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As the first speaker in the discussion, Dr Wallerstein commended Prof. Bonfil Batalla and Rector Pecujlic for reminding the conference that, besides the physical and biological sciences, the social sciences are also a part of science. He observed that most of the participants in the conference were, in [act, social scientists and that "even those who were trained as natural scientists or as engineers are speaking here in their capacity as social scientists; that is, this is a social scientific discussion of the role of science and technology in the transformation of the world. And therefore it behaves us to reflect somewhat consciously on the role of social science in the transformation of the world in the context of our discussions." It is good to emphasise endogenous intellectual creativity not only because it will give more power to presently non-powerful areas of the world and thus make for a more egalitarian world, but also because it contributes to the creation of a sounder, richer world culture.
Dr Wallerstein felt that Mr Blue had provided key categories in which to discuss the respective levels of science and technology in different cultures. Relating this to the social sciences, he said that it was not certain that Western social science has reached a higher stage than that of the rest of the world; "but in so far as it has, surely the 'fusion point' is far from having been reached: if it has not been reached in medicine, it certainly has not been reached in the social sciences, and... the point of this project is, in fact, exactly to facilitate arrival at the fusion point in the development of ecumenical social science".
Dr del Campo then took the floor to consider four points. He first of all raised several questions related to the fourth session and the introduction of the idea of power into the discussion of science and technology. One must consider both whether and precisely how the development of science and technology is affected by different political regimes, e.g. by the presence of a dictatorial or of a democratic regime. Do democratic decentralization and the cost of democracy, in fact, hamper science and technology? Or, on the other hand, can science and technology foster and be fostered by democracy?
In turn, it is necessary to consider the sorts of social structure conducive to a scientific 'take-off'. It is clear that what has traditionally been considered 'European' science in fact has many roots elsewhere; and it is also recognized that in non-European cultures knowledge was often institutionalized and was thus really science and not just 'folklore'. It is not just a coincidence, however, that Europe was able to take over the achievements of non-European peoples and use them to bring about changes in a way that no other country or civilisation had done before. As a key to explaining this difference, "it should be remembered that the use of science by Europeans took place at a time of discoveries (i.e. at a time when the world was opening up) and also,... in a context of rebellion against authority". As Dr Nakaoka pointed out for the subsequent case of Japan, each 'leap' in European science took place in a particular historical context with a particular, historically determined social structure; and the social structure both made those leaps possible and responded to them.
This makes it pertinent to consider the role which the social sciences play in the introduction of science and technology into different societies today. Can science and technology be introduced into any society, irrespective of that society's own system of social science? In many different parts of the world, attempts are being made to master the natural sciences and technology, while at the same time rejecting "as ideology what we call 'social science"'. It is therefore necessary to define exactly what is meant by 'social science' and to clarify whether this is necessarily going to be based on the social sciences developed in Europe during the nineteenth century.
Finally, Dr del Campo called the conference's attention to the special position of countries such as Spain which, strictly speaking, belong neither to the periphery nor to the core of the contemporary world economy. Such countries are "not systematically developed". They may have great literary or other traditions, and they may be specialized in certain economic sectors, but they are still dependent from the point of view of science and technology.
Dr Imré Marton followed next and spoke about the social vocation of intellectuals. Dr Marton said that the world today has too many graduates and too few real intellectuals. Democratisation in education has opened up middle and higher education to more people, and the general cultural level has been raised; but the students are not being trained as responsible intellectuals: their horizons remain fixed especially on 'getting their diplomas' and not on becoming really qualified or on diligently cultivating a critical attitude towards their societies and towards themselves. In turn, they lack creativity. At the same time, despite the increasing number of students, the contradiction between manual and intellectual labour has sharpened. "There is not only disqualification of manual labour, but also a depreciation of it." This phenomenon is not only typical of the developed world; it can, for instance, also be found in Africa. It can even be said that in conditions of underdevelopment an increase in the rate of scholarisation presents the danger of increasing the non-productive urban population. University graduates, in particular, often enter 'automatically' into parasitic government positions, relying on tribal support for their ambitions and thereby distorting not only "primitive ethnic solidarities", but also the formation of classes and nations.
According to Dr Marton, scholarisation should be extended at all levels, but it is necessary to keep the goals of educational training in sight and to establish a correlation between such training and the possibilities for using it. At present, increases in numbers of students are not linked to the requirements of economic growth. The imbalance is, of course, a function of the general dominance exercised by the Centre over the periphery, and, therefore, an adequate strategy for any genuine progress requires a global framework free from either Eurocentrism or tiermondisme and able to generate alternatives based on the accumulated experience of all three 'worlds'.
Dr Alexander Kwapong then intervened to make three observations. He said first of all that he had been struck at the recent UNCSTD conference in Vienna by the "intractable gap between science and technology, on the one hand, and the political and social processes, on the other". "Everybody agreed that one of the disappointments of UNCSTD was its failure to bring statesmen and government representatives together effectively with the scientists and technologists and to effect the necessary interaction.... " Indeed, effecting such interaction does seem to be one of the most important challenges now facing many nations in the world; and it is necessary, therefore, to "define and analyse the type of forum in which the two sides can be brought effectively together and made to interact".
Dr Kwapong's second point concerned the necessity of understanding the historical dimension in development. He considered Japanese history, for example, of special interest to Third World countries; and he especially admired Tokugawa Ieyasu (d.+1616) for having founded a dynasty which upheld Japan's national sovereignty and preserved her native culture for two centuries before the Meiji Restoration opened the way for modernization. In general, it is important for Third World countries to constantly emphasise the historical dimension, because "development is a long process of gestation" in which exogenous and endogenous factors are always interacting. And Dr Damjanovic was quite right in pointing out that real development consists not just in mastering particular technologies, but especially in creating the human skills that will be able to generate new scientific-technological innovations. Thus, one should be aware of the special importance which should be given to education, and an infrastructure of human experience must be built.
