Arnold Pacey

Technology in World Civilization: A Thousand Year History

26:03 min
Technology, History
250 pages, 1990

Spanning over a millennium of history, Arnold Pacey's work offers an expansive yet detailed look at how technology has shaped and reshaped diverse civilizations across the globe. Tracing innovations from medieval China's unrivaled iron production to recent breakthroughs in renewable energy, Pacey examines the complex exchange of practical needs and cultural values that drive technological development. He explores how distinct environments born of true diversity create unique challenges and constraints that dictate tailored solutions, enhancing technological robustness and applicability. By illustrating how localized knowledge and international exchanges propel progress in equal measure, this short confronts assumptions of unilateral innovation flowing from West to East. Ultimately, Pacey urges readers to rethink inherited notions of technology as an external imposition, highlighting its potential for broad and eco-conscious advancement when blended with indigenous expertise through open dialogue.

Arnold Pacey

Arnold Pacey is a British historian and scholar who has made significant contributions to the study of technology and its relationship with society and culture. He is best known for his influential book "The Culture of Technology" (1983), in which he argues that technology is not simply a set of tools and machines, but a complex system that is deeply embedded in social, cultural, and political contexts. Pacey's work has been widely recognized for its interdisciplinary approach, drawing on insights from history, sociology, anthropology, and other fields to provide a comprehensive understanding of the role of technology in shaping human society.


From 700-1100 AD, Asia underwent unrivaled technological innovation - the Islamic world and China made groundbreaking advancements in engineering and agriculture, while Buddhism drove the proliferation of knowledge, from alchemical processes to printing techniques.
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