Scientists and World Order: The Uses of Technical Knowledge in International Organizations

By Ernst B. Haas; Mary Pat Williams | Go to book overview

Chapter 5
Science and Organizational Ideologies

Scientists' attitudes and experiences in aggregate terms tell us little about their manifestations in the work of international organizations. We wish to discover which trends toward future world orders may be implicit in the attitudes and experiences. Our point of departure is provided by our introductory discussion of the relationship between knowledge and action. Four hypothetical models were developed to orient the inquiry. If political goals remain unchanged and expert knowledge remains fragmented, the existing order will continue to prevail. If experts remain in agreement on a certain minimum of scientifically demonstrable cause-and-effect relationships but fail to agree on more, while politicians continue to adhere to goals which differ widely but show a certain minimum common denominator as well, the evolution will be toward what we call a "skeptical" world order. However, if we stipulate increasing consensus among the experts and passive acquiescence on the part of politicians willing to be persuaded, political goals will expand without a formal agreement; the resulting world order will be "pragmatic." Finally, a "rational" world order is conceivable if consensual knowledge expands along with broader and more comprehensive common political objectives.

Our job now becomes the establishment of an empirical relationship between these possibilities and the work of scientists active in specific international programs. We bestow the label organizational ideology on identifiable clusters of attitudes and experiences which seem to approximate the conditions described in our four models. We do not argue, by definition, that a given organization or a given program is characterized by a given ideology. While this may turn out to be true in fact, our objective is simply to map empirically demonstrated clusters of coherent attitudes and experiences. We wish to use these as a means for mapping the distribution of scientific ideas in any given organization or program. By doing so we can eventually project the character of a given program in terms of its relevance to conceiv-

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