'Will technology eventually be our salvation? Quite possibly.' In
this way, a special report of the American magazine Business Week (20
April 1987, p.66) tried to answer the disquieting question: 'Is the US going the
way of Britain?.' The way, obviously, is that of economic and political decline.
With growing economic problems and falling competitiveness, the
United States fears a loss of world leadership and is searching for remedies. To
look at technology as a possible salvation is natural for a country that had
built its international power on technological leadership and maintains an
unshakable faith in the possibility of finding technological solutions to the
most intractable economic and political problems.
At the same time, this question reveals the widespread concern for
America's economic decline and its international consequences, while reasserting
that 'salvation' (i.e. a renewed world leadership) is a promise made from the
Behind an apparently innocent question, an amazingly complex set
of issues emerges, ranging from the broad transformations in the world economy
and politics to the concrete technological initiatives that may bring about a
new US leadership. Economic processes, international relations and technological
change are drawn together in a tangle of issues.
This, in fact, has been the web of problems raised by the
restructuring of US - European relations in the 1980s. In a changing
international division of labour and with new strains in the old world order,
the transformations across the Atlantic have been shaped by new technological
strategies, as well as by the traditional economic, strategic and military