Economic Codes and the Civic Economy
In arguing that “technology and modernity” are “co-constructed,” Misa et al. emphasize that being “co-constructed” does not mean that one phenomenon explains or is caused by the other. Rather, the authors hold that the phenomena emerged at about the same time and in response to the same evolving social values and material conditions. We add to this pair of variables the emergence of capitalism. Our point in making this observation is not to dive deeply into modernization theory, but to argue that modernity, technology, and capitalism are three basic dimensions of contemporary Western culture that cannot be comfortably separated-they have all been “co-constructed” over several centuries by humans in pursuit of their own interests. However, as “critical constructivists,”2 Misa et al. would not hold that these three variables are constant across cultures or time, only that they are particularly important in Western culture, from the Renaissance onward. There is nothing inevitable or unchanging about them-history might have been different than we know it.