Have you ever pictured what “development” would look like in developing countries? Do you picture running water for everyone? Jobs and economic stability for individuals? Elections and voting rights for those over the age of 18?
While these elements might be true within the context of El Salvador, development in the post-civil war period might as well be termed technological development. TVs, computers, cars, cell phones, video games, and the propagation of communication networks reflect the direction that development seems to have taken in this country. At times, the infrastructure may not be all that adequate to support these technological advancements, but it certainly does not stop people from acquiring these new commodities.
Certainly these technological tools that people have embraced can contribute to a democratic consolidation. After all, communication technology can foster debate, assist in the dissemination of views, and enable association. However, the problem is that a lot of these people are already living quite modestly. Economically, these technologies are making them harder to live a modest lifestyle, because the impressions of what a modest lifestyle is are changing. A modest lifestyle is not only being intensified by what North American media is portraying, it is also context-driven by the intersubjective understandings that are being produced within the country. In other words, the social infrastructure in place may be equally ill equiped for certain technologies. This aspect of technological development is quite often overlooked. On the other hand, these technologies exist within a context that involves its production. It is important to ask ourselves: Where are these techologies produced and what is the reason? How are these technologies produced? Who is producing these technologes?
Asking these questions will reveal that riding the technological wave has implications far beyond accessibility to a particular commodity.