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'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 newest technology.

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 policies.

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