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"The proclamation of political independence did not change the nature of the economic system in those countries - it was rather an opening toward their domination by Great Britain. At the same time, an ideology was taking form which stated that the process of economic development was a kind of game, of free competition, in which the most intelligent and most dynamic peoples are successful." But, in fact, "political and economic domination..." prevented other societies and other peoples from competing in these games.
"And inside our countries, the national ruling classes, partners of those in the dominating foreign powers, developed an ideology according to which our countries have a vocation for the exportation of raw materials necessary to the expansion of the capitalist industrialised countries."
Subsequently, in the early twentieth century, the transformation of the Latin American economies by means of import-substitution industrialisation "had as a direct consequence the importation and imitation of products and of means of production invented abroad, [that is], the purchase of technology developed in the advanced countries". But, contrary to the cases of such 'economically sovereign' latecomers to industrialisation as Germany, Japan and the USA, "the search for manufactured products equal or similar to those which were imported led immediately to a technological dependence", since "the scientific and technical knowledge necessary to industrialisation. were incorporated in the machines and plants imported from abroad".
This situation naturally enough had its reflection in a system of education in which scientific and technical training played a relatively small part. Originally, "the absence of industries implied no need for technological and scientific research institutes..."; but "following the industrialisation process many universities and scientific laboratories were founded or further supported and developed". However, in spite of this expansion of science, culture and the university system, the industries owned by Latin American industrialists still "depend basically on imported machinery and technology".
"... Associated to foreign enterprises from which they buy equipment and technical assistance, the national industries in Latin America almost never called for technical services from the national technological institutes. In this way, Latin American universities have generally been dissociated from studies for economic projects, [and] scientists and technologists have not been called upon to help make fundamental decisions in the formulation of economic-development programmes in these countries", whereas "in the advanced industrialised countries of the world... machines and plants that are invented depend on intensive technological research", which is, in tum, "based on investigation in the fundamental sciences that is carried out in their own institutes and universities".
Given such conditions, disillusionment would not be a surprising reaction on the part of scientists and research engineers hoping to contribute to the development of their countries, but the situation has been made even blacker by government decisions in the last twenty years aiming to "base development on the implantation of affiliates of multinational enterprises". In order to justify such decisions, "technocrats utilise the myth of technology-transfer" - but it is clear that "installation of plants by multinational enterprises... does not imply any transfer of technical and scientific knowledge, [since] the imported machines are invented, designed and built abroad, and the plans for making goods locally cannot be changed by the local national engineers'. Even if we set aside the question of whether these industrial products are really the ones which our populations need", it is clear that "the capacity for technological innovation" and "for technological invention is not transferred by multinational enterprises". "The integration of most of Latin America into the economic-cultural market of the industrial capitalist nations has thus led inevitably to an aggravation of dependence" in which "science and technology have become luxury import products - sometimes locally produced by and for a few"; and it is therefore "meaningless to urge the formulation of strategies for scientific and technological development in our nations if a corresponding political strategy is not analysed and formulated for changing the economic pattern of these countries".
Nowadays, of course, there are those who insist that developing countries "must develop only the so called intermediate technologies, leaving the fields of advanced science and technology, the so-called big science or hard science, to the industrialised nations.... But the principle that developing nations must not have access to certain fields of knowledge is unacceptable - it would be an attempt at freezing the present division of the world into rich and poor nations, at perpetuating the international division of labour.
"Of course, appropriate technologies, in the sense that they should be financially, economically, ecologically adequate and serve the ideals of improving the living conditions of the whole community, not the interests of a privileged minority, such appropriate technologies are to be recommended not only to developing nations, but also to the rich industrialised countries", who are in fact the chief offenders in "the indiscriminate burning of fossil fuels", in "the indiscriminate exportation of sophisticated equipment... to poorer countries" simply to make a fast profit, and in the "indiscriminate automation of industries and services", as if science and technology had as their goal the liberation of people from work - in order to condemn them to unemployment and deprivation.
