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Appendix 1 Reports on sections and general report on the international seminar
The orientations, as well as tonality, of the discussions dealing with each of the four main themes of the International Seminar were summarised in the four Reports on each of the four themes, as submitted for the final plenary discussion.
In his report on the first theme, Science and technology as formative factors of contemporary civilization: from domination to liberation, Dr James A. Maraj thus summarised the "sharpening of differences which had emerged" and the positions arrived at:
"(a) There is a need for a much more vigorous examination of the relationship between the way a technology is applied, the technology itself and the basic science from which it grew.
"(b) In pursuing the examination, attention should be focused on the role of technology as a factor in the social, economic and cultural aspects taken individually and cumulatively. The interaction between the various aspects should also be closely observed as well as such matters as: Is the problem one of technology itself or of its management, or of the resource base? etc.
"(c) It is particularly important to re-examine these relationships as we are entering a new era following the current world crisis.
"(d) Technology is not an end in itself. It has been preconditioned by social goals and these goals need to be clearly articulated. In particular, the human factor has to be emphasised, not only from the standpoint of the individual, but also from that of the social group, as we strive towards egalitarianism in terms of equality of opportunity. The search for a fraternal, convivial society should recognise both cultural identity and diversity.
"(e) In accepting the proposition that science and technology are socially conditioned, it was thought that it would be useful to study the application of various specific technologies to determine whether the goals being pursued are in fact being achieved or whether the technologies imposed by wrong motivations themselves alter the character and the nature of the technology.
"(f) While recognising that various dilemmas would have to be confronted, it was thought that some of these could be made less difficult to cope with, if clearly defined social criteria could be stated and adequate methods agreed upon for assessing and forecasting technologies.
"(g) It was noted that while science has to a large extent been decentralized, this is not so with technological development. The latter is still heavily monopolised by a few powers.
"(h) The link between technological development proceeding from a scientific base was seriously questioned, and several reasons were given for the non-automatic emergence of technological development even where a strong science base existed.
"(i) It was concluded that the various parameters of the social field had to be carefully examined before deciding on technological development or adaptation and that the entire social system itself would be the determinant of the extent to which technological development would succeed in effective transformation."
Dr Cuthbert K. Omari, in his report on theme two, Technology generation and transfer: transformation alternatives, noted the elaboration of the following points:
"In relation to the transfer of technology from developed to developing countries it was observed that there is a problem of language. Usually the technological tool or technique developed in western countries has a functional role. There is meaning attached to it. When it is transferred to the developing countries whose language is not the original language in which the technology was invented, it becomes a problem, for the people using it will have no relation to the original meaning of the name given to the tool or the part of the machine. Always the language of invention has a symbolic meaning. This problem of imitation and appropriation was further elaborated by giving examples of African experiences.
(a) Most countries have different languages within one country; but, if there is one language, transfer may be easier.
(b) The problem of under-population was also noted; this is a problem in relation to the mobilization of productive forces and the marketing system.
"It was noted, however, that a country whose traditional technology had reached a certain level might adopt a foreign technology with fewer problems.
"In relation to Africa a question was raised as to what extent an African can become modern without losing his/her identity. How one can remain in the past, tradition, without bringing about stagnation in social development? This point was not discussed fully.
"It was also pointed out that we are witnessing universalism in our days. People share the same cultures, but this again has its perils. It may bring about conflicts and endanger the survival of mankind.
"The problem of self-reliance in relation to transfer of technology was discussed. It was pointed out that it is impossible to resist science and technology in developing countries, but how can we adopt them without being dominated by the developed countries?
"The suggestion was made that the communication system among developing countries should be strengthened. This will help to control information, and it is within the area of collective self-reliance in the Third World. From there, then, information can go to the developed countries. This may further help to prevent the side-effects of imitation of science and technology.
"The problem is how to change from the interdependency of domination to mutual interdependency."
Reporting on theme three, Biology, medicine and the future of mankind, Mr Gregory Blue dealt with several themes which emerged through the discussion:
"(1) It was strongly questioned whether the attempt to apply a big-sociological approach to contemporary human problems is valid. There was divergence about whether such an approach leads to illusions about reconciling irreconcilable forces in the political sphere, or whether it can aid in constructing a non-confrontational model for dealing with problems.
"It was pointed out that the distortion of social time-sensibility is an extremely great problem, which is leading to a generation gap on a world scale. Productivism tends to destroy people's collective memories and hence to make impossible a collective present.
