Social Scientist. v 8, no. 87 (Oct 1979) p. 64.


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COMMUNICATION

7' echnological Changes and Social Values

THE international seminar on Science, Technology and Society in Developing Countries, held recently in Bombay, was expected to consider at least some fundamental problems in relation to social values evolved through the advancement of science and technology which has swept the world. It has been estimated that'the number of discoveries and inventions made in the last 25 years equals those made throughout the history of civilization. But the seminar bypassed some of the crucial issues.

In his day, Hegel called attention to the fact that in world history, due to the actions of men, something else, somewhat different, takes place from what they aspire after and attain, from the result they anticipate and desire; they are working to realize their interest but something else in addition is being accomplished,something that lies within, but was not a conscious goal or intention. A rational materialist explanation of this objective law, which lent social development of all previous history a spontaneous character overriding men's will and desires, was provided in the works of the founders of Marxism.

Marx and Engels stressed that it was not fortune or destiny, not divine providence or any absolute idea that shapes history but man himself. However they do not do so in an arbitrary or haphazard way but in accordance with the objective social conditions. In the course of that historical activity, goals and consequences^ intentions and results by no means always coincide. For in their everyday activities men are usually guided merely by immediate interests and aims. As for the side effect, and in particular, remote consequences of their activity, in conditions of haphazard social development, men tend either simply to disregard them or prove powerless to predict attd control them.



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