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Session IV: The control of space and power

Report on session IV
Toward a clearer definition of the role of science and technology in transformation
Science, technology, and politics in a changing world
The technology of repression and repressive technology: The social bearers and cultural consequences
Nuclear energy in Latin America: The Brazilian case

Chairman: Guillermo Bonfil Batalla
Co-chairman: G. Pavicevic
Rapporteur: Vladimir Stambuk


Gregory Blue

The key theme which underlay this session, placing it at the heart of the entire conference, was that of hegemony - the predominant control exercised by one or more foreign powers over the principle forms of the social life of a nation. The struggle against hegemonism is the struggle of a people to determine its own future within its own boundaries; and, as stated by Dr. Abdel-Malek in the last intervention here, the major problem facing the nations of the Third World today is precisely that of maintaining their political and cultural sovereignty. As noted by Dr. El-Kholy in his opening paper, solutions to this problem hinge on the ability of these nations to generate social and political systems that will ensure the efficient utilization of their human and natural resources. Dr. Pandeya pointed out that success in the fields of science and technology requires the formation of a broad popular scientific culture.

The problem of the roles of science and technology in the contemporary world is far from peripheral to the general problem of hegemonism, and many of the participants in this session stressed what Dr. Vidakovic termed the mystification of their objective social functions. Dr. El-Kholy, for example, noted that innovations imposed by the authority of an external power are more likely to serve as means of increased subjugation and alienation than as tokens of some transhistorical progress. Dr. SiIva Michelena in turn observed that technological optimism is an essential part of the developmentalist advertising being pushed by transnational corporations to assure "developing" countries of their bright prospects within the capitalist system. Examining the significance of nuclear energy for countries of the Third World, Dr. Pinguelli Rosa illustrated some of the typical complications that arise when a heavy technology is treated as an object of prestige rather than as an instrument for meeting popular needs, but he also noted that these countries can ignore such technologies only at the price of perpetuating foreign domination, and he stressed the importance of building up national independence in an all-round way. Dr. Vidakovic himself considered how, despite various forms of scientific-technological optimism, the militarization of the contemporary world economy is dominating the development of science and technology, harnessing them more and more to the purposes of repression and destruction and thus obstructing the realization of their great potential for improving the lot of the peoples of the world.

In the search for alternatives, Dr. El-Kholy spoke of the practical rather than the theoretical importance of the Third World's following complementary paths of national and collective self-reliance. Dr. Silva Michelena called for collective bargaining by Third World countries in regard to technology transfer, but he considered the logistic support by the Soviet Union as the most significant element in transforming global politics today. Dr. Vidakovic, on the other hand, emphasized the importance of uniting people around the world to fight against the repressive and militaristic perversions of contemporary science and technology.

During the discussion an important exchange took place concerning the evaluation of various forms of power. Dr. Furtado stressed that since the end of World War 11 the economic potentials of the Third World have been significantly strengthened when compared with world levels; he thus thought that they are objectively more capable of building up their technological infrastructures. Drs. Issa and Rasheeduddin Khan, among others, emphasized on the other hand that those Third World countries which have not undergone a fundamental political transformation freeing them from foreign domination have typically less power to dispose of their own natural resources as time goes on.

Anouar Abdel-Malek, Celso Furtado, Hossam Issa, Rasheeduddin Khan, Le Thanh Khoi, James A. Maraj, Kinhide Mushakoji, A. N. Pandeya, and Vladimir Stambuk took part in the discussion.

Report on session IV

Vladimir Stambuk

1. In his introductory speech, Professor Osama el-Kholy talked about four basic topics. They were: In what way can we look for bridges to new solutions for solving the problems of science and technology in developing countries? How can developing countries use the knowledge and solutions which exist in developed countries? How should developing countries maintain their cultures and develop them? What are the roles of science and technology? Elaborating these topics, Professor el-Kholy suggested that one should relate oneself to the dominant values in a given society but underline that dominant values are not always those expressed by the government and the top political echelon. Much more often, the dominant values are discrepant to those expressed by the power structure and can be really found among the common people. We can look at the values related to development and make three basic assumptions:

- that this development pattern is desirable in itself and is suitable for our society, now and in the future;

- that its realization is possible to achieve nowadays just as it was possible to achieve in the past;

- that our own experience, so far, in following this path is encouraging.

