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close this bookTechnological Independence The Asian experience (UNU, 1994, 372 pages)
close this folder7. The lessons from Asia: From past experience to the future
View the document(introductory text...)
View the documentChina
View the documentIndia
View the documentRepublic of Korea
View the documentThailand
View the documentPhilippines
View the documentJapan
View the documentThe geopolitical environment and the local socio-economic situation
View the documentFormal S&T structure and industry
View the documentThe rural-urban relationship
View the documentInformal and formal sectors
View the documentNew generic technologies
View the documentSocial shaping of technology
View the documentConscious shaping of the technology
View the documentExisting agendas for shaping technology
View the documentConcluding remarks
View the documentNotes

Formal S&T structure and industry

When a decision-making élite embarks on an S&T policy, it can choose from a range of perspectives. In the case of China and India, the formal structures of science developed as the outcome of a theoretical and formal analysis of the role of industrialization in development. However, the links between these S&T structures? which included academic and industrial institutions, remained weak and partly tangential. In recent years, both China and India have attempted to supply the missing links between industry and the formal S&T structures.

In the case of Japan and the Republic of Korea, the S&T structures and industry grew hand in hand, largely in a pragmatic fashion. Quite early on in Japan, there existed joint bodies of industrialists and scientists. The organic linkages between industry and agriculture meant that advancement in one fed the other. The Japanese emphasized applied research, that is, research closely linked to industry. Today the bulk of Japanese R&D takes place within the firms themselves rather than in the public sphere,6 so that there is an immediate outlet for useful innovations, whilst, conversely, industry's demands are directly transferred to R&D groups.

In the Republic of Korea, the initial manpower training in the S&T sector aimed simply to provide technicians and engineers to operate and maintain industries. As industries developed, the S&T infrastructure developed, with constant interactions between the two. The Korean success in this strategy has been such that, in certain frontier areas such as chip manufacture, the country in the early 1990s is only a few years behind Japan.

In the case of the Philippines, in contrast to the examples of China, India, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, a weak scientific infrastructure had only a tangential relationship to the industrial structure.

It is not only the relationships between industrial and S&T organizations that are important, but also the internal workings of the organizations themselves. The industrial organizations in the West grew up with particular structures and characteristics as a part of an organic historical process. Attempts to transfer these Western organizational features wholesale do not necessarily succeed, and, when such transfers are made, the expected technological output may not replicate the success in a Western environment, as several studies going back to the early post-Second World War period have shown.7 The studies here have not concentrated on the details of organizational social structures as a filter of technology; but, undoubtedly, these factors would have been important in the technological successes and failures of the different countries, as studies on the effectiveness of Japanese organizations demonstrate.8