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Dr Pandeya began the discussion by sharply opposing Dr Mori's attempt to view contemporary human problems in terms of a general big-sociological, evolutionary process. According to Dr Pandeya, arguments of this sort are based on "analogical extension" and only serve "to disguise issues and to mask uncomfortable... exploitative social realities". Such an approach becomes even more dangerous when framed in terms of sophisticated systems analysis; and if systems analysis is to be used at all, one would do better to stick with the framework put forward by Hegel - viz. that of the master and the slave, which "has perfect functionality, interdependence, mutuality, stability and equilibrium" and which in its simplicity meets all of the requirements posed by more modern analysts.
Dr Pandeya characterised the big-sociological approach as a "mixture of social-Darwinism and systems theory", to which two basic objections can be made. First of all, "presenting problems of social conflict, of exploitation and of deprivation in this large macro-context... amounts to looking at our problems from the farthest planet away from Earth, where all of the significant, important, concrete, historical and social details are obliterated" - so that what is left is a very harmonious, abstract outline. Seen in this way, "what was actually primitive accumulation dripping with blood becomes a very beautiful harmonious process, which has conferred on mankind nothing but positive benefits". The tremendous industrialization, the great increase in productivity and the scientific-technological "appropriation" serving these goals are portrayed simply as a uniform sort of progress, although the fact is that the greater part of humanity has had to pay very dearly for what has occurred. One may be able to demonstrate the existence of certain patterns at the ecological and subhuman levels; but the method of extending these patterns by analogy in order to transform social and political realities in the contemporary world does not make sense and is "dangerous". This sort of approach is one typical of "those notorious characters whom Karl Marx once described as 'the great harmonizers"'. Such people nowadays "sing the song of interdependence and of global unity", and their effective social and political message is that mankind is at present living in the best possible world that could ever be achieved. Those who seek to transform the world "must stand forewarned against such harmonizers, however sophisticated, pleasing and comforting their 'systems-frame' and their 'long-range macro-perspective' may be".
In regard to Dr Milanovic's presentation concerning the responsibility of the physician, Dr Pandeya said that the problem of improving health is not merely a problem of professional medical ethics, or of improving the access of certain social groups to high-level medical institutions. The major parties responsible for the present state of medical practice are neither individual physicians nor national medical institutions, but the transnational corporations which control the manufacture and distribution of medical equipment and pharmaceutical products. Individual physicians are often under the illusion that they are simply performing necessary social functions according to an admirable professional code; but, in fact, the medical and pharmaceutical transnationals are primarily concerned with converting problems of human health and disease into a "flourishing profit-making industry". Such corporations have a return of "more than 400 per cent... on a minimum capital investment", which means that they have one of the highest profit margins in the history of capitalism. Their hold on Third World countries is especially strong and harmful.
In the second intervention of the afternoon, Dr Celso Furtado began by saying that it is essential for any discussion about technology to make an explicit link between human actions involving given techniques and the desired goals of such actions. According to Dr Furtado, the conference had so far witnessed some confusion, because it had not yet been sufficiently stressed that it is power that constitutes the link between various forms of technology and the general goal of the transformation of the world. "By definition technology generates power, because efficiency in action is power. To mobilise or activate resources in order to increase efficiency is to generate power. Thus, the control of technology is a power resource." In order to discuss the transformation of the world realistically, therefore, it is necessary to consider the instruments of power as power resources; but it is impossible to get to the heart of the matter if one limits oneself simply to discussing tools as such.
On the question of technology forecasting, we have to remember that technology is not something that is being generated 'on another planet'. "To forecast technology is by definition to postulate the goals that people... are striving to reach", and various technological forecasts, therefore, necessarily assume that the world of tomorrow will have particular characteristics.
On the other hand, "what is the fundamental element that is commanding technological progress, now? Everybody knows that it is the arms race. Half of the resources used to develop technology after World War II came from the military budgets. The world that we are building now by means of technological progress is a by-product of the arms race." Without keeping this fact in mind, one cannot go far in understanding the present transformation of the world.
As a final point, Dr Furtado spoke about the significance of certain trends in the world economy. Although there was a long-range historical trend during the past few centuries for income to concentrate in a way advantageous to certain regions, Dr Furtado doubted whether any practical conclusions for the present moment could be drawn from this historical observation. Not only are the data available for the original trend very limited, but also it is very difficult to compare different phases in history. On the other hand, "from 1948 up to 1974, [there was] a rate of productivity increase of 3.5 per cent per annum in the developed capitalist countries and of 2.5 per cent in the Third World. If we take into account the increase in population (which was much larger in the Third World than in the centre of the capitalist system)", it can be argued that there was "a higher rate of increase of production, though not of productivity, in the periphery than in the centre of the capitalist world". Thus, likewise, the global market has been expanding more on the periphery than in the centre. Moreover, the main increases in the centre were in the service sector; and "the accumulation at the level of productive forces linked to the production of tangible goods was larger in the periphery than in the centre".
Expanding on his intervention on the previous day, British Labour MP Dr Stuart Holland stated that he did not consider the potential negative effects of technical progress to be "unavoidable and irreversible"; but not to subject techniques and technical progress to social control constitutes "a major failure on behalf of societies and political systems". Even when social control is exercised, however, "there is not simply a finite solution to many technical problems because these techniques themselves throw up new options, new problems..." and because "we have to admit that there are different options for social control in different societies with different concepts of development".
