Social Scientist. v 3, no. 27 (Oct 1974) p. 72.


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BOOK REVIEW

BEPIN BEHARI, ECONOMIC GROWTH AND TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE IN INDIA, Vikas Publications, pp 274.

ANY investigation into the nature and capabilities of technological pro- grcss must have the growth of the national economy as its ultimate objective. An enquiry, therefore, into the concept of technological change should contain not only an ideological bias as far as future development plans are concerned but also an interpretation of history in such a way as to make a particular theory seem the mo^t logical follow-up. For India in particular, any analysis which advocates a capitalist path of development will seek to negate, or at least ignore, the political question which is bound to come up in the course of the analysis. It is indeed from this standpoint that Bepin Behari proceeds to analyse economic growth and technological change in India.

Concern/or the Consumer

The author sets a number of targets: increase in profit rate, rise in employment, improvement of the small-scale sector, evolution of indigenous technology and decentralization of industries. Having laid down these goals he comes out with an attempted negation of Marx. The field thus cleared, he introduces the concepts of appropriate and intermediate technologies. Intermediate technology in the classical sense is tantamount to ^labour-intensive technology in labour surplus economies^. This is pitted against the concept of appropriate technology which implies the choice between alternative techniques; and advancing the one technique in which the cost to the ultimate consumer is the lowest. Having given it top priority Behari tries to fit his theory into the Indian reality with a brief analysis of China. This diversion serves little purpose beyond revealing the author's political bias.

Seen in this broad perspective the book appears to be full of contradictions. To begin with the very objectives are contradictory. For instance, in considering the objective of profit maximization on which the



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