agriculture (e.g., plow) lead to better crop yield

Better crop yield led to population increases

More workers available to do non-farming work












Emergence of a

crafts-based industry


Craftsmen controlled their own yield (production)

Craftsmen had portable skills

Highly skilled craftsmen had higher status and were in greater demand – beginning of market economy

Motivated to innovate to stay ahead of the competition

Rules were needed to establish fair practices

Leaders were need to enforce rules










Beginnings of Government and Law


Need for government to manage increasingly specialized society

Hammurabi code (1772 BCE) – King of Babylonia – 1st set of laws organizing society, establishing punishments for crimes (“eye for an eye”)

Required that all members of society agree to adhere to the law



Ancient Greece (8th – 5th C. BCE)


Birth of democracy

One man, one vote










Source: http://library.thinkquest.org/26466/history_of_democracy.html




What is the role of law?


Aristotle (384 BCE – 322 BCE)

The “rule of law” is the principle that no one is exempt from the law

“the rule of law . . . is preferable to that of any individual”


Image source http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/84/87984-004-5ADE9ACA.jpg





Ancient Rome (509-27 BC)

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