The Downside of Imperial Collapse
When Empires or Great Powers Fall, Chaos and War Rise
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 they are transplanted.
There also is a deeper hazard. When too rapid, over-enthusiastic and under- critical adoption of technologies from the developed world is combined with a much slower pace in the growth of a truly rooted indigenous science and an accompanying understanding of it in the developing nations, there is real danger that an imbalance can develop that in the long run may seriously threaten the cultural, and even the political, integrity of recipient countries. A number of gifted and perceptive leaders in the newer nations have recently been emphasizing that it is not the burden of such ill-adapted technologies that actually concerns them most-not primarily the economic drain involved, or even the greater drain of a long commitment of their already scarce supplies of talented men and women to ends that may not prove ultimately viable-but rather the much more fundamental issue of the effects of such developments on the motivations, the world-view, the hopes and fears, the sense of identity and integrity of their peoples as a whole.
They have emphasized that advanced technologies must be truly understood and mastered by those who adopt them if indigenous cultures are to be protected. Further, a number of them believe that an indigenously developed science (unlike advanced technology rapidly adopted for purely pragmatic reasons in a cultural vacuum) is, or can become, a vital element in a developing society, not only for its practical contributions in enabling a new nation to monitor its course in an increasingly technological world, but in allowing it to draw on that technology with a strengthened cultural integrity. Several have perceived a subtle but vital circumstance not obvious to many in developed nations: that, at a profound level, science can be both the expression and the molder of a society and its culture; that, for all the universality of subject-matter and concern that marks science the world over and makes it a global language, the way that it is rooted in a particular culture and is understood and accepted and so supported by its peoples may be very different indeed in differing nations of the world.
These are vital questions for the developing nations, perceived by some, still unrecognized by many. And perception itself is but a short first step. For history makes it abundantly clear that if the climate of a society is not ready for science-if there is not the basis for its general acceptance and for at least a rudimentary understanding of its intellectual and its spiritual, as well as its practical values-it cannot flourish, and may, indeed, sink so far out of balance with the forces of a pragmatic and overwhelming technology that it, and a good modicum of overall cultural integrity as well, can be seriously jeopardized. How such a climate is to be developed is a burning question for the populations of much of the globe today. For our own humility in regarding this problem, it is worth recalling that it took Western Europe from before the time of Francis Bacon to the end of the Renaissance to achieve such a broadly based intellectual climate, despite the fact that both the philosophy and the practice of scientific research were well known long before, and despite the fact that in that world the dimension of time was not crucially important. For the developing countries, the time dimension in an already scientifically sophisticated outer world is precariously narrow, and the challenge even more formidable.
Quite a different set of questions and challenges is posed, on another and perhaps yet more urgent level, by the rapidly changing and evolving panorama of scientific and technological relations among the developed nations of the world. It is reasonable to expect that before the end of the new decade this evolution will have considerably affected the relationships of states throughout a large part of the Western world, as well as the world environment in which our own nation must operate, in significant ways not easy to project precisely today. Before the end of the century it may well have wrought major shifts in power patterns, markedly changing their configurations and even altering present concepts of the nature and the political significance of some nation-states.
Fundamentally convergent pressures immanent in the nature and structure of science and technology have, of course, for a very long time been channeling ever closer collaboration in these fields among developed nations-a trend that Jefferson himself recognized so clearly. In our day, those elementary pressures have been enormously accentuated by others of a more practical kind. Along many frontiers of science basic discoveries can still be wrested from nature with the aid of physical tools that even in their most sophisticated forms are not prohibitively expensive to design or develop and so may still lie within the productive capabilities of even relatively small nations. But the situation in some other vital scientific areas can be quite different Highly sophisticated probing of the nature of matter, for instance, and ever deeper exploration of the cosmos, already depend upon instruments of a massiveness and costliness, and moreover requiring an order of advanced skill in design and construction, which today exceed the practical capacities of any but the superpowers and in the future may approach the limits even of their resources. It is quite likely that in a number of scientific fields intimate international collaboration among advanced nations in the building and use of such major instruments will have become a common practical necessity, as well as culturally desirable, long before the decade ends.