"(2) It was pointed out that transformation of existing medical relations must involve a clear understanding of the role of the transnational pharmaceutical companies. It was also said that physicians must choose between serving these companies or serving the real needs of the people.
"(3) In regard to medical practice, it is necessary to keep in mind the mutual interaction between the individual human organism and the external environment. Many types of disease are impossible to cure without a previous transformation of external physical or social conditions. In such a situation, it is extremely misleading to think that medical success can be attained at the level of the individual alone.
"(4) It is incorrect to consider science and technology as panaceas for all problems, as independent and isolated from other factors in the world. It was observed that the majority of technological advances since 1945 have been consequences of the armaments race and that this race now dominates technological advance. It is, thus, true that science and technology are sources of power in the present transformation of the world, but they must be viewed within the full context of global power relations.
"(5) It was observed that, since 1947, the greatest overall growth in the world has taken place in the underdeveloped countries, and that this growth has for the most part occurred in industrial production, whereas growth in the developed world has mostly occurred in the service sectors.
"(6) It was said that the negative effects of industrial techniques are only inevitable so long as there is no social control over them. Also, it is necessary to take into account all aspects of transformation planning: e.g., it is absurd to promote schemes for 'rural development' which ignore subsequent urban overcrowding, etc."
Reporting on theme four, The control of space and power, Dr Vladimir Stambuk presented the following systematic overview:
"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 first four factors and are yet unable to control the fifth. To these elements, others were added during the discussion. Control of knowledge and information was stressed as the most important aspect through which influence is being realised 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 first 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 everyday 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 the 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 cooperation as emphasised in the document of the non-aligned countries, and discussed at the seminar as collective self-reliance.
The third relation is the most 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 hegomony 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 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 recognised that no one set of variables can be operationalised without addressing the specificities of the various particular situations 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 consciousness that will later on trigger significant results. Public opinion in the North is gradually mobilising 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, 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 also be seen in the isolation of the scientific-technological potentials of nations and states and in the fact that political constraints prevent their fusion into critical forces that would be effective in transformation.
"Contrary to options of isolation or of becoming a vassal or client state dependent on TNCs, the option of regional joint action needs exploration within this framework; and emphasis should be placed on 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 socioeconomic 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. 65 per cent of information messages are now produced in and diffused from the United States. The press, radio and TV are such powerful instruments that they are able not only to manipulate public opinion but also, as has occurred, to destabilise 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 often been used by the rich countries with the goal of maintaining their domination over the underdeveloped countries. In this sense, the role of multinational corporations is precisely that of controlling productive activities in underdeveloped countries which have no autonomy to decide 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. This is 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 from view. This is an attempt to eliminate the values of socialist revolution with the ideological concepts of modernization."
Finally, Dr Ahmad Yousef Hassan, in his report on theme five, From intellectual dependence to creativity, wrote:
"Science and technology are not the products of modem societies alone. Science and technology in Europe have been influenced by and based upon the heritage of other civilizations. Although distinctively modern science has arisen in Europe since the sixteenth century, the birth of modern science owed much to the preceding achievements of Greek, Indian, Chinese, and Islamic/Arabic science. For example, in the first fifteen centuries of our era, a large number of mechanical and other innovations were transmitted from China to Europe, and these were large factors not only in revolutionizing mediaeval Europe, but also in the constitution of modern science itself. The same can be said of the transmission of techniques and the exact sciences from the Arabic world to the Latin West through commercial and cultural contact and through the movement of translations into Latin between the ninth and fourteenth centuries. This point shows that science and technology are not creations of any one civilization alone. Science can flourish because of beneficial social and political conditions. When we consider the birth of modern science we see that it was also linked to the particular social evolution that took place in the West.
"Science and technology continued to expand and flourish in the West, whereas they developed at a much slower rate in the civilizations of the East. Science and technology as developed in Europe consequently were employed as means for domination and suppression, which tended to hinder similar developments within the other regions of the world.
"If favourable conditions can be created for the development of science and technology in any country, whether in the East or in the West, then there will be a flourishing, as can be seen from the Japanese experience. Here we have the example of a 'late-coming' Asian country which was underdeveloped in science and technology, yet favourable conditions were created in that country because of the lack of foreign domination, because of the presence of an independent, strong central government, and because of the interaction of endogenous and exogenous factors. The Japanese experience shows that modern technology can be successfully incorporated into local culture, provided that certain prerequisites are met.
