When analyzing the transformation of aculture, it is clear that differentunderstandings are gained depending onthe focus. Anthropology began its study ofthis phenomenon, during the late 19thcentury, largely from the perspective oftrying to understand how manufacturedthings, such as tools, are invented and modified in design over time. Itbecame apparent that there rarely are entirely new inventions. Most often,only the function, form, or principle is new, but not all three. For instance, ourmodern jack, used for lifting up the side of a car, is usually based on theprinciples of the lever and/or the screw. Those principles were well known tothe ancient Greeks more than 2,000 years ago.
By the 1940's, anthropologists began to realize thatideas, tools, and other artifacts generally are notinvented or changed in isolation. They are theproduct of particular cultural settings. Cultures areorganic wholes consisting of interdependentcomponents. Inventions often occur in response toother cultural changes.Likewise, inventions potentially can affect all cultural institutions. Beginning inthe 1950's, for instance, televisions in American homes affected how andwhen members of families interacted with each other. Less time wasavailable for direct conversation. The size of houses in more affluent areas ofthe U.S. are now usually 2-3 times larger than they were in the 1950's. As aconsequence, family members often have their own rooms and become evenmore isolated from each other.
Similarly, the introduction of new, effective birth controlmeasures, mostly beginning in the early 1960's, allowedpeople to easily limit the number of children they had andto space their births. This affected the relationships ofchildren with their parents and siblings. When there arefewer children, parents can give more attention to eachone. Likewise, more money per child is available forclothes, entertainment, gifts, and education. Potentially,there is also more money and leisure time for parentswhen there are fewer children in their family.
21st century jack based on principlesof physics known to the ancient Greeks
Parents with few childrencan give more personalattention to each of them