Again, the coming decade is sure to witness the continuing and dramatic evolution of another powerful force for international scientific and technical collaboration, one that could ultimately bring about an actual melding of scientific and technical resources among a number of developed nations: the further growth and proliferation of the great multinational corporations. Taking their modern form immediately after World War II, these now include an economy based on science and technology quite transcending the conventional political boundaries of nation-states. Indeed, it may already collectively rank third largest on the globe, yielding only to the economies of the United States and the Soviet Union. Future potentialities are obviously immense. Their development-perhaps the most striking event in the whole history of scientific and technological collaboration and consolidation among nations-introduces a factor wholly new in scale and in considerable measure new in kind. Amplifying its significance may be new departures in the European community over the next decade, currently brought to focus by the negotiations at Luxembourg last June looking to the ultimate entry of Britain, with Denmark, Norway and Ireland. If that evolution continues, the end of the decade could witness the formation of a 10-nation economic, scientific and technological community including some 250 million people, with an estimated annual productive capability of $550 billion-larger than the entire economy of the Soviet Union, second only to that of the United States.
Taken collectively, developments such as these promise perhaps the most rapid and radical changes of the world environment, for developed and developing nations alike, since World War II and its immediate aftermath. It is difficult to visualize even a fragment of their probable impact, since critical factors are both uncertain and inchoate. So far (as will be suggested in following sections) they have most visibly affected developed countries. But precisely because of this it may be the developing countries that will be most sensitive to these forces, and, in a social sense, ultimately most profoundly touched by them and most vulnerable to them. As Victor Basiuk[ii] has recently pointed out, three regions of the world stand today somewhat apart from the drive toward global technological integration-the areas of underdevelopment, those that are still only lightly inhabited, such as the Amazon and the Arctic, and the ocean floors. And it is worth noting that already the Amazon is under renewed pressure for development, and that technology is beginning to be applied to the oceanic environment in new ways. The pressures on the less developed countries toward technological absorption will surely be greatly intensified over the next years.
Such trends can bring immensely increased efficiencies and will greatly accelerate progress on both economic and technological fronts. But from both social and political standpoints there are caveats. To the degree that we value plurality in the evolution of world civilization and are convinced that multi-polar social and political growth, with all its richness, constitutes an invaluable resource for the future in a globally cosmopolitan society where such values will inevitably be hard-pressed, we may feel that one major task of the next decade will be to try to ensure that less developed societies are not overwhelmed by external pressures toward technological standardization. One of the most effective kinds of intangible foreign aid that the developed nations-particularly the United States-could render to such nations would be to assist them in maintaining a reasonable autonomy in scientific-technological growth and a balance between a structure of indigenous science and of transplanted technology. This balance, while encouraging the adoption of new practical approaches, should also protect the most important value of all for their future independence-the continuing integrity of their own intellectual growth. That is a very subtle kind of foreign assistance indeed, and it is not easy to visualize how it would come about.
One channel, however, is evident, and its mutual value may make it of particular interest. A number of the great movements in this area were pioneered by the knowledge, organizing ability and energy of the United States. We have exercised a predominant influence in creating a world technological climate that, over the next decades, will clearly pose more intensive competitive challenges to our own scientific-technological structure than we have ever known. From a purely practical standpoint, it will be necessary for us to sustain a vigorous national effort in science as well as in technology, to achieve modes of support for both of the most effective possible kinds, and to weigh and balance these efforts among the countless others that demand scarce men and women as well as scarce dollars in a scientific-technological economy. We do not always stop to reflect that we ourselves are rapidly becoming one of the "have-not" nations of the globe in many essential raw materials. This is a limitation new in our experience, and it faces us with special imperatives in the arena of science and technology: imperatives not unlike those of some of the newer, as well as several much older, states. It faces us with the prospect of a severe practical handicap which we will have to take into account in our strategies for the future.[iii] This is the aspect of national self- interest.