How are developing countries, then, to support the development of 'hard science'? It must be conceded that "a given country, with its specific resources, cannot always develop an arbitrarily chosen technology", but "even the nations of Western Europe had to... pool their physicists, technicians and financial means in order to establish a high-energy physics laboratory - the CERN...." Is it not worth imitating this idea of "pooling human and material resources among nations of a given region of the world"? "In this way is not the capacity of developing countries going to be enhanced, multiplied by a significant factor, are not fields of science and technology then open to such a group of nations, each of which would be unable to develop them in isolation?"
"Science, we have been taught - and we like to repeat it - works for mankind, for the benefit of man, for the liberation of man from work. Science and technology are, indeed, so powerful as to be able to send man into cosmic space. Are they, however, not impeded from improving the living conditions of the poor and exploited masses in Africa, in Asia, in Latin America?"
"As we follow the marvellous history of the elaboration of our scientific image of the Universe, we are tempted to say that science is a unique and universal system of knowledge, politically neutral and standing above ideologies.
"Scientific laws are, of course, valid whatever the laboratory of whatever country in which you make experiments to verify them. But science is not only a catalogue of data, names and statements. Scientific research is a dynamic process which includes the interaction of the scientific community with its surroundings, with political and social forces. The motivations for research, its planning and funding are not politically neutral, for science, in forming an interpreted picture of the world, gives us instruments for changing that world."
It is the totality of results arising from the broad spectrum of research being done which constitutes the distinct domains of science, "and it would not be correct to say that this ensemble is free from social, economic and even political significance". As Dr Rosa would also point out during the fourth session, it would clearly be inappropriate to say so of the field of nuclear energy physics simply because Einstein's fundamental work on this subject had a purely theoretical motivation.
"... Contemporary science nourishes all kinds of technologies that are responsible for change in our world...: from the technology of food production to the technology of the production of the most dreadful and destructive weapon systems. Scientists are thus naturally incited to think about the social, economic and political consequences of scientific research, even if their own personal work involves only abstract ideas", and "scientists belonging to countries of the Third World, in particular, are naturally led to meditate on the role which science and technology may have in the making of their societies.... In a developing country whose economy is dominated by multinational enterprises, the research work carried out in national research institutes and universities does not generally have applications for the benefit of that country, since such enterprises use their own scientific end technological knowledge"; and scientists of the developing nations can thus hardly escape the conclusion that the development of science and technology in their own countries presupposes the search for a political system whose concern will be the welfare of the whole population.
"The following questions are thus appropriate in a symposium such as the present one: which science and which culture, for which project of society in which world?
"Is the aim of science and technology to liberate man or to establish a world ruled by repression of the many poor by the few rich?
"To my mind, there can be no other answer: science and technology must liberate man, and by that I do not mean only men and women of the advanced societies - we must work for liberation of all men and women everywhere so that science will fulfil its vocation of universality and become a patrimony of all mankind."
Since we have already given a direct translation of the opening sections of the position paper by Yves Barel, Paradigmes scientifique et autodétermination humaine, we need only take up here with the analytical passages that followed.
It will be recalled that the incidents and situations described at the beginning of this chapter - the financial and technological dependence of Third World countries, the cultural impasses of students sent to study in the developed world's universities, the misery of the traditional peasantry, the alienation of workers and consumers in the metropolitan centres themselves - all of these were brought up in order to stress the role of science and technology in the modern world. This role is directly obvious in some cases. In others it is much more indirect and difficult to discern immediately: one might get the impression that just a bit more 'communication and understanding', just a bit more 'conviviality' and 'human warmth', will be enough to fill the gaps and avoid the tragedies. How can modern science and technologies be implicated in what are, after all, the results of human shortcomings? In the case of the forest fires in Provence, for example, the effectiveness of modern equipment 'in itself' is beyond doubt; but the equipment is paralysed simply because the area has become a 'human desert'. If one delves beneath the surface, however, in order to explore some of the "multiple mediations structuring the vicious circle of the social and the scientific", it becomes clear that the human desert of our example is itself "the result of a habitual intermeshing of socio-economic interests and the insistence with which these interests use science and technology to consolidate their power...; a cultural atmosphere has been created which forces scorn on all that is not 'scientific', on all that is connected with the traditional knowledge of the peasantry or the ordinary people". And if individual scientific or technical undertakings meet with failure, this is in a certain sense because "an entire, global socio-economic system tries to root itself in science and things technical...". Or should we perhaps say - because scientific and technical terms are invoked to justify the functioning and the real priorities of the system? In any case, while it may be correct to say that science is becoming a directly productive force, "it must not be forgotten... that 'science' does not act on 'society', but that society acts in science, and science in society. The one is not 'outside' of the other."
