Social Scientist. v 5, no. 54-55 (Jan-Feb 1977) p. 73.


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P MOHANAN PILLAI K K SUBRAHMANIAN

Rhetoric and Reality of Technology Transfer

THE EXPLICIT RECOGNITION of technology as the dynamic factor in economic growth has evoked enthusiasm among newly developing countries since the 1950s to transfer technology from the developed. The ^latecomers to development91 arc supposed to have the advantage of a short cut by readily transferring productive inputs, mainly capital and technology, for industrialization without undergoing the costly and difficult course of ^reinventing the wheel". The initial euphoria generated by the naive optimism has acquired a considerable tract of economic wisdom.2 Foreign technology, it is argued, leads to better and more efficient allocation of the scarce resources to serve as a spark plug for initiating the trasformation of semi-stagant economics of the ^Third World5 into modernity, assuring self-reliance in the long run.

The experience of technology-recipient developing countries however has shown the need for concern about the convenient assumptions of the ^short cut5 to development. Most of the studies on the subject have highlighted the contradiction of technology transfer with self-reliant development understood in relation to economic, social and political forces integral to it. The thrust of the argument is that technology transfer to developing countries, unlike between the developed, is more or less a one-way relationship and hence detrimental to the interests of



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