"It seems beyond doubt that human freedom and national liberty depend on economic independence. Having in mind the role which science and technology play in economic development, attention must be given to the discrepancy in the levels of research and education between the 'North' and the 'South', that is, between developed nations leading in science, and the bulk of humanity, still striving in poverty for cultural recognition and freedom from domination. But pleading for more science and technology alone does not seem to very much affect cultural emancipation, the dominant aim of which is to preserve and revive national roots and culture and so to open the perspective of human civilisation as a plurality of national cultures. As was outlined above, throughout history science and technology have been deeply rooted in the human race, and all attempts to ascribe them to any one nation, or group, as local achievements or characteristics, are false. Whatever the national culture is like, science and technology can fit in, as complements. And though it may seem a paradox, no national culture will survive, unless it makes space within itself for the scientific-technological culture.
"Science cannot be developed primarily through the needs of local, divided practical activities. It is also impossible to plan scientific application in detail. Therefore, a broad population should be cultivated in science in order to help society to develop in a competent way. Similarly, competence in technology is not a matter of choice or of some local priorities. It is part of the basic culture of a broad population.
"Science and technology are a way of thinking. They deal with basic things in the human environment and in humans themselves. Therefore it is not possible for a society to benefit from science and technology without being exposed to their influence on human behaviour.
"Far from looking upon science and technology as creating unemployment, they must be considered as liberating man from dull work and over-work. Science and technology are thus prerequisites of emancipation and development.
"When speaking about science and technology it was usually implied that we were speaking only of physical and biological sciences. The role of social sciences was usually ignored. All societies need scientific social knowledge in order to build their own futures. Western social sciences do not have universal validity, and they cannot adequately cope with the problems faced by other peoples with different civilizations. The knowledge of the members of certain cultures about their own societies is not institutionalized or systematically organised. The social science which is needed to help these peoples in their liberation effort must include both the systematic knowledge of their own societies and of the dominant hegemonic societies.
"Hegemony is not being maintained only through repression, but also through cultural domination. The ability to conceive new visions is becoming decisive. We are confronted by the greatest challenge of all, the creation of a knowledge that is suited to our epoch. There are two faces to science and technology. There is the vision of social and economic growth, and there is the vision of an uncertain future and the illusory criticism of technology which gave rise to the slogan Protect us from technology'. However, it is of decisive importance to realise that science and technology are not negative powers in themselves; they turn into that when becoming part of an antagonistic social arrangement. What we are seeking is a new type of society or civilization which is to be a more favourable framework for the development of the authentic potentials of man.
"The new culture or civilization be built without international solidarity. Without mutuality, there is no autonomy.
"The coming era opens a glorious but also critical period of overall interdependence. We are living in a planetary world society. A pluralism of cultures is necessary in order to have the world become a society which is not uniform and indistinguishable. Only autonomy, independence, and equality can lead toward universal richness. Differences will remain. But the decisive question is whether they will lead to a mutual complementarily, or whether they will turn into hostility and antagonism."
It remains for the General Report on the International Seminar, co-authored by Drs Tsurumi Kazuko, Rajko Tomovic and A. N. Pandeya, the joint General Rapporteurs, to sum up the emerging convergence and, more so, the emerging problematique:
"(1) The first international seminar, dedicated to the investigation of one of the crucial items on the agenda of our age - the role of science and technology in the transformation of the world - met in a context of expectations, clearly articulated by the Project Co-ordinator, Dr Anouar Abdel-Malek, and the Conference Chairman, Dr Miroslav Pecujlic, Rector of the University of Belgrade, in the capital city of the Federal Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia, which vigorously proceeds along the paths of constructive mediation between the different spheres in the world of power and culture at work in our times. The central character of our times, of the real world in our times, is implicit in the transformation of all the dimensions of the life of human societies - a transformation which is neither uni-linear nor synchronic, but involves the different sectors of social life and activity - economic production, patterns of power, social cohesiveness, cultural identity, civilisational projects, political ideologies, religious formations, philosophies, myths, etc., covering the entire span of the infrastructure and superstructure of society. The question arises: how can this transformation of the world be related to the social and human sciences, political and social theories, the philosophical quest for humane vision - in short, the cultural and civilisational dimensions of our life tomorrow - through structural modifications, through the remodelling in depth of the world as we know it today? And the general focus, within which such interrogations and deliberations as are relevant to the problematique could unfold themselves, yielding significant, converging insights, must inevitably couple science and technology with culture, culture/civilisation with power, in the belief that such confluences should become the meeting point of scholars and policy-makers; of specialists in the natural, mathematical, material, engineering, and life sciences with analysts and theoreticians of the sciences of man and society, of humanistic cultures and civilisational totalities. And the problematique, in all its complex ramifications, must continuously remain grounded in the firm territory of the crisis confronting us all - in the monstrous asymmetries of economic, political, scientific-technological, cultural/civilisational, informational/ communicational resources, characterizing the present distribution across the globe.