In a wider frame, it is worth emphasis that one thing the leaders in the developing nations will surely do, as they struggle with their problems of growth, is to observe keenly the patterns of support and the "shape" of the growth of science and technology in the developed countries, noting especially how, and how well, balance is achieved and maintained: the balance between science and technology and the multifarious other commitments of the nation as a whole, and, most pertinently, the balance between technology and its own supporting scientific structure. Since the United States is both the historic and the contemporary leader in these areas (though our leadership will surely be heavily challenged in years to come by the Soviet Union and by a united Western Europe), it must inevitably serve as an important model during the next decade. That is one reason that we analyze our own stewardship, our own balance, and our own prospects in these fields carefully and thoroughly. Another reason is our own competitive survival. But perhaps the most important reason of all has recently been stated by James Reston: "When our technology places upon us the highest responsibility in the world we must work toward a climate where the nobler instincts can flourish once again."[iv]
Underlying all considerations of the growth and support of science and technology in the developing countries of the world is the perception of a fundamental distinction: the contrast, extending from the obvious to the subtle, between the nature, processes and social implications of science on the one hand, and of technology on the other. In modern developed societies, the two categories are frequently joined by functional connections so intimate and pervading that often they appear to constitute a seamless web. It is in fact a web of vitality and durability, reinforced by the interplay of innovation and development. Since it confers upon advanced industrial societies so much of their inventive resource and their material power the maintenance of its integrity and the appropriate proportioning of its warp and woof must be continuing and vital concerns.
Actually this intimate weaving of science and technology is historically both a rather recent and a distinctly localized development. It is important to bear this in mind in considering the evolution of both science and technology in the new nations. Modern archeological research leaves little room for doubt that the basic technological revolutions of mankind antedated the scientific revolution by many thousands of years. They had surely undergirded most of the ancient civilizations many centuries before the scientific revolution took place quite independently in a tiny and apparently unpromising corner of the Western world. It may have been during these early centuries, indeed, that indigenous Asian technology reached its height. The Chinese invention of paper seems to have been made as early as the first century A.D. The magnetic compass appears to have been invented by the third, and movable type by the eighth; by the fifteenth century districts and counties were equipped with moderately accurate rain gauges. The early invention of explosives, the perfection of an accurate escapement for clock mechanisms, the engineering of bridges, the design of effective stern rudders for ships-all bear witness to the technological prowess and the high technological art of a great ancient people, achieved when the West was still essentially barbaric.
In that China there were skilled craftsmen in abundance; there was a wealthy and cultured segment of society with ample leisure for experiment and inquiry; through much of the period there was a good accumulation of capital; through much of the period there was a peaceful and orderly society, skillfully maintained. Superficially, it would seem that every condition prevailed for the fostering of a true scientific revolution.
Why did a truly indigenous Asian scientific revolution never come about? What was the critical missing ingredient? We can never certainly know. But it is worth observing that, throughout the whole history of their development, ancient and medieval Chinese science and technology apparently remained essentially pragmatic and utilitarian in their orientation. In sharp contrast, the experience of scientific advance in the West over the past three centuries has underscored again and again a cardinal point. Although a technology of distinction can evolve and can even reach notable heights in a society of wholly pragmatic outlook, a creative science cannot arise, or, if adopted from without, cannot long prosper in such an environment. Only in a cultural climate where the fundamental drives of curiosity and of the love of discovery for its own sake are understood and cultivated can a true science flourish. Paradoxically, it is only when such a science becomes deeply rooted as an element of high culture that a progressively innovative technology can be maintained over long periods, fusing eventually into the close partnership with which we are familiar today. And even when attained, that partnership can never be taken for granted. The maintenance of its health and vigor requires constant attention.
