|Technological Independence The Asian experience (UNU, 1994, 372 pages)|
|3. The Republic of Korea|
The role of science and technology in a future Korean society may be broadly stated as one of meeting felt needs by technological innovation and scientific advancement and of realizing long-term national goals for the next century. These goals fall under the following six headings:
To ensure national security and social stability
For a resource-poor country like the Republic of Korea, conserving energy and oil-substitutable energy is vital. Food technology is similarly important to maintain social stability. Science and technology are expected to play a vitally important role in ensuring national security and social stability.
To sustain the growth of the national economy and to improve its efficiency
In the past, technological progress made only a minor contribution to the growth of national income, and this should be changed. Furthermore, the technological gap with developed countries should be reduced in certain strategically selected areas. At the same time, technology intensification should be undertaken in small and medium-scale enterprises, which take approximately 97.5 per cent of the total, but contribute only 36 per cent to the Korean economy in terms of value added production.
To prepare for a smooth transition to an information society
Societal change to an information society will demand the development of information-related industries centred around micro-electronics, communications, computers, etc. Moreover, reducing the labour component of production systems through automation technology will require re-education of displaced labour.
To improve the quality of life
Technology in areas of public health such as disease control, medicine and medical electronics needs to be developed. Another area is the protection of the environment for better dwelling conditions on the one hand, and for increased productivity of the land on the other.
Development of information technology directly related to daily living, it should be noted, will increase social benefits, and this in turn will help reduce urbanization. The preference for urban living will disappear with the development of an information system on a nationwide scale.
To create a new culture suitable for the new society
A conflict between traditional cultural values and progressive contemporary values has existed in Korean society during the recent process of industrialization. A national consensus should be created for the development of science and technology. Another far-reaching goal of science and technology is the creation of a new culture for the next century.