Elaborating the second subject of his introduction, Professor el-Kholy stated: "Rather than swallow contemporary S&T as practiced outside our societies to dictate our socio-political systems alienating us from cultural roots, rather than let progress be an outside force beyond our control, we seek an order within which alienation disappears, or - at least - decreases, and within which man becomes master of S&T in our societies directing them rationally towards the goals of harmony and equilibrium with environment and resources; satisfaction of essential needs; justice and liberation of man's faculties on the basis of the positive elements in our cultural heritage; and not the dictates of profit maximization that currently prevail in international relations. This is the essence of self-reliance, reliance on liberated creativity and sound traditions." Freedom and democracy cannot be developed if we look upon science as a deterministic approach to knowledge with strict unchangeable laws. This kind of approach reduces human endeavours to oppression. If the term "scientific" is used to determinate people who are not laymen, then science is unable to promote free and englobing research.

Professor el-Kholy expressed his concern at the polarization of science and technology due to the emergence of big science and the R&D multi-disciplinary establishment. He talked also of the use of TNCs as the most efficient form of integrated techno-economic activities and the greatest promoter and investor in innovation.

Professor el-Kholy especially emphasized the importance of taking note of the deterioration of international relations.

The threats of armed interventions which are on the horizon bring the possibility that the 1980s will see a further deterioration in international relations in the world. That will have among other effects a negative impact on the further development of science and technology in developing countries. The fact that developing countries have not enough information about themselves does not help in the process of communication and collaboration among developing countries. This fact is becoming more negative through a situation where we do not have, in developing countries, an articulated theory of change and development,

2. In his presentation Professor J. Agustin Silva Michelena asked for what change is taking place. He stated he believes that man is producing his own history, but also that history influences what kind of men we shall have in the future. He presumed that the future is going to be some kind of socialism, but, in his opinion, the character of the modes of production will influence that future. Some elements of the future mode of production already exist today.

Professor Silva Michelena stressed that he believes we are nearly at the end of an era. The period which is ending now started after the big crisis in 1930, reached its peak in 1960 and now is ending, giving way to a new transnational organization of capital. This new way is characterized by two facts: the first is represented by the further expansion of a new social division of labour and the second in the concentration of means of production in the transnational. Up to now, about five to six countries have been included in the process of transnationalization. But, in the view of Professor Silva Michelena, more of them will be included in the future which will lead to a new proletarianization of the working masses. This will be achieved mainly by further development of the technology of management.

The multinationals are more and more collaborating with the local elite, composed of the new bourgeoisie, army elements, politicians, and so on. This co-operation brings a further deterioration in the fulfillment of the basic needs of the working masses. Professor Silva Michelena elaborated some of his geopolitical views stressing that the geopolitical situation of today has basically changed since the 1950s. At that time clashes between the USSR and the USA might have happened over Europe. The balance of nuclear power changed that dynamic. Political and economic differentiation, the over-exploitation of underdeveloped countries, and the fact that the USSR can increasingly give logistic help to revolutionary movements around the world produce a constant imbalance in international relations. In his opinion, Latin America might become, in the 1980s or 1990s, the Africa of today.

To further their domination, the developed countries' elites are developing a new ideology which is a revitalization of the "modernization" theory of the mid-1950s. The main core of this ideology rests on technology and science, on concepts like appropriate technology, which serve to increase control over the developing countries and not to promote better life conditions. What is really happening is that developing countries are treated as clients and not as partners.

3. Professor Luiz Pinguelli Rosa, in his introductory speech, elaborated the role of nuclear energy in developing countries using the example of Brazil. The starting point was that energy policies must be related to the overall economic policy of the country. in developing nuclear energy, ecological considerations must also be present. Decisions related to nuclear energy are political decisions. They have always to be understood as such. To demonstrate this point Professor Rosa used a number of data concerning existing and future reactor-building in Latin America, especially in Brazil, Argentina, and Mexico.