"(2) This complex problematique was explored in its major facets, comprising constellations of specific questions and issues, through five plenary sessions, focusing successively on Science and Technology as Formative Factors of Contemporary Civilisation; Technology Generation and Transfer: Transformation Alternatives; Biology, Medicine and the Future of Mankind; The Control of Space and Power; and From Intellectual Dependence to Creativity. The expositions, discussions, debates, interrogations, illustrative concretisations, insightful suggestions, reflections and observations - all the diverse forms of cognitive, exploratory activities that were triggered off by the earnest engagement of leading minds from the major cultural, socio-political zones of the globe - eventually took identifiable flow-patterns: mutually complementary, occasionaly converging, often ranged in debate-prone tendencies, sometimes in polar opposition, reflecting the real contradictions and divisions of our real-life situations. But, on balance, as the dialogue built up, gathered material and dynamism in its movement from the plenary session to the dialectical stage of in-depth reflections in the working sessions, it was impossible to escape the feeling of a general focusing slowly taking shape, of a broad convergence gradually unfolding as insights and thoughts started falling into place; of an overall deepening, extending, of our understanding; of the centrality of certain issues; and of the awareness that what had actually happened was a cognitive transformation that had overtaken us all!
"(3) As concluding reflections on the problematique, it must be advisable to take note of those areas where, relatively speaking, the shared insights and cognitive convergences appeared to be pronounced. Science, in its totality of domains - natural, human-social, cultural/civilisational - and technology were everywhere firmly and deeply embodied in the socio-political structures which determined their dominating/liberating functions. Their hidden social relations and hidden power-base, therefore, needed total transformation, if these resources were to be converted into a massive cultural/civilisational force for re-forming the greater part of the human societies into a more humane, democratic, just, and egalitarian future. The cultural question, then, was how to disseminate scientific insights to the people at large; how to integrate the dissociated sectors of science/technology with the foundational sectors of political-social policy formation and decision making; how to strengthen complementarities across differentiated orientations; how to identify and strengthen solidarity among humane, transforming, progressive sectors of humanity distributed across the existing divisions of socio-political boundaries; how to sharpen focus on the gearbox of changing, challenging priorities; how to cope with the ever-increasing pressures which hegemonistic, dominating centres were busy releasing at an exponential pace; how to mobilise and organise the vast, latent reserves of endogenous creativity of the vast majority of mankind for initiating, sustaining, and completing the transformations that are overdue, that admit of no procrastination, divergence, or masking. In this realm of confluence, where reflective activity suggested urgent action, we note the final thrust of the seminar deliberations."
Thus ended the First International Seminar of the United Nations University's Sub-project on 'The Transformation of the World'- itself part of the UNU Project 'Socio-cultural Development Alternatives in a Changing World (SCA)' - an innovative attempt to explore the different dimensions of the new international order, at the very heart of the preoccupations of the United Nations and world public opinion, at the initiative of the United Nations University, alongside the vision of U Thant.
In place of the usual contrapositions of infrastructure and superstructure, of the prevailing economistic approach to the problematique of the world order and its required transformation, this first major meeting centered, substantively and specifically, on the transformational processes - their nature, inner dialectics, external parameters, actors and forces involved on all sides - as a unified set of interwoven circles, whose exploration could, alone, give meaning to the contradictions and convergence, deeply ingrained differences and complementarily, and, perhaps more so, to the disconcerting and disconnectedness of tempt, deeply rooted in the objective societal conditions of different units of analysis and action, as well as in the different visions of the world at work in our times.
Four other International Seminars, following after this one held in Belgrade, will be devoted to other dimensions of the transformation of the world: Economy and Society; Culture and Thought; Religion and Philosophy; and, finally, The Making of the New International Order.
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