Now in all of the examples cited above, science and technology can be seen playing a certain role in processes that tended to "dispossess individuals, groups and nations of their powers and abilities for determining themselves.... Science and techniques contribute to the production and reproduction of a gap between 'those who know' and those who don't, and this gap, in turn, poses a problem of power and a problem of decision. Those who have power and the determination to make use of it have only too much of a tendency to insist on the passivity, limitations, resignation, social and cultural dependence... of those over whom they have power and 'for whom' they want something..."; and abandonment of human self-determination becomes part of a new ('soft') form of the dialectic between master and slave. One is caught, as it were, in an antinomy: science and technology are necessary for liberation, but they themselves forge new links in the chains of slavery.
"Science and technical knowledge are implicated in the multiplication of social systems that one can term essentially heteronomising (i.e. based on the distinction between a Centre that decides and a periphery that is set in motion from outside)". While heteronomy is often a good principle for building machines, it is certainly "doubtful whether this is so for living systems", and even more so (we might add) for social systems. The 'crisis of representative government' provides us with a case in point: what is being stressed is not the many imperfections of the system, but the fact that the system itself is becoming a factor of social fragmentation. "It is not the weakness of the Centre that is to be considered responsible for this fragmentation (as the traditional authoritarian ideologies pretend), but rather it's the fact that representative government, when consistently carried through, sets in motion a logic of reinforcement of the Centre and eventually always takes the place of the people in deciding what they want." Science and technical knowledge likewise are incorporated within this representational field, their aim being "to represent the symbolic activity and the cultural creation of the entire population", just as politicians, judges and administrators are "supposed to represent the political and social will of the population". "In other words, the representational system makes itself heteronomising, with the complicity of science and technical skill."
Dr Barel explained that he was by no means attempting to plead in favour of undemocratic alternatives, whether past or present, but he insisted on cutting through illusions about 'formal democracy'. For "the truth is that there are both soft and hard versions of authoritarianism" and "the final effect on the cohesion and the dynamism of a society is only partially a function of this relative 'hardness' or 'softness' ". Compared with the situation today, many types of government in the past which we now consider quite 'hard' left much more room for popular initiative, simply because they lacked the sophisticated means now available for intervention and control. Of course, the choice between the carrot and the stick is "not a matter of indifference for the concrete everyday life of the population. But in both cases the capacity and desire for self-determination is placed in question; and it cannot be excluded that the scope of heteronomy will be extended all the more in so far as this questioning is done with subtlety. And in regard to effectiveness, it would take a good deal of naïvety to suppose that strong-arm methods of social control always necessarily 'work better' than soft ones."
In this regard, it is particularly mistaken to depict science as absolutely distinct from the society in which it is practiced or as possessing a character, whether neutral or beneficent, based only upon an immutable methodology. "Scientific and technical knowledge definitely pose a problem from the point of view of the current and future destiny of human self determination"; but in the final analysis this problem is rooted in both science and society, and not in the latter alone - it is, if you will, "socio-epistemological".