In his view, Brazil should promote its nuclear energy for the sake of its future energy needs. But it is also obvious that Brazil is building today nuclear reactors for prestige. Hydro-energy has not been sufficiently used in Brazil. It seems that Brazil is using about 12 per cent of its hydro-energy. Professor Rosa emphasized that nuclear energy can be a part of the energy policy of developing countries, especially those which are poor in other energy resources.

In the lively discussion which followed, ten speakers took part. Three main topics related to the position papers were discussed. The first was what are the characteristics of existing societies and how can they shape technical and scientific transformation.

The second topic was related to power, its different aspects, and its role in the development of science and technology.

The third topic was geopolitical considerations related to existing international relations.

Part of the discussion related to the characteristics of existing societies was concentrated on the analysis of modern capitalism. Following the idea expressed by Professor Silva Michelena, a number of speakers underlined the fact that the role of the multinational companies was increasing in the cultural, scientific, and technological aspects of life. This points up the need to define what kind of technology and science will be developed by the multinational companies and in which way the developing countries should meet that challenge. One of the ideas expressed was that developing countries possessing a large number of scientifically and technologically trained people have not yet been able to translate these potentials into a force of transformation. The scientific community is not able to transmit new ideas related to development to the population. The existing knowledge today is less understandable to the Indian population, for example, than it was in 1947. There is therefore a constant need of integration between scientific knowledge and mass support, oriented to transformation, in the developing countries.

The largest part of the discussion was concentrated on the question of power and its role in the transformation of society, including technology and science. Five elements were suggested at the beginning as the sources of power: control of international markets; control of international finance; control of non-renewable resources; control of cheap manpower, and control of technology. It was stressed that developing countries can control the four first factors and are yet unable to control the fifth. To these elements, during the discussion, some more were added. Control of knowledge and information was stressed as the most important aspect through which influence is being realized over the developing countries.

Another element was added: political power; and a criticism was expressed concerning the control which the developing countries have over the four elements. Expressed opinion was judged as over-optimistic.

The role of politicians was also discussed and the ambiguity of their position between the pressure of the masses for solving every-day needs and the impossibility of leading political structures in developing countries to solve them accordingly. That is why politicians make deals with multinational companies and develop industrialized societies, in order to maintain their power. The multinationals, using the principle of divide and rule, augment their domination over developing countries by a process in which political structures have often been included. There is a feeling that politicians should be educated too. This education should be concentrated on political strategies, open to developing countries. Scientists and university people are not always welcome as advisers to politicians, because they usually put forward views which are not in accordance with the choices open at the pragmatic political level. In that context, the role of the United Nations University, as an objective international institution, was stressed and a hope was expressed that the activity of the University will be more intensive in that direction.

It seems that there are three possible relations in the promotion of science and technology between highly developed countries and multinationals, on one side, and the developing countries, on the other side. They are:

(a) developing countries becoming client states under the political hegemony of an industrial state, which facilitates the operations of transnational corporations;

(b) such countries becoming dependent on the transnational corporations, under the influence of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund; and

(c) such countries developing regional co-operation as emphasized in the document on non-aligned countries, and discussed at the seminar as collective self-reliance.

The third relation is the more acceptable one, but has not produced the expected results. Countries which have opted for the first relation register economic growth without effecting much-needed social-cultural transformation.

In the dichotomy of the hegemony of economism, and the hegemony of ethical normativism, we have to look for a solution which will be related to the parameters of power. The problem is: How to undergo transformation but remain sovereign and creative?

In this aspect, the role of the state is very important. The topic of the seminar was not related to problems of the state, but its role must be emphasized in further discussions. Thinking about "science and technology," and the transformation of societies, we must insist on reality and the possibilities which reality is offering us.

The discussions in the workshop on theme 4 may be summarized as follows.

