We can think of culture as a set of techniques and values that make it easier to be successful in a certain environment. Certain ways of doing things are more efficient and more effective. For example, when we think of culture, we usually think of things like cuisine, designing clothes, and spending free time. In certain countries, certain ingredients are cheaper, which is why national cuisines around the world are different. Rice has been historically cheap in Asia and expensive in Europe, while corn grows especially well in North America. Certain techniques for sewing clothes create a product better suited to the local weather and climate. European clothes would be uncomfortable in tropical forests, and tropical aboriginal clothes would be ineffective in northern winters. Another increasingly important factor is technology, which offers to revolutionize the way we live.
Low-tech ways of doing things used to be more economical. It was cheaper and more comfortable to send letters by post than to use a telegram, which was then astronomically expensive. Today, it's cheaper and more time-efficient to send an e-mail than to buy a stamp and go to the post office. While that much is obvious, there are even more ways of doing things faster, better, and more economically than before that most people are not aware of. Processes that used to take generations now take years. Not keeping up can threaten a person's lifestyle and leave her or him behind economically, or even socially.
One part of world society lives in a world of high technology and constant connectivity, while the other (and greater) share lives in an analogue existence, without even access to a phone. In our country, most people occupy a sort of in between, using e-mail at work and sparingly in their personal lives, while still using a telephone landline, cable television, and even subscribing to paper newspapers.
These technologies do more more thing: they warp geographical distance. It's faster to send an e-mail around the world than to walk to the neighbor in the next-door apartment. It's easier (and even cheaper) to maintain relationships online than face-to-face. While this may not be true of family life, it is certainly true when it comes to economic relationships.
In the past, one had to be on-site in order to conduct work. One's opportunities were limited by one's local environment. Moving up in economically often meant physically moving to another city or country. The majority of Americans' ancestors came to the United States for that very reason. The trans-Atlantic steamer made it affordable to cross the ocean in search of a better life. After the second World War, the affordability of the personal automobile made it possible to drive around the country in search of work. The children of immigrants were now fully assimilated and could compete for jobs on the same footing as descendants of the Plymouth colonists. Physically mobility in may ways equaled social mobility.
In order to get ahead in the past, you needed an ocean-liner or train ticket to a better place. Later, a personal automobile was a must if someone was going to do better than their parents. People were always heading for the next frontier. Now that the west has already been "won", there's no physical destination to head for in search of a better life. Personal technology is the new frontier.
The affordability of personal electronics makes it possible to search for opportunities anywhere in the world without buying an ocean-liner or train ticket, let alone an automobile. Personal electronics allow a single person to become as productive as an entire office was 20 years ago. A new age of affluence and self-realization for all is possible.
Affording and efficiently using these new tools is another task. What is an ocean-liner ticket without a job waiting on the other side of the Atlantic, or a personal automobile without learning to drive or a destination? Our mission is to show you how to drive that car and where the opportunities are. Most people can only afford one, so we'll also debate the advantages and disadvantages of each technological device.
Thanks for participating in the discussion, feel free to ask questions or share your own experiences. A new world of opportunities awaits us as we create and explore a neoplanetary culture.