Technology Indigenization and External Influences Case of the Fertilizer Industry in India
THE ROLE OF imperialism in the transformation of economic structures in the Third World countries has been discussed quite extensively in recent literature. The debate that has arisen has centred on two extreme polarities. Analysts like Paul Baran have emphasized the process through which industrialization in the Third World countries has suffered a systematic decline as a consequence of the operation of the external forces. According to these authors, the transnational corporations, acting as agents of imperialism, operate in the Third World countries in a way which can best of described as a logical extension of the exploitative relations forming the basis of colonial domination of these countries.! The aiyiments on the other extreme have been put forth most forcefully by Bill Warren.2 Warren's contention is that the policies of the imperialist countries do not in any way hinder the process of industrialization in the developing countries; on the contrary, the former's "overall impact on the third world actually favours its industrialization".3. To prove his point. Warren tries to show that the economic performance of the Third World countries has been more impressive than that of almost all the developed countries in the 1950's and the 1960's, the result of which has been a "significant and continuing reduction" in the inequality that existed between the developed and the developing countries.4 Warren sees this change coming about through an improvement in the bargaining position of the developing countries, a development which he thinks inevitably emerges in a period of inter-imperialist rivalries.5 But Warren's views on the relative economic position of the developing countries after the 1950's, a'period when the author thinks most of the larger developing countries graduated into a phase of "independent industrialization", have not found many supporters. In fact, the exploitation of the Third World countries by the developed capitalist states has been widely recognized, even in some of the organizations within the fold of the United Nations.6 The analysis attempted by authors representing these organizations have often indentified technology as a principal factor which leads in the new situation, to the continued dependence and hence exploitation, of the developing countries. Indeed, the view that technological dependence is a crucial factor underling the ties ofdepen-
* Research Scholar, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawahar Lal Nehru University, New Delhi.