The disarray of the present world situation seems to offer - in spite of its being fraught with obvious dangers - a wider variety of options for the developing countries to establish better control over their future development. While admitting the existence of possibilities for transformations in social, economic, and political structures, it should also be noted that ensuing conflicts will be more complex and sharp and that the capabilities of the adversaries are much greater, qualitatively and quantitatively.

On one level, we see that in the long run it is the developing countries which have expanding markets, financial resources, non-renewable resources, and manpower reserves. They do not, as yet, command technology as a resource which might make up for deficiency in any of the other resources, and technology has become the main source of power - a fact that highlights the role of science and technology in world transformation.

On a more profound level, it is recognized that no one set of variables can be operationalized without addressing the specificities of each particular situation, of which there is considerable variety in the world today. The potentials amenable to mobilization in a situation where a nation has a long history of consolidated existence are quite different from those where even the concept of nationhood is new or inapplicable.

The specificities should, furthermore, be coupled with other factors in the international situation. There are emerging nowadays in the developed world allies of the developing world, particularly in the area of the production and dissemination of knowledge. The UN University can play an important role here, one that may create a conscience that triggers, later on, significant results. Public opinion in the North is gradually mobilizing against intervention through direct action in Third World affairs.

Attempts at regaining social control of techno-economic activities are thwarted in the name of economic rationality and efficiency and the adoption of consumption patterns that favour the expansion of the activities of TNCs in alliance with local capital and even state enterprises.

The importance of specificity can be seen also in the isolation of scientific technological potentials of nations and states and the fact that political constraints prevent the fusion into critical masses that would render D&T effective in transformation.

Rejecting the options of isolation or becoming a vassal or client state or dependent on TNCs, the option of regional joint action needs exploration within this framework, and complementarities, leading to greater national control and power, within the existing constraints. These aspects have been examined in considerable detail in the many documents proposed by the UNCTAD Conferences, reflecting the genuine concerns and requirements of the newly liberated, socio-economically backward countries of the developing world. The only way out is to generate simultaneously social mobilization for cohesive socio-economic transformation in each specific country, together with linking efforts for joint concerted action based on collective self-reliance - the strategy spelt out in the political and economic documents of the summit conferences of the non-aligned nations from Algeria to Colombo and Havana.

It has been stressed also that a new source of power is assuming an increasing importance: the control of information and knowledge. The international mass media are diffusing a world culture based on the ideology and system of values of the industrialized countries. Now, 65 per cent of information messages are produced in and diffused from the United States. The press, radio, TV are such powerful instruments that they are able not only to manipulate public opinion but also, as has occurred, to destabilize governments. The world information system is now an ideological apparatus which contributes to the continuance of the existing international order.

Special emphasis was given to scientific knowledge and technical information as important tools for the control of power in the world. Such a kind of control has been often used by the rich countries with the goal of maintaining their domination of the underdeveloped countries. In this sense, the role of multinational corporations is just that of control of the productive activities in the underdeveloped countries which have no autonomy to decide on their own future.

The optimistic point of view that multinational corporations play some positive role in broadening modern technology is largely negated by the effect of domination of underdeveloped countries in all aspects: economic, cultural, etc.

Science and technology related to the concept of development are emerging as a new ideology of modernization. It is a part of an ideological attempt to control the development of developing countries and is obscuring the real relations between developed and developing countries. The causal relations between development and underdevelopment are lost, and causes of underdevelopment are hidden to view. It is an attempt to eliminate the values of socialist revolution by the ideological concepts of modernization.

Toward a clearer definition of the role of science and technology in transformation

Osama A. El-Kholy

Osama A. El-Kholy

I. A view of the problem from within
II. The view from without
III. Toward a clearer definition of the role of science and technology in transformation
Appendix I. A systematic approach to the definition of the role of s e t in transformation
Appendix II. Relation between mathematical and non-quantifiable experiences (for achieving consistency between model s e t requirements)
Appendix III. Analysis of the relative importance of factors relating to s e t (from questionnaire to scenario-writing)


It is gratifying to note that, while the project "Socio-cultural Development Alternatives in a Changing World" is fundamentally one of comparative evaluative analyses, it takes this to mean that "we ought to take action, as of now, so as to be able to devote a meaningful part of our scientific activities... to this major aspect of the project.''1 The focusing of our concern on science and technology, within this project which encompasses "all fields and sectors, in all visions, cultures and societal formations of our times," comes after more than two years of intensive and worldwide discussions in many parts of the world and within a considerable variety of organizational frameworks - including academic circles - in preparation for the United Nations Conference on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD), held in Vienna barely two months ago.

