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The Biggest Impact On Humanity Over The Last Century (Essay Sample)


During the first unit we looked at the rise and fall of political ideologies, strategies for economic development, the growing influence of multinational corporations, advances in technology, and the trend toward liberal free-market globalization. Of all of these factors, which do you feel, for better or for worse, has had the biggest impact on humanity over the last century? Why?


What Has Had the Biggest Impact on Humanity over the Last Century?
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What Has Had the Biggest Impact on Humanity over the Last Century?


The history of mankind over the last few centuries has been characterized by groundbreaking changes in the economic, political, and technological spheres. However, the 20th century has stood out as one of the most important centuries in the shaping of contemporary human experience. From the rise and fall of political ideologies to the gradual movement towards liberal free-market globalization, the list is long. Despite the difficulty of summarizing all the factors that have impacted humanity in the last century alone, it is relatively easier to determine that advances in technology in the fields of medicine, agriculture, food science, money transfer, and information technology have had the biggest impact on humanity.

Paul Ehrlich, a German scientist is credited for developing the first effective cure for syphilis in 1910 and also developing tissue staining techniques that enabled medical professionals to make accurate diagnoses of blood diseases by differentiating the various types of blood cells. Following Ehrlich’s discovery of syphilis treatment, chemotherapy as a concept and method of treatment was adopted (Aminov, 2010). Together with his methods of standardizing serums for therapeutic use, Ehrlich’s application of medical technology and chemical knowledge created the momentum for further research. The technology for manufacturing antibiotics was conceived in 1928 by Alexander Fleming (Gaynes, 2017). His discovery of penicillin and the subsequent mass production of the drug gave millions of people a way of combating bacterial infections that were initially causing many deaths.

In the fields of agriculture and food science, the rapid growth of urban centers created a high demand for foodstuffs and hence the need to increase agricultural production. Moreover, the urban population played a key role in the growth of industries by providing labor. To meet the growing food demand, the technology of the internal-combustion engine was harnessed to drive tractors and combine harvesters. As a consequence, these machines could do more work than humans. Gradually, the technology encouraged the growth of mechanization in the agricultural sector and made food production less labor-intensive (Meyer, 2013). The internal combustion engine transformed the human experience in food security and related industries such as transportation. However, a bigger impact for humanity that is also a part of the contemporary experience was achieved through chemical technology for the production of synthetic fertilizers and other farm inputs such as herbicides and pesticides. With the increased food production came the need for advanced preservation methods. Although refrigeration and canning (innovations of the 19th century) remained quite popular, additional techniques such as vacuum-contact drying of the 1930s made food preservation more effective.

Before the invention of credit cards and debit cards in the 1950s, people had little choice but to go to the banks to make payments and also carry loose change around. The check technology was then introduced and became very popular in the 1940s. However, the headache of having a check processed made the technology inefficient. The slow pace of check processing and clearing was resolved in 1955 through the introduction of the Electronic Recording Machine, Accounting (ERMA) (Vox Creative, 2019). Additionally, the human experience in money transactions was revolutionized in the 1950s after credit cards replaced charge plates.

Over time, credit cards became more secure and convenient through magnetic strip technology and chips that were verified using a p...

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