The general domain of the socio-epistemological is structured by the perennial conflict of two broad approaches, which can be designated, respectively, as the "mechanical" paradigm and the "dialectical" (or "structural") paradigm. "Schematically, it can be said that the mechanical paradigm describes the totality of the movements of matter or on matter which do not result in a modification in its structure or in the 'substance' of which it is constituted.... But there are also cases in which the movement of or on matter leads to a modification of its structure, to an internal transformation of material substances.... One then is concerned with a movement which is conventionally termed structural. In short, we can say that matter either endures or is transformed."
Several remarks are in order here.
First of all, the conflict between the two paradigms is one in which each strives for total dominance of the field of representation; but nevertheless "the total victory of one paradigm over the other can never be achieved. It is always as if human thought and know-how have to confront a paradox: in order to give meaning to the world and to human action, it's necessary to choose one of the two arch-types or paradigms; and at the same time, it is impossible to choose.... But action is in itself a decision which cannot be accommodated to the undecidability of its symbolism. And nevertheless it must accommodate itself... [for] when the choice of a paradigm has been made, people still realise that the choice leaves certain problems in suspense." The polarity between the paradigms, in turn, comes to be invoked as a "symbolic strategy", as a "human ploy" for dealing with the world and the representation of the world; and in societies that are divided into classes, each class and social group necessarily seeks to impose its own socio-epistemological model, which will give priorities for thought and action.
Secondly, it should be stressed that analysis of the strategy guiding contemporary science can lead to quite mistaken conclusions unless the interplay of paradigms is studied in its complexity, and not just abstractly. For example, "it is no longer possible to say that the mechanical paradigm ignores structures and that the structural paradigm takes them into account". For "mechanism has gone very far in taking structures into consideration, and it is not on this point that it can be differentiated from the structural paradigm. Mechanism assumes that however far one may go in the apprehension or transformation of things, there always comes a moment eventually when one is concerned with a 'substance', an entity, an element which can not be penetrated, decomposed, de-structured or restructured. Somewhere there is something which is, which is invariable or which, if it changes, does so without 'reason' or laws.... For the sake of convenience and brevity, this bastard structuralism which springs from a discreet but determinant mechanism can be termed 'light' structuralism or structural mechanism. 'Heavy structuralism', on the other hand, "'simply'" puts into doubt the hypothesis of the existence of primordial elements which is assumed by structural mechanism; and it admits, at least at the level of conjecture, that (since many things in the world are structured) perhaps everything is - everything 'thus' being susceptible to change."
It seems that certain domains of theoretical physics best embody 'heavy' structuralism. Yet, despite the prestige attached to theoretical physics, it is structural mechanism which now "dominates the symbolic stage"; and of the various sciences it would seem that molecular biology is perhaps most representative of the dominant model. If, moreover, one admits the validity of parallelisms between different levels of socio-epistemological organisation, it is quite easy to see the clear correlations between the way in which the modern industrial plant functions and the way in which molecular biology characterises life: in both cases, one witnesses "the same model of organisation; which - by 'structurising' mechanism - also really and symbolically opens up the field for a mechanisation of structures that is without precedent in history. To the effect that, in a certain manner, one is witnessing an unprecedented dilation of the mechanical paradigm." Now, whereas the dialectical-structural paradigm is founded "on a genuine self-programming and self-finalisation of a given system", the various forms of the mechanical paradigm, on the other hand, are based on a "pre-programming external to the system to be regulated". We thus come back within the socio-epistemological perspective to the problem of human self-determination.
