Courtesy Reuters

Science and Policy for a New Decade

In a recent and prescient biography and analysis of Thomas Jefferson, its author emphasizes in his preface "Jefferson's thrust beyond nationality to the cosmopolitan fraternity of science and philosophy, his commitment to the civilizing arts, to education, to progress, to rationality in all things . . . ."[i] Direct quotations from Jefferson underline the same theme: "The societies of scientists. . . form a great fraternity spreading over the whole earth;" or, again, "The field of knowledge is the common property of all mankind, and any discoveries we can make in it will be for the benefit . . . of every other nation, as well as our own."

With all his gift of prophecy, Jefferson surely never imagined how contemporary those statements would appear nearly two centuries later. He might well have visualized that the spread of science and technology to virtually every nation of the globe would come to constitute a very special element in the basic movements of world civilization. But even a Jefferson could hardly have imagined the range and the power and the intricacy of consequence of the forces set in motion by that movement for our time: forces whose effects we are only beginning to truly appreciate-let alone understand. They will surely constitute major elements in shaping the world order, and our own, for the remainder of this century and probably beyond.

Those forces are operating at present with an unprecedented dynamism. Subtle as their individual impacts often are and sometimes difficult to recognize until unanticipated and irreversible changes have been wrought, their cumulative impact is already posing new and radical challenges to the world order. The evidence for this, for potential good and also for possible ill, is accumulating along many fronts. The explosive spread of modern technologies to many developing countries, for example, can prove- and sometimes is proving-a two-edged sword in their political growth and modernization. Too often, the technologies which are proffered, and which tend to be accepted, can be grossly and expensively maladapted to the cultures to which

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