Tuesday, 1 March 2016

Gatsby: Technology and Consumer Culture.

Throughout the Great Gatsby, there are numerous examples of improved technology. The post WW1 financial boom led to a consumer culture that had never been seen before. Due to the fact the USA prospered so much through arms dealing, it seemed everyone in the US had money after the war, expendable money. This led to the technology becoming improved as a result of a new demand for consumer goods. The book has many examples of this. When describing New York, Nick is full of praise; "Over the great bridge, with sunlight through the girders making a constant flicker upon the moving cars, with the city rising up in white heaps and sugar lumps....is always the city seen for the first time, in it's first wild promise of all the beauty and mystery in the world". This shows that New York is seen as the place in the United States that is leading the country in technology with the big skyline and the buildings that are always growing. This is a testament to the level of expendable income now flying into the US. The new age in technology is evident, more people have money to spend so that means people are now going out more and spending it on new products, primarily household items. However one of the most commonly mentioned new technology is the motor industry. Which received a boost post war due to the methods used by Henry Ford. One of the most important scenes in the story occurs in a car when Gatsby's car runs over Tom's mistress.

When comparing New York then to a city today, it is hard to look past somewhere like Dubai or Shanghai, which today delivers the same concept that New York delivered during the 20's. Both offer vast skylines filled with huge buildings. Dubai has the biggest building in the world, a title that once lived in New York for decades. Dubai is now the most innovative city in the world in terms of technology, the amount of money pouring into Dubai is enormous. Similar to that of the money in New York post WW1. Dubai today is innovating further than anyone else in the world. The consumer culture in Dubai is one that shares similarities with the one in New York during the 20's. Purely because the people have so much money to spend. People are spending billions of dollars on apartments overlooking the sea. Or a similar amount on a private jet. Comparing a private jet to a car in the 20s is a good example as even though they were expensive, people still bought them because they had the money to do so. The reason Dubai has seen such a meteoric rise is due to the fact it hasnt felt any of the economic downturn that hit the rest of the world in 2008. However with New York, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 effectively forced everyone to start again, something Dubai is yet to do.

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