Given the current dominance of the mechanistic paradigm, human self-determination is menaced by a severe contraction of its horizons: several tendencies contribute to this contraction, and the role of science in some of them can even be considered central. The first tendency is towards the automation of technical systems in relation not to 'mankind' in general but precisely to those who work with such systems, and it is important to understand that the option to make workers serve machines, rather than vice versa, is a socio-epistemological choice and not just a narrowly technical one. As pointed out by Dr Tomovic, this orientation was embarked upon already at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution; it underwent a qualitative development at the beginning of this century with the introduction of Taylorism, and while Taylorism as such may well be on the decline (as certain analysts claim), this is largely because its scope was limited to certain types of manual labour. In fact, Taylorism should probably be seen as a rather primitive example of "the algorithmisation of labour ' (i.e. the division of the labour process into minute, detachable units, in terms both of organisation; and of products), which has for some time been increasingly felt not only by productive workers, but also by service and administrative personnel as well. This algorithmisation has, in turn, brought about a deep alteration in the role played by the State in all types of social work. Additionally, it now seems that we are undergoing an extension of algorithmisation to activities beyond the place of employment, and this extension is carried out as a reaction to the social vacuum characteristic of today's 'advanced societies'. Within the centres of power, "there thus arises the idea that it is necessary to reconstruct the social fabric, to fill the vacuum and to make the population 'participate' in such a manner that the population itself will take on a measure of regulation and social control". As noted also by Dr Kawano during the second session: "There is talk of decentralisation of participation, of community movements, and even sometimes of self-management, and a few (rather shy, we must admit) attempts have even been made in this direction. But with this 'withdrawal' of the State the only thing at stake is the division of labour, not the division of power... the centre withdraws or makes itself discreet at the level of direct action or of institutions, while hoping that this absence will be compensated by a heightened presence of its own norms."
Unlike 'traditional' ideologies and moralities, these norms are not necessarily advanced in an openly insistent fashion. At times the explicit normative message is even consciously hidden under an aura of 'neutrality' (the technico-scientific garb is especially important here, most notably for the medical ideologies), as the important points are conveyed indirectly within the 'deep structure' of the message. The 'crisis of values' itself becomes a means of normalisation with the implementation of subtle techniques for the manipulation of permissiveness and the programmed introduction of 'novelties' which in practice only strengthen the status quo. In such circumstances a colloquial phrase perhaps comes closest to the truth of present-day social control: 'they've almost got it down to a science'. According to the logic of the system, the 'traditional intelligentsia' which was directly linked to the aims of such control is being replaced by certain segments of the middle classes whose horizon is limited by their fascination with means. All of this is almost as if one were "simulating a conflict between our two paradigms by imitating the real conflict which is simultaneously hidden and revealed by the symbolic ploy of structural mechanism in circumstances in which this form of ploy remains dominant, while more and more showing its narrow limits".
In order to challenge the dominant system, "it is necessary to start from the durable character" of the conflict between the two paradigms and to link this to the relative pertinence of each. The challenge must focus on the following point: "as a paradoxical strategy, structural mechanism has the peculiarity of placing the equivocacy of choice and non-choice between the two paradigms at the service of a goal which is not equivocal, and which is the mechanisation of structures. This mechanisation is almost the antithesis of human self-determination. The new "ploy" - if it is new - can only consist then in organising a conflict of the two paradigms which will give priority to self-determination over mechanisation
Dr A. N. Pandeya gave an oral presentation on the topic of Imagination, insight and understanding: reflections on the culture of science in a changing world. Dr Pandeya took as the starting point of his reflection a aphorism from Karl Marx to the effect that "minds are always connected by invisible threads with the body of the people"; and in developing this insight, he stressed that the transformation of minds (for example, in the sciences) and the transformation of the body of the people are necessarily very closely linked together. There is a dialectical relationship between the minds and the body of any people, and "one cannot inaugurate a transformation of minds without a transformation of the body of the people" as well. Returning to the image of invisible threads, Dr Pandeya pointed out that in Sanskrit a seminal insight into the nature of things was called a sutra, i.e. a thread, and that seminal minds of a civilization are termed sutracal or makers of threads of reflective interrogations, insights and conclusions.
In considering science as a cultural force in the transformation from domination to liberation in the world today, "we are confronted not with science in the singular, but in the plural... [for] there are three forms of scientific practice and scientific product which confront us today".
