Cover Image
close this bookScience and Technology in the Transformation of the World (UNU, 1982, 496 p.)
close this folderSession IV: The control of space and power
close this folderScience, technology, and politics in a changing world
close this folderJosť A. Silva Michelena
View the documentI. What kind of transformation?
View the documentII. The nature of the crisis
View the documentIII. World political trends
View the documentIV. The role of science and technology
View the documentV. A proposition
View the documentNotes

IV. The role of science and technology

It is obvious that, in the face of such trends, dominant capitalist countries need to foster new means of legitimizing the present situation, in order to reinforce the more orthodox method of economic, military, and political domination. We like to advance the hypothesis that one such means is to create a new myth which could both revive and make more credible the idea that underdeveloped countries can in effect develop within the capitalist system. It seems that within this new developmentalist ideology science and technology are to play a key role.

As was suggested by one participant in the International Colloquium of ACAST in Vienna:

... such a myth could be useful to fulfill three functions:

(a) The process of qualitative intensification of technological dependence, which predominates in most developing countries, could be conveniently disguised.

(b) The neutralization and progressive obstruction of the few attempts of underdeveloped countries to control technology imports and direct investments, such as, for instance, the Andean Pact regulations, could be hidden.

c) The strategies of "global planned obsolescence" and "technological domination," developed by a few multinational corporations in some of the main OECD countries, could be efficiently legitimized.4

Furthermore, it is now possible that concepts such as "appropriate technology," "increasing capacity to negotiate," "technology transfer," and so on, which appear profusely in the jargon of development ideologists, are but good ways of obscuring the basic facts, namely:

1. The true obstacle to satisfying the basic needs of the masses lies in the present system of domination.

2. The local bourgeoisie's, allied with transnational corporations, are using technology to increase their control and domination of the population rather than bettering their standard of living.

3. The industrialized countries are, in fact, less inclined to share on an equal basis the fruits of scientific and technological development.

4. Experience shows that industrialized countries treat science and technology as commodities to be exchanged in the markets of underdeveloped countries on an unequal basis.

An analysis of the many conferences supposedly devoted to creating the preconditions for the effective application of science and technology to foster development of Third World countries would probably confirm all four conclusions.