The cultivation of a vigorous indigenous science; the clear recognition of the paradox that, on the one hand, the basic motivations of science and the requirements for its healthy development are quite distinct from those of technology, yet that on the other a close and vital partnership must be built between the two; the formation and continuous cultivation of that partnership provide in combination a fundamental challenge to all the developing societies that are being caught up in the intense scientific- technological sweep of the world, and seek to survive in it. It is no less a vital contemporary challenge of our own.
Since World War II a number of the more advanced developing nations-in particular, perhaps, those with memories of earlier ties to the British Empire-have shown an intense concern with the domestic promotion of both scientific and technological revolutions. A number have organized and carried forward considerable programs of research and development, conceived in the general style of those in more advanced countries. They are commonly publicly supported, though in some countries private organization and support have been notable. In this connection it is striking to reflect, as Bernal has pointed out, that certain developing countries, once parts of the British Empire, may today commit larger sums to research and development in a matter of months than were expended for research in Great Britain during the whole of the nineteenth century.[v]
In many of the developing nations, however, grave problems could seriously endanger the health and growth of an indigenous science and might particularly threaten the achievement and maintenance of the delicate balance between science and technology so important for continuing social health. As government-supported research organizations in developing nations become more crystallized and bureaucratic with the years, and as their costs mount, cultures hungry for rapid social betterment and more conscious that it is attainable may come to judge long-range scientific efforts out of tune with their real needs. That hazard is reinforced by other circumstances common to many developing states. Among new nations that were once members of the British Commonwealth, for example, the common language of science, internally as well as externally, is, quite naturally, English. But in consequence, all too often a large segment of a public which should be supporting science is excluded from its very discourse. Moreover, among the fraction for whom language poses no barrier, an appreciation of the language of science, and even of the real nature of science itself is too often lacking.
When glittering technologies, demonstrably powerful in the Western world, suddenly become available to new nations, it is tempting for inexperienced administrators to jump to two fatal false conclusions. The first is that by embracing such technologies full-blown, all the long histories of hard-won successes in scientific investigation and technical development from which they sprang can be bypassed and impressive "instantaneous"-and incidentally prestige-laden-modernization accomplished. The second misconception is that if such technologies are introduced "at the top" of the social structure, as it were, they will then automatically filter down, modernizing the culture as they go. Only sometimes dangerously later do such leaders discover, first, that this is not the way of scientific and technological revolutions; second, that peoples ultimately resent being excluded from judgments or even information about scientific and technical developments that may change their lives and their world in major ways which they are powerless to anticipate or affect; and, third, that the uncritical large- scale adoption of technologies from the developed world in vacuo may be a short road to serious sacrifices of political as well as material autonomy. It is encouraging that in many developing nations knowledgeable popular leaders are becoming aware of these pitfalls.
But the sounder road of developing an indigenous science and building the technologies that can arise from it is also fraught with difficulties. It takes prescience, sustained determination, sensitive understanding and political courage to adhere to it. For many reasons, it is apt to be difficult in the developing nations to maintain the consistent view of science as a special form of art, or to sustain the vision that it is creativity, above all, that distinguishes a genuine and living science.
Now of course creativity, in science as elsewhere, is a deeply personal process. A single scientific genius may be more significant to a developing nation than a hundred compatriots of more ordinary endowment. But this truth is all too likely to be unpalatable in a society where science itself is new and unfamiliar. And there are apparently paradoxical corollaries to further complicate understanding and acceptance. Though individual creativity is so crucial, it is also true that there is some critical lower limit to the number of creative individuals in the scientific community of a new nation below which it is hard for the society to sustain autonomous advance. Given the statistical sparsity of unusual scientific talent in any population, it is often difficult for a smaller developing nation to accumulate that number, and, given the hazards of "brain drain," to maintain it over a sufficient period of time. Then there is a final, and curiously contradictory, hazard. In the absence of a critical "scientific volume" of this kind, a single powerful genius in a developing country, with all his constructive potential, may yet endanger a balanced development of science if his enthusiasms and commitments unwittingly impose an unwise initial bias.