The first of these is "the science which generates technology, which then [in turn] becomes a major force for transforming the productive forces and the productive capacities of a given society". Because of the historical circumstances in which this science was developed, however, it was for a long time "completely co-opted and controlled" by the forces governing the development of capitalism. Nowadays, however, this monopolisation of the forces of science is no longer the case, since there is "an alternative socialist order" which has demonstrated new ways in which the tremendous powers of science can be tapped and utilised.
Secondly, there are "the social, human and cultural sciences developed during the revolutionary phase" of bourgeois society, which today form "the core of its ideological apparatus, utilised to sustain and legitimise its powers, its domination and its repressive functions". From the point of view of those in the Third World, this ideological apparatus has in the last 150 years increased in terms both of sophistication and of sheer range of operation. National boundaries no longer limit its operations; it has become a "global force", and developments in Washington are quickly felt in India, Africa and Latin America.
Lastly, there is what Dr Pandeya termed "revolutionising science, science for "revolutionising given structures and formations." This form of science was inaugurated by Marx during the middle of the last century on the basis of a critique of the human and social sciences of the day, and it poses the problem of developing critical forms of thought and action aimed at creating "a new social, cultural and human order". This form of science is "the crux of the problem" of the transformation of the modern world, but it is also "the most ignored in all of our philosophical, sociological and scientific discussions"; in fact, "since Karl Marx passed away from the scene, this critical revolutionary form of social human science has not advanced significantly beyond where he left it".
"It is possible for people in the north of the socialist world and in the capitalist world to continue to ignore this science... because what confronts them today as the major and central problem on the agenda in their society is not so much that of a revolutionary re-structuring or transformation, as one of continued reproduction of the present order... [Yet] more than three-fourths of humanity today will not have any just possibility of moving from domination to liberation unless this neglected approach is taken up vigorously and methodically"; and in order to accomplish this task, it is more than ever necessary to reassert the necessity of establishing tightly woven cultural bonds which unite this form of scientific analysis with the life of the people.
The growth of such a culture will require a confluence of three elements. First of all, insights developed by "revolutionising science must be effectively communicated in a form which can directly reach the "basic critical audience, namely, the people. You will not have a science-founded culture for revolutionary transformation unless this missing link of communicating the scientific insights for policy, for action, for strategic and revolutionary purposes is restored and strengthened." Nevertheless, this will definitely be an uphill battle, for the existing channels of communication in the first world and in most of the third world "will not permit this kind of thing to happen"; and it is likewise "very doubtful whether it could happen again" even in the socialist world. Secondly, this communication of scientific insight will only quicken the social consciousness of the people when their notion of culture itself has been redefined and expanded to include not only what might be termed their social memory, but also their social imagination - that is, their "capacity to imagine and look forward in a prospective, courageous, bold manner to conceptualise and visualise concretely... the possibilities open to them". And thirdly, a new period of cultural flourishing will only be possible in so far as "the capacity for critical appraisal and critical reflection" becomes "a socially shared capacity", "and the essence of this new culture... will be possible only if we reach a point where the critical scientific insights of seminal minds reflecting on this theme become shareable in the way in which ordinary artifacts today are shareable".
The task of fulfilling such conditions will undoubtedly be difficult, but "in the absence of these prerequisites the hope of movement from domination to liberation will remain a pipe-dream".
In introducing his straightforwardly titled paper, Technology and society, Dr Rajko Tomovic took up a question raised by Dr Lefebvre and observed that there is actually a double mystification of the relationship between science and technology. Dr Tomovic observed that "especially in the academic world, there is a trend to identify each new basic knowledge with technology" and to assume that technological innovation follows fairly automatically from scientific advance. In fact, however, the development of new technologies is, of course, a highly autonomous field of activity governed by forces quite distinct from purely scientific considerations, and technology forecasting and assessment is consequently now emerging as a new but prominent part of all national and international planning. At a geopolitical level, "there are only a few industrial powers which can generate technology out of basic knowledge", and "the speed of technological progress has increased so much that without a strategy of technological development the economic and defensive capabilities of any country may be seriously undermined". Another form of mystification of the relationship between science and technology lies in the idea that specific forms of technological development are necessitated by the nature of the scientific knowledge upon which they have been based. "This phenomenon [of mystification] is happening regularly with all advances in technology, and not just with information. It happened with cybernetics, and it is happening now with artificial intelligence, with robotics, and so on. I think that intentional mystification is a powerful manipulative tool used to divert attention from real social problems and on to advances in technology."
