Centralization and its discontents: Exploring the relationship between measures of moral development, happiness and technology driven, centralized ways of being
This interdisciplinary, qualitative dissertation offers an exploration into possible intimate relationships between recently expanding, technology driven forms of centralization of our social institutions and a supposed decline in moral development and happiness among Americans today. According to Jacques Ellul, technology in itself is not the problem. Instead, he believes the tragedy is that the new idea or spirit of “technique”, technical efficiency and economic progress, which may have started with the Industrial revolution, and has become the western world’s new "religion", the new salvation for humanity. Ellul and other thinkers suggest that the single-minded focus on material progress has made centralization of our institutions necessary. Within increasingly centralized systems human beings are being as means to the new end of efficiency for material progress. According to Ellul and others, our institutions have thereby become increasingly unfit for a certain uniquely human way of being, which facilitates moral development. The ideas of Aristotle and other theorists are used as lenses through which we can also look at the perennial question of human happiness and its possible relationship with moral development and the way we live within community. Aspects of life within centralized America today are being contrasted with features of Aristotle’s ideal state. Our highly centralized way of being in America today is also being compared to the less centralized way of being in America 50-60 years ago.
Svendsen, Kirsti, "Centralization and its discontents: Exploring the relationship between measures of moral development, happiness and technology driven, centralized ways of being" (2016). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI10256838.