Nonetheless, "the negative consequences of many of the new forms of technical progress have still been underestimated, especially by governments". For instance, the Central Policy Review Staff unit attached to the British Government for the last ten years has "predicted that if we applied the available new technologies, the robotic and semi-robotic technologies, to the production of goods in Britain, then within 30 years we could produce all the material goods which we would then need with only 10 per cent of the existing labour force. In other words, a 90 per cent technological unemployment.
"To give one illustration, in some countries today on a purely technical basis, [it is possible to] produce steel in modern, shore-based, integrated plants with a quarter of the labour force employed in some European countries. However, this productivity is not simply a net gain. The obverse of the technical capacity is an imbalance between the steel industries of economies such as Japan or South Korea, and the decimation of virtually entire industries in some of the developed capitalist countries. And this is leading to very significant pressures for protectionism.... What this implies is that protection against technical progress and competition from very low-wage economies elsewhere in the world may well give rise to various forms of nationalism. But to stop that argument there is far too simple, because the issue is not simply [one of] free trade versus nationalism. It cannot seriously be argued that countries and societies should allow new technologies to be applied whatever the social consequences.... Many of us know well the force and dynamic of political and economic power which lies behind an unequal competition between capital and States... [and] the real world of technical progress is not the harmony and welfare of the competitive model and its myths, but a new international economic disorder...."
Anyone seeking to transform this disorder, however, must realise that it is not enough to think in terms of a "simple model of transformation". Such people must also realise that "the applications of techniques and the adaptation of systems has to be multiple; it has to vary, it has to allow a very high degree of relative autonomy to different groups, regions, States and movements". On the other hand, in more practical terms it should be kept in mind that "many of the new techniques are not highly energy-absorbing". And they are also liberating, because they can do away with much of the boring, repetitive work which alienates many people for most of their working hours. This, in turn, requires one to consider the "redistribution of the massive new productivity made possible by these technologies" as well as "the redefinition of the world of labour in different kinds of societies, and therefore [the redefinition of] the decision-making process".
Concerning international relations, Dr Holland said that some of the main problems being posed at the end of this century and the beginning of the next, such as armaments, raw materials and energy, "need a more international framework; but that may have to be based on less internationalism in all other respects. For instance, effective international security in armaments and avoidance of nuclear proliferation among many new countries only makes sense either if those countries are externally dominated (a solution which they rightly fight to reject) or [if they] have a degree of indigenous security in the management of their own economic and social base - i.e. can avoid internal and domestic crises without recourse to military adventurism. But to give greater economic security to such countries (or allow them to achieve it for themselves) may well mean that we have to accept greater autonomy or independence in their international economic policy, which could well mean their opting for lees 'free trade' as well as resisting or rejecting many of the new generation technologies." Later, Dr Holland added that since European markets were now being subjected more and more to protectionism (not only in food, steel and textiles, but also in other areas), "we should not be surprised at counter-protection elsewhere".
In the early twenty-first century "many people will not have jobs in the way we now think of employment in the productive or 'productivist' sense. But to redistribute available and new jobs will mean relating social needs and services to the productivity increases which are possible from the application of technology in the productive sector. This will have to be [based] on different models and [implemented] in different ways in different parts of the world."
When Dr Holland had finished his intervention, Prof. Tsurumi Kazuko took the floor to make two brief comments on what Dr Pandeya had said at the beginning of the discussion.
Prof. Tsurumi first of all challenged Dr Pandeya's interpretation of Imanishi Kinji's system of big-sociology. Although Imanishi had, indeed, sought to provide an alternative to the confrontational method of transformation implicit in the Darwinian model of evolution, according to Prof. Tsurumi, his approach was aimed not at harmonising irreconcilable forces in the social and political sphere, but rather at developing a non-confrontational method of transformation.
Secondly, in relation to world health problems, the Japanese experience is in accord with the position that "the multinationals are polluting the world and causing health troubles". Citing the example of Minamata, Prof. Tsurumi said that the different reactions to organic mercury pollution and its social consequences had demonstrated that "there are different types of doctors and of medical technologies". Some doctors directly or indirectly support the multi-nationals and thus delay the solution to health problems; others put their patients' interests first.
In the next intervention, Dr Rakic stressed the necessity of establishing "better links between the big-medical, psychological, social and political sciences". The relationship between the individual and his changing environment is all too often overlooked, because, on the one hand, the biological and medical sciences concentrate almost exclusive attention on the individual, while the social and political sciences, on the other hand, fail to take him sufficiently into account. Nevertheless, it is clear that many ailments typical of today's society are the expression of difficulties in the dynamic between individual human beings and their environment. For example, at the simplest level, of course, there are adaptations and illnesses which result from increased levels of chemical pollution. In fact, it is fairly easy for the human body to produce enzymes which will allow it to cope with such pollution; but even so, the problems of long-term cumulative reactions must be taken seriously. On the other hand, it is much more difficult for the human body to produce enzymes which can counter the effects of what is now being called psychological or sociological pollution. The social and mental demands that are being made, not just on a few but on huge numbers of people today, are so difficult to cope with that they cause serious physical breakdowns in many of these people. Among the illnesses which result, one can number many respiratory diseases, digestive diseases, cardiovascular diseases and a whole series of addictions. The incidence of such complaints is quite high, but it is well known that big-medical treatment alone can in most cases provide only superficial or short-term results. Such complaints are really socio-medical problems, and they require a complex multidisciplinary approach which will recognise and respect the dynamic interaction between individual human beings and the changing world in which they live.
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