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Formulating a Science and Technology Policy: What Do We Know about Third World Countries

Amiya Kumar Bagchi
Economic and Political Weekly
Vol. 15, No. 5/7, Annual Number (Feb., 1980), pp. 303+305+307+309-310
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4368375
Page Count: 5
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Formulating a Science and Technology Policy: What Do We Know about Third World Countries
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Abstract

Those who manage science policy have almost completely ignored the sources of innovation and have thought of it as something induceable by a financial allocation and a bureaucratic fiat. This has not been simply a wrongheaded or futile attempt to overcome the colonial heritage. By placing the cart before the horse, these policies have in fact often helped to perpetuate the technological dependence of the economy on advanced capitalist countries. This is not to say that there is any satisfactory theory of invention at an early stage of capitalism. But we do know something about how inventions feed one another and what allows inventions in laboratories and pilot plants to grow into commercial innovations. And we also know something of the history of the incorporation of the process of innovations in state-supported institutions and in giant international firms in later phases of capitalism. Compared with that, our knowledge of what induces technological change in an underdeveloped capitalist country such as India is extremely scanty. This paper seeks to raise some doubts in areas where dogmatic uncertainty has dictated the expenditure of thousands of crores of rupees.

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