We will recollect that UNCSTD was planned within the framework of ongoing efforts to establish a new international economic order. Since the call for such an order was first sounded in 1974, we have come to realize that what is at stake is not just the "economic" order, for we are now used to talking of a new "scientific and technological" order, a new "information" order... etc.

It is felt that practically all the important issues relevant to our theme have been discussed in preparing for, and during, UNCSTD. Many profound analyses of the current situation of science and technology have been made from a great number of perspectives, points of emphasis, and ideological stands. There is probably not much to add at least for some time to come - to this truly global effort. In fact, what is needed is an exercise in analysis and assimilation of all this effort and a distillation of the essence of wisdom in it. It is natural that this work has been of an analytic and diagnostic nature. We do not ignore here the very detailed plan of action recommended by the conference. Nevertheless, we all realize that implementing this plan might well be considered a dream, or at least that the process of programming for such implementation is far from being clear and that it will be several years before any significant part of this plan becomes a reality of any appreciable impact in contributing to the transformation of the world by means of science and technology.

With such considerations in mind, I decided to give this paper a prescriptive - rather than a diagnostic - slant. I endeavour to propose a course of action, within the scientific and academic domain of the United Nations University, based on work that has been going on in the Arab region for almost two years now2 and which is thought to be of relevance to the global scene. Encouragement to embark on this course stems from guidelines for our seminar which deem it essential - if the world is to become a human community - "to have a pluralism of cultures and their mutual enrichment," so that "interdependence may be a road to mutual enrichment and not an impersonalization, a halting of civilizational development."

The starting point of this research programme was the realization that the role of science and technology in bringing about significant changes in society has been considered - until quite recently - as a "technical" problem that is dealt with mainly by professional scientists and technologists. It is true that social scientists mainly economists and some sociologists - have become increasingly aware, as a result of the disappointing outcome of development effort, of the crucial role of science - and technology in particular - in this serious failure. As a rather drastic oversimplification, we might say, however, that the social scientists are not well-versed in scientific technological practices, while the scientists and technologists are still rather insensitive to the socio-political implications of their activities, and even to the full extent of their economic consequences. There is an obvious need for an interdisciplinary effort that would assimilate past experiences, diagnose the present situation, and look further into the future and the courses of action leading to achieving desirable transformations.

We will not dwell here on the results concerning analysis of past experiences3 since these conform more or less with those that have come to be recognized as typical of Third World experience over the last 30 years or so.

It would, however, be worthwhile to elaborate on certain important elements in the characterization of the present situation as specified in the study, even at the risk of being repetitive.

I. A view of the problem from within

When used to indicate underdeveloped countries with low per capita income and industrial development growth rates as compared to western industrialized countries, the expression "Third World" should not imply that this state of underdevelopment has been reached independently of events in the other "worlds." These are components of the same system and such problems cannot be discussed in isolation from the nature of current problems and developments in other parts of the world.

Despite increased world-wide awareness that the majority of the population of the Third World has reached a state of underdevelopment that renders it impossible to provide for their basic needs to any acceptable extent, no recognized solution or course of action has yet emerged. The bankruptcy of the policy of "importing" development goals, theories, and strategies has been proved, both theoretically and from bitter experience in the last three decades. Although it is now recognized that the problem encompasses the whole complex of the socio-economic - rather than the purely economic - system, our knowledge of the operation and mechanisms of such complex systems is still inadequate.