Perhaps the social and political functions performed by technology today can best be understood by reviewing the general conditions under which modern technology emerged. From a historical point of view, of course, the development of modern technology is a fairly recent event, taking place as it did during the middle of the eighteenth century with the advent of the steam engine and the first automatic regulator devices. Nevertheless, it is often difficult for us to imagine how much conditions have changed since that time. "In 1750 most tools used by farmers were made either by the village blacksmith or by the farmer himself. It was only about 1850 that the equipment of the farm started coming in increasing quantities from the factories"; and yet even at that time "the structure of the working force... in England was such that the number of blacksmiths exceeded the number of iron-workers by nearly 50 per cent. On the other hand, there were nearly twice as many tailors as railway employees." Despite the technological advances ushered in by the Industrial Revolution, the conscious integration of science, technology and research was "almost non-existent until the middle of the nineteenth century"; and the extension of facilities for technical education was really only undertaken during the 1850s and 1860s. "The middle of the nineteenth century may also be taken as the beginning of a proper engineering education in Europe", and passages taken from the official university documents of that time are "highly instructive of the contempt prevailing in academic circles towards engineering". From the beginning of the Industrial Revolution until the end of the nineteenth century, the domination of private forms of property and the extension of colonial rule were perhaps the most general conditions shaping the "basic social goals" which governed the development of technology. Let us consider four such goals or principles.
(1) Mass-production. "The fundamental idea of developing industrial production on the principle of replaceable parts is not more than 130-140 years old." Implementation of this principle led "immediately to specialisation of production, assembly lines and services. Without such an approach many of the goods such as housing, domestic appliances, cars, television sets, etc., would remain the privileges of very restricted groups. Let us not forget that even shoes and socks were once reserved just for the aristocracy. Democratisation of potential access to goods of all kinds is definitely the historical asset of modern technology".
(2) Profit optimalisation. Although "profit motivation played the role of the single major factor affecting the functioning, organisation and management of production processes" during the period in which modern technology was developed, there are, in fact, "very few studies based on the interaction of the profit motivation and technology"; but we can observe that two of the most negative effects of this interaction have been the absurd destruction of man's natural environment and the stultifying conditions of life and labour typical of the modern world.
(3) Use of natural resources. "The squandering of both renewable and nonrenewable natural resources has been one of the most striking characteristics of the development of modern technology to date. It requires little imagination to understand the absurdity of the idea of building megapolises in which three or four tons of steel and several hundred litres of gasoline must be consumed each month by a single family for transportation." In this respect, a clear distinction must be made between the principle of mass production and that of the consumer society: "consumer technology, including marketing and advertising, is meant to satisfy not just the average human needs, but artificially derived demands as well".
(4) Management. "The socio-economic conditions upon which our technological civilisation is based have left a very deep impact in this area... [and] the fundamental principle prevailing in the practice of management technologies is that of rule by authority based upon hierarchy rather than upon full involvement of all those concerned." Consequently, at a general level "our civilization, with minor exceptions, favours rule by an élite". This is especially true at the place of work, where, despite principles of political equality, one is "ruled by "orders and decrees" issued by élites based on hierarchy, property or education"; this fact is all the more striking because "such management in organizational principles is practiced equally in societies based on private ownership and those based on state ownership of factories".
"Evidently such an undemocratic treatment of human beings cannot be maintained without a vast spectrum of repression and manipulation. One of the most subtle and dangerous forms of manipulation is deeply rooted in the prevailing educational systems" which provide "the cultural background for social inequality" and which oblige students "to become part of a competitive system in which the success of one individual necessarily depends on the failure of the others". The educational system reflects the existing relations of production and tends to reproduce them; it favours not "the most 'talented' but the most ambitious: those who have the ambition to 'improve themselves socially', by accepting the disciplinary, hierarchical nature of the school...".
