Unformatted text preview: ve labor — not to maximize its use. Labor is often saved by using
technologies that allow substitution of capital for labor — but one of the distinguishing features
of poor nations is that they are critically short of capital ( 82).
Technologies that worked well in rich nations, when take n to a different setting, may seriously
distort the course of a nation’s development and leave it poorer than when it started out. Human
and financial resources will be concentrated in a few priv ileged segments of the economy and
society, leaving much of the population, especially those in rural areas, destitute. Example: The
introduction of Western tractors to Pakistan (82-83).
Primary goal of appropriate technology in poor countries — to increase employment; select
technologies that use relatively more labor than capital. Choice of technologies is not always
governed by economic calculations, but rather because they meet requirements of powerful
segments of the society (83). In selecting technologies, t need must be concerned with values
that transcend political, financial, and technical expedien cies (84).
The diffusion of technology — essentially a learning proc ess through which the recipient gains
an understanding of how the technology works while ada pting it to a particular need (84). Some
technologies are sponsored by governments but majority of technological innovations are
adopted by private businesses pursuing their economic goals to cut costs, improve products,
bolster profits, penetrate new markets. Thus, speed and extent of diffusion are strongly
influenced by expectations of costs and benefits (85).
No new technology is a “sure thing.” Benefits may be a l ong time in coming — the potential...
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- Fall '08
- Sociology, Technology and Society, foreign technologies