There is a need for persistent intellectual effort originating from within and leading to a specification of objectives and strategies, as well as for the choice of alternatives. Such an effort should be based on recognizing the specificity of conditions in the Third World as a whole, and within each country, and on emphasizing cooperation between Third World countries, all of this performed within an international framework of the problem.4

In the final analysis, dialogues between "North" and "South," though important and necessary, cannot in themselves lead to solving the world's problems. The crucial factor here is the ability to achieve socio-political systems that would enhance the efficiency of resource utilization. Only effective forms of such systems could provide the driving force needed to start and sustain the changes required to overcome underdevelopment on the national, regional, and international levels. Intellectual effort plays a leading role in reaching such forms of socio-political organization and is the only guarantee of the rationality of national and regional decisions.

If our world - under the impact of the revolution in communication has become very small indeed, this should not mean the obliteration of civilizations incapable of asserting themselves under the present circumstances. On the contrary, this should lead to their liberation and to the creation of a suitable climate in which they could provide humanity with the full richness of their heritage of thought, art, and values. The solution we are seeking for world problems is a solution for the whole of humanity. Thus it can only originate in the experience and heritage of all civilizations and countries. This is no call for chauvinism, nor does it mean that theories "originating from reality" are a rejection of all that is positive in another civilization, or system. Rather, it is realizing that neglecting other civilizations - past or contemporary - or failing to analyse them deeply so as to reveal the positive elements in them, will only lead to more global problems and more underdevelopment and subordination. One of the most important positive elements in western civilization is the development of science and technology and the very close links that have been forged between them, while one of its most serious negative impacts has been the obliteration of other civilizations. I single out two points in this respect.

Cultural Identity and Life Styles

The "Interfutures" report of OECD recalls that Arnold Toynbee repeatedly draws attention to the unjust consequences of the current international division of labour brought about by colonialism and to the fact that the basic negative effect of the spread of western civilization over the last two centuries has been distortion and change in the nature of other societies. This was not the result of military-economic might based on science and technology, so much as the influence of values. Garaudy wonders about the way in which we may build a history that is not monopolized by one civilization and considers this as the only salvation for humanity. The fact is that submission to the pattern of western civilization leads directly to serious consequences, such as an alien elaboration of social goals. The role of S e T will become mainly the responsibility of those who decide for us our patterns of thinking and consumption and - to a very large extent, through inevitable subordination - our socio-economic structures.

On the other hand, the independent view of the future and the search for the positive elements in our cultural heritage raise methodological and philosophical issues concerning our ability to view matters independently. Dr. Awn el-Sherif, a Sudanese politician and thinker, puts the matter succinctly by pointing out that those who brought us the tools of the new civilization did not give us the chance to suffer the bitterness of change nor to effect within our beings and minds the necessary changes conforming with the new phase we moved into, so that what is within us would harmonize with what is happening without. Formal progress on the level of material needs for society was the means for entrenching the destructive dichotomy in the life of the individual and of society, since it concerns itself with the outer appearance of the progress of society and not with its content.6

Through naive acceptance of the superiority of the western cultural model, we have tacitly adopted three basic assumptions:

- that this development pattern is desirable in itself and is suitable for our society, now and in the future.

- that its realization is possible to achieve nowadays as it has been possible to achieve in the past.

- that our own experience, so far, in following this path is encouraging.

The simple fact is that none of these assumptions is true, theoretically or empirically:

- Dissatisfaction with this model is now widespread within the industrialized societies themselves. The signs of its disruption and breakdown, materially and spiritually, are now recognized by those who have adopted it.

- This pattern was based on a level of reckless squandering of resources and disruption of the environment, which is neither possible, nor nowadays acceptable.

- Our experience, so far, is that adoption of this pattern has widened the gap between rich and poor, heightened social tensions, and led to more dependence on and subordination to the developed world, with grave political consequences that threaten world peace.

The nature of scientific-technological activity and the role assigned to science and technology are predetermined by the development pattern and life style we choose. Adopting the western model means that national effort will be restricted to importing foreign technology with its ready-made solutions developed by a far superior technological potential for the satisfaction of the social demand of goods and services that form the material basis of this life style. National S & T effort will be geared to the needs of the elite, and it stands no chance of competing with the developed world in this race. At best, our scientists and technologists will be called upon to participate in some adaptive effort or, in the extreme, to imitate the production techniques that provide these goods. There is only one viable option open to them, viz., to become integrated within the framework of a transnational corporation, at the latter's terms.

