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

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

Chapter 7
Science and Technology for Highly Industrialized Societies

Modern science and its offspring, industrial technology, originated in Western Europe and rapidly spread to the United States. By the beginning of this century, the industrial world included Canada, Japan, and Australia. While the same diffusion also occurred in Eastern Europe, the character of the political and economic institutions which came to prevail there has resulted in a different pattern of cognition and policy choice. For our purposes, highly industrialized societies are the countries of the West, the "first world," in the language of contemporary international confrontations, with the addition of Japan. The grouping is subjective in the sense that it relies on the selfdefinitions of these nations rather than on quantitative indicators of industrialization; it is objective in that the grouping corresponds to two major international organizations, two key attempts at collective management of certain problems associated with industrialization--the European Communities (E.C.) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

What are these problems? Since science and technology originated in the West, it is hardly surprising that the effects should also be first experienced to the fullest by the West. Some problems are purely economic: how to combine free trade with national monetary management, how to enjoy both price stability and uninterrupted economic growth, how to implement national fiscal autonomy while also seeking to maintain competitive prices for one's exports. Other problems are both financial and intertwined with the mobilization of specialized knowledge: Can each country's industry finance the R & D needed for industrial innovation, or must the burden be shared through consortia and other modes of pooling resources? Should there be a planned industrial division of labor among countries professing free trade as the principle of mutual economic interaction? To what

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