Finally, the knowledge conveyed at conferences such as the present one must be disseminated and applied to practical realities, such as answering the question of how to overcome "the all-pervading problem of corruption in national life". Even with all the best analyses of alternatives available, there will be no genuine development if politicians "take decisions which are... completely 'exogenous' to the real needs of their peoples, but very 'endogenous' to their own pockets and numbered accounts in industrialized countries". It is necessary to concentrate on dealing with this "hidden agenda which is frustrating real development"; and attention should be focused on moving from theory to practice.
Dr Pandeya then observed that a point common to all five position papers had been that, in general, "science and technology... become a force for transformation only when they are organically linked up... with the total cultural resources of a community". This "fusion" or "confluence" is the crucial prerequisite for converting science and technology from an instrument of oppression into a resource for building a new future.
In studies concerning the scientific-technological development of Third World countries, there are often "intellectual blinders" which quite effectively prevent one from seeing things correctly. On this score, the dominant academic stereotype is, perhaps, best formulated in "that famous ethnocentric question" raised by Max Weber at the beginning of the century, viz. why was it that modern science as well as the spirit of capitalism arose only in Europe? According to Dr Pandeya, this way of posing the question is based on a "false" approach to the problem; and Dr Damjanovic had provided the "long awaited corrective" when he put forward "the contrary position... that no society, primitive or overdeveloped, can reproduce and sustain itself as a society unless it has developed the capacity to generate the minimum knowledge-base necessary for its functioning and meaningful living; and one of the components of this social knowledge-base has got to be the scientific-technological one". If a society does not stress this component "in the lop-sided manner" which European civilization has done since the Renaissance, this is not necessarily because it lacks the capacity to do so, but because its "total capacity for generating knowledge" has been distributed differently from that of modern Europe. The generation and classification of knowledge (and so of science and technology) must be recognized as universal premises for all societies; and all countries are confronted with the necessity of creating and maintaining their capacity for generating knowledge. Thus, scientific-technological development must be seen in terms of the dynamics of "the stagnation or the revival of societies"; and if scientific and technological development is to take place in Third World countries, these dynamics must be tapped in order to "give rise to a leap of reclassification and re-emphasis in the basic social populace" and to generate a revitalised knowledge-base with a new "social, egalitarian purpose".
Finally, Dr Pandeya recalled that 28 per cent of the population of India is made up of tribal minorities, who economically and politically are among the most deprived groups in the entire country. In the name of preserving their cultures from the ravages of modern society, certain government programmes have at times been inaugurated which, in practice, work to turn these peoples into museum pieces. At other times, other projects were undertaken which aimed rather at remaking them in the image of modern capitalist societies. Contrary to both of these approaches, however, what is necessary is for such people themselves to consciously take their place in the transformation of the world; they certainly do not need to be confined in a mould.
In the next intervention, Dr Pinguelli Rosa noted that, although science and technology had been treated together as a unit throughout most of the conference, they are frequently distinguished quite sharply in reality. For example, as pointed out by Dr Leite Lopes, many underdeveloped countries have already devoted large investments to developing science; but, because economic and political conditions in such countries lead enterprises to buy the technologies they need from the multinational corporations, the scientific institutions which are set up remain isolated from technological research and development that might be advantageously utilised for transforming the structure of production in these countries. The internationalisation of science and technology which is at present taking place is certainly one that is being imposed by the multinational corporations; but this internationalisation must be considered in detail, and it is not sufficient merely to take it as "an immutable input data".
Dr Pinguelli Rosa also noted that throughout the conference there had been an ambivalence towards science and technology: at one moment they had been treated as good things which had to be imported for the national welfare; at the next, they were considered bad things which brought about harmful effects, socially and otherwise. In fact, "the underdeveloped countries sometimes... have to start from things that rich countries have established"; but this is no reason to remain passive when confronted by the policies of the multinational corporations. Instead, it is necessary to break the hold of the multinationals and to devise a new sort of internationalisation of science and technology.
In a short comment on Dr Pinguelli Rosa's intervention, Dr. Abdel-Malek said that simplistic assertions which label science and technology as good or bad in themselves amount to a denial of the role which politics play in the world. Yet it is precisely because of the political dimension that different countries and different sorts of countries have "conflicting and often antagonistic priorities", in relation, among other things, to scientific-technological development. For this reason peoples in the developing countries must reject the various forms of interest-laden obscurantism advanced in relation to science and technology, and they must define their own goals and priorities themselves. Now, at present, "in major countries of the so-called 'South', the forces of the popular movements, the peasants, workers and intelligentsia, are running frontally against the crescendo of scientism in the West.... At the same time, they are being made aware that the rush towards development... will allow itself to be collared in an inevitable deadlock unless a different civilisational pattern can be proposed." According to Dr Abdel-Malek, the project of defining such a pattern is a matter neither of evading political reality nor of cultural escapism, but rather "of linking power and culture". It requires not utopianism but realistic fraternal visions.
In the last intervention of the evening, Dr. Furtado called the attention of the conference to "the danger of certain concepts, such as that of ecumenical science". Observing that the fundamental problem facing the conference was the relationship between science and civilization, Dr Furtado warned against the illusion of believing that science as it is practiced at any particular moment might be the only possible science, fully comprehensive and exhaustive. The problems with which science deals at any point in time are conditioned by particular social relations, ruling groups, power systems and financial resources; and thus it is necessary to keep in mind that science may be "more ecumenical to one particular civilisation" which is dominant than to others which are "striving to survive".
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