Should we, however, decide to search for alternative life styles, S & T's function will fundamentally change and its role will be to provide the technology needed to bring about the alternative styles we may choose, since none of these is available today in the developed world nor are such styles likely to interest the developed world commercially.

Rather than allow contemporary S e T as practiced outside our societies to dictate our socio-political systems and alienate us from our cultural roots, rather than let "progress" be an outside force beyond our control, we seek an order within which alienation disappears, or, at least, decreases, and within which man becomes the master of 5 & T in our societies, directing them rationally toward harmony and equilibrium with environment and resources, satisfaction of essential needs, justice, and liberation of man's faculties on the basis of the positive elements in our cultural heritage and not the dictates of profit maximization that currently prevail in international relations. This is the essence of self-reliance, reliance on liberated creativity and sound traditions. We could then speak of technology exchange as practiced nowadays between the developed countries, rather than unidirectional transfer from the centre to the periphery.

Technological self-reliance has been characterized as the autonomous capacity to:

- formulate policies and draft and implement national plans (ordering national priorities - mobilizing resources

- achieving consensus and conviction).

- make appropriate technological choices (exercise well-informed social control over technology).

- change and adapt imported technology (on the basis of systematic analysis of national as well as foreign experiences).

- exploit imported technology effectively (as judged by socio-economic criteria).

- innovate and deal effectively - whether as buyer or seller - in the world technology market to the economic advantage of the country itself.

- maintain a national cultural identity while dealing with the outside world.

Freedom and Democracy

If we agree that an Independent point of view and creative ability are necessary departure points for original patterns of development, then the issue of freedom of thought and of research and development has to be faced squarely and analysed in depth.

We are not seeking the return to a glory that has vanished. Such romantic ideas, usually tinged with sanctification of the past, make our societies museums of culture and lead to extremist and reactionary concepts that ignore the weaknesses and defects that led to the passing away of these golden ages. Creative thinking that is serious, profound, and of a high standard can only thrive in an atmosphere of freedom that encourages exploring the unknown and generating the new which may be a challenge to prevailing values and traditions.

We cannot help admitting here that the prevailing intellectual climate is not conducive to the liberation and free interaction of creative thinking.9 Development that is not a copy of another model, nor a slave to it, is bound to be the conscious effort of an educated and well-informed society, enjoying freedom of thought and expression, unfettered by pseudo-religious obscurantism and intellectual bigotry.

It is interesting to note here that such obscurantism and bigotry are usually veiled by the promotion throughout society of a view of science as a deterministic discovery of ultimate and immutable truths and not as an endeavour to understand better the world we live in. This "magical" view of science, in a stagnant autocratic society, leads to intellectual oppression and manipulation of public opinion. The label "scientific" is used as the means for validating the views and values of the power groups in society. It becomes the justification for suppressing the opinions and views of the "layman" and the "extremist," which are, by definition, "unscientific." Consequently, they are barred from discussion and involvement in the decision-making process. Let it be stated clearly here that what is at stake now is freedom for the whole of society to participate in the decision-making process and not simply a legal or formal definition of the rights of man, commendable and desirable as these may be.

Coupled with this, we meet an adulation and blind faith in technology's achievements, which are presented as great victories of the human mind and man's endeavour to master nature. This masks the hidden forces that have motivated such developments and the physical and social problems and disruption they bring about, and presents technology as a disinterested and disembodied activity worthy of admiration. It renders acquisition of the products of modern technology synonymous with progress. Even in the field of armaments, technology is depicted in euphemistic language and breath-taking glamour that hide the ugly face of death and destruction it brings with it.

Thus, integration of social and physical sciences with technology becomes an urgent need. Technological activity has to be viewed as, essentially, social action involving the whole of society. The issue of scientific freedom now becomes particularly crucial for the social sciences, since they often clash with vested interests in society.

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