Technology and Social Organisation in the Contemporary World : A Search for the Historical Causality
Ever since the second world war has left the world in a state of continuous political rivalry and economic hegemony in disguise, technology has turned out to be the newest channel of exploitation of the poorer nations by the industrialised ones on a global scale. While the developed nations are in an entrenched position in invention and implementation of industrial technology, the developing countries are desperately running after the latest computers and automatic systems to be acquired from the former. The decades-old aspiration for transfer of technology to the developing nations however has remained a mirage. The multinationals are out to globalise their activities through subsidiaries started in the highly profit-yielding third world countries.1 This costs them only a small portion of the required capital stock in their own currency, ultimately leading to exploitation of the third world labour force without effective transfer of relevant technology to the receiving country. While the conventional form of high technology aids the exploitative motives of the richer nations, it also contributes to the unjustifiable victimisation of the poorer nations to the environmental hazards caused by technology consumption by the affluent ones. Even scientists and academicians of the guardian nations in industry have come round to admit that the world should no longer allow the undirected race for higher productivity with greater indirect cost. Yet the inescapable fact remains that investment and coherent planning in the search for alternative technology is still not sufficiently forthcoming. Meanwhile the cry for small technology in the industrialising countries has almost died down in the face of the competition from high technology marketed by the corporate economies, and the governments of these countries are reduced to helpless onlookers. The hard facts of the world economy are however irreversibly tilted in favour of the technology-rich countries. Even in the search for the alternative technology these countries are already well ahead of the developing world. This forebodes repetition of the^ same imbalance of achievements afflicting the poorer nations even
Senior Lecturer Department of Sociology, University of Calcutta.
Social Scientist, Vol. 20, Nos. 3-4, March-April 1992.