Social Scientist. v 10, no. 107 (April 1982) p. 46.


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COMMUNICA TION

Inventiveness in Society

IN his paper, 1>< Inventiveness in Society",1 Amiya Kumar Bagchi has examined the character of scientific and technological changes made during the last three centuries and evaluated the experience of advanced capitalist societies, socialist countries and Third World countries with regard to the effectiveness of strategies adopted by these societies for strengthening and directing inventiveness. Based on this review, Bagchi suggests a strategy for promoting inventiveness in India and other developing countries.

The object of this note is to make a few comments on the key formulations which Bagchi has used to characterize the contemporary developments in science and technology and discuss the implications of the strategy suggested by him for strengthening and guiding the innovation effort in India.

Bagchi starts with stating that most of the production-related inventions made during the last three centuries have been the products of the capitalist system of production and that the environment in the developing countries is least conducive for the promotion of production-related inventions aimed at the development of the productive capacity of the civilian sector. The three basic forces—the scientists and technologists, the firms advancing innovative effort to increase their profits and the competitive spending on defence by the major international powers—which together have propelled the whole apparatus of research in science and technology are unlikely to be released in the Third World countries. Therefore, he proposes the promotion of socialist invention "as a way of exploring the future and accumulating an inventory of potential inventions to be used by the people when production can be released from the shackles of direct or indirect control by foreign governments and transnational corporations". It is suggested that "these futuristic inventions are unlikely to be very glamorous in poor countries, for, almost by definition, most of them would have to economise greatly on capital, thus



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