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Europe–Japan. Futures in Science, Technology and Democracy by Vincent J. McBrierty

Posted On March 23, 2017 at 7:34 am by / Comments Off on Europe–Japan. Futures in Science, Technology and Democracy by Vincent J. McBrierty

By Vincent J. McBrierty

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Extra info for Europe–Japan. Futures in Science, Technology and Democracy

Sample text

Rather than closing ranks with each attempting to rely only on itself, the countries and groups of countries on each of the three sides of the triangle which is today guiding world technological and economic development (and perhaps not only this kind of development) have a real interest in reinforcing the system as a whole. As it is generally believed that Europe is the weakest link, a word of reassurance may not be out of place. A strong Community is a far more interesting partner for the USA and for Japan than one losing its foothold in international competition.

By non-material investment I mean scientific and technological resources, education and training, information services, design and development of software. Institutionally, resources dedicated to education, retraining and research are no longer to be thought of as expenditure; they are now part of capital investment. The data in information systems available to firms, institutions and governments are becoming their most precious and critical resource. Given the breadth of institutional and attitudinal change needed, investment in intangible resources could ease absorption of innovation traumas by a tradition-oriented society.

This does not mean that science may not advance except in democratic societies: even in an authoritarian society, there may be a limited freedom of speech for a certain segment of the population, and limited to certain scientific topics. But I am convinced that freedom of speech within a limited context easily leads to the habit of speaking more freely and critically within the larger contexts of a society. And conversely: in a society where freedom of speech is severely limited, we will almost inevitably find that scientific progress is halted in many fields due to fear of open debate or to attempts to misuse science in order to support certain political dogmas, or maybe even simply because people have not been trained to use their imagination in a creative way.

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