On the basis of this evaluation of the historical development of modern technology, Dr Tomovic proceeded to consider the technological prospects for the future; and he started from the basic proposition that the technological and productive potentials of the world are at such a level that "for the first time in its history, mankind disposes of productive facilities which, in principle, do not require discrimination in terms of goods in order to satisfy the basic needs of mankind (clothing, food, housing, public transportation, education, health care). Such a goal is at least technologically feasible. As a matter of fact, other factors beyond technology are still preventing faster progress in this direction."
Now, it is especially in the realm of 'software' that the greatest potential for technological progress lies. While "individual creativity and heuristic approaches were the most frequent tools of technological progress in the eighteenth century", new informational technologies now make it possible "to manage, organise and implement the transfer of new scientific knowledge into practice in all fields of human activities. By mastering this most complicated transfer process, the pro" motion of technology becomes an organised social activity...." Dr Tomovic also said that another radical change which will continue to affect the interaction of technology and society in the future lies in the fact that, "in contrast to the extreme concentration of technological power in terms of nations and regions in the past,... know-how, advanced industry, the promotion of new technologies are no longer the privileges of a few nations in the western world. All European nations are today technologically developed. In addition, nations in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East are also in possession of powerful industries and technological resources. Such a profound change in the distribution of technological power across the world together with the fall of colonial rule have laid down the basis for a global order of equality of nations" which will be able to replace the old order of domination and monopolistic control.
Moreover, "the once homogeneous socio-political system of governing now represents but a part of the global order, and socialist ideas have become... the founding principles and guidelines of many nations, both large and small". In these circumstances, technology cannot be adequately assessed in terms of profit optimalisation alone. Its significance must be evaluated in a much broader context, in the light of its implications for the urban environment, health and human rights at the place of work.
Contemporary society continues to set new requirements on technology, and the following are a few of the most important fields in which demands for new development are being felt.
(1) Urban technology. Palliative measures cannot resolve the problems of the urban crisis. The basic approach to urban development must be changed; emphasis must be placed, for example, on providing better opportunities for human contacts, and new technologies must aim at finding a better balance between economic constraints and real human needs.
(2) Health-care delivery systems. This field probably constitutes "the great area of challenge and expectation for the future." Nevertheless, "medical instrumentation, hospital management and the existing organizational institutions are still unable to accomplish the transition from centuries of "small-scale operations" to the full coverage of citizens' demands for health services. Our current knowledge in the fields of automation, electronics, computers and telecommunications, etc., is such that, with the concurrent efforts of science, technology and organised social forces, it actually is possible to assure a much better functioning of large-scale health-care delivery systems" than is now available; but failure to give attention to problems in this area "reflects incorrect social priorities rather than the deficiencies of current technology".
(3) Management technology. In the past, some of the most adverse effects on the dignity of working people were due to their subordination to elitist and hierarchical forms of decision-making. Nowadays, given the proper social and professional sense of determination, the advent of modern automation and the computer makes any kind of non-creative, degrading human work obsolete; and "the basic question of today is not mass production but the human factor".
In conclusion it can be said that "the fundamental goal of social and technological endeavours must become the right of each man to become free, not only in terms of civil rights, but in a much deeper sense".
"... The interaction of society and technology has reached such a level that the strategy of technological development must take into consideration not only economic values, but the full richness of the human factor as well... It will most probably take another hundred years before the transition will be effected from profit-motivated and economic-growth-oriented development to a technology dominated by the human factor. But the transition has already started, and we are on the road of no return...."
"As pointed out above, the academic institutions of the first Industrial Revolution were not very anxious to dedicate their intellectual resources to engineering and technology. This time the university is given another chance to assume a leading role in a time of transition. We should not stand by, passively watching the emergence of new relations between society and technology."
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