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close this bookScience and Technology in the Transformation of the World (UNU, 1982, 496 p.)
close this folderSession I: Science and technology as formative factors of contemporary civilization - from domination to liberation
close this folderScience and the making of contemporary civilization
close this folderJ. Leite Lopes
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentI. The physical image of the world
View the documentII. Science and underdevelopment in Latin America
View the documentIII. Science and dependent development
View the documentIV. Endogenization of science in which society?
View the documentV. The aims of science
View the documentVI. Science for liberation
View the documentNotes

III. Science and dependent development

If in our countries, in Latin America, we scientists and research engineers hoped one day to be able to contribute to their development, this hope was seriously harmed by the government decisions which have been taken in the last twenty years to base development on the implantation of affiliates of multinational enterprises. These industrial companies, which have their own research laboratories in the centre of the capitalist system, produce goods in the countries where they establish themselves mainly for exportation as well as for consumption by a small fraction of our populations. in recommending the adoption of these policies, technocrats utilize the myth of technology transfer. The installation of plants of multinational enterprises clearly does not imply any transfer of technical and scientific knowledge; the imported machines are invented, designed and built abroad, and the plans for locally making goods cannot be changed by the local national engineers. Even if we set aside the basic question of whether these industrial products are really those which are needed for our populations, it is clear that the important thing is the capacity of technological innovation and not the fact that workers have to be instructed on which buttons to press for operating the machines. The capacity of technological invention is not transferred by multinational enterprises. Research is, therefore, carried out abroad and technology comes in locked in black boxes.

The integration of most of Latin America into the economic-cultural market of the industrial capitalist nations has thus inevitably led to an aggravation of dependence: science and culture have become luxury imported products - sometimes locally produced by and for a few.