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

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

Chapter 10
Toward a Pragmatic World Order

Must we always settle for a few additional pieces of technical assistance as we harness science and technology to the creation of a better life on one planet? The answer determines whether unplanned and uncoordinated research tied to random application of the findings will continue to prevail, or whether the integration of knowledge will lead to the integration of its application to human needs.

In comparing the findings of Part 2 and Part 3 it becomes evident that our respondents see things somewhat differently from the authors. Among the respondents the skeptic reigns, and he is more likely to settle for random application of knowledge than the pragmatist and the rationalist. But our examination of the nine programs in terms of decision-making and institutionalization disclose a different pattern. There the trends are away from incremental tinkering and the random application of knowledge to social choice. Which perception should be featured when we seek to speculate about future world orders, about arrangements more coherent and consistent than the eclectic pattern of the present?

We begin with a systematic juxtaposition of the two sets of findings in summarizing the present status of the nine programs. We then develop two scenarios interpreting these findings. One is predicated on the assumption that scientists and politicians will continue to act out the attitudes and experiences we established as currently victorious. Change is envisaged as an outgrowth of presently discernible trends which do not imply that any significant actors will change their minds on the role of knowledge in the fashioning of international politics. The second scenario, however, changes this assumption. It is predicated on the possibility that actors displaying ambivalent views--many of the skeptics and eclectics--will reduce dissonance by accepting the primacy of their organizational programs. This projection leads to the conclusion that a pragmatic world order is within the realm of the possible.

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