It is evident, of course, that a fundamental element in this issue-as in every aspect of the cultural and economic fortunes of peoples everywhere- involves sensitively adapted systems of education, broadly designed and including as wide an age range as possible in the society. Obviously, the scope and quality of such education are crucially important. But beyond lies another factor, importantly determining yet subtle and difficult to fathom and influence. It might be called the basic philosophy motivating training: the scale of values established by the initiate and increasingly manifest among the more intellectual as education proceeds. This factor involves a major opportunity for developing countries, which many have perceived as such. But there is an accompanying hazard. In societies where the decision has been made to pursue rapid technological modernization, pragmatic skills in executing complex technical projects, not unnaturally, are held in high esteem. In several of the newer countries, major educational appropriations have typically been allocated to the "science" budgets, with such subjects as history, geography and art relegated to the background. As a secondary effect of such maldistribution the best students, intent on forging higher material standards for their countries and themselves, tend to orient almost exclusively to the "science" stream, neglecting the background subjects that would best prepare them to understand the place of science in their societies.
This is a dangerous trend. For the immediate present, of course, it looks adaptive, particularly to peoples who are importing sophisticated technologies from abroad and have an urgent need for a large, technically trained cadre. But in the absence of a well-grounded philosophy of science among influential technical as well as managerial groups, in the absence of real understanding of how the scientific and the industrial revolutions actually took place in the West, there is a serious hazard that such developing countries may find themselves within a generation equipped only with technicians-and, moreover, with technicians trained to a world already passing, technicians unable, by virtue of their preparation and philosophy, to innovate effectively in a new one.
Can the United States play any effective role in alleviating the danger? That is an exceedingly difficult question. Probably the next decade must provide the answer. For beyond that period many trends now incipient will surely have crystallized and the difficulties in exerting any constructive effort will have become far greater. Basically, the question transcends those of science or technology or even economics, importantly as it bears upon them all. It lies at the broader and deeper level of social change.
In the face of the current extension of American commitments, we are inevitably in a period of national caution with foreign aid, and to some degree of national disillusionment. In the current year, the United States made its lowest contribution to foreign aid since 1963: at less than half of 1 percent of GNP, it was the lowest of any member nation of the Organization for Economic Coöperation and Development (though still, at $4.6 billion, more than twice as much in absolute terms as that of any other member). Undeniably, much of that aid has been highly significant in world terms, though it is of course hard to document what would have happened in its absence. And it is not only in the field of monetary assistance that effective action has been taken. Though often scattered and uncoördinated, devoted efforts have been made repeatedly to devise technologies suitable to the skills and the economies of the least developed of the developing states. From many sources have come designs for such primitive but well-adapted items of equipment as a simple two-man press for the manufacture of building blocks from mud and lime; a device to produce methane for fuel and as an illuminating gas from waste materials; rugged and simple hand pumps for both shallow and deep field wells; inexpensive and improved hospital equipment especially designed for rural areas, including new X-ray film carriers, blood centrifuges, equipment for the relief of the bronchial spasms so common among children in the African nations, and even cheap and functional incubators. And frequently it has been not only designs but finished products, many of which are now in use.
Necessarily, of course, the impact of these contributions has been initially local and inconspicuous, and therefore somewhat discouraging to world opinion. But, far more important, the experience of such work has stimulated a growing appreciation of how extraordinarily complex and difficult it is to assist the new countries in major and permanent ways: what delicate systems problems are involved, and how easily unforeseen disasters can follow developments that superficially appear of unimpeachable benefit Nothing, for example, could be more startlingly significant for the developing nations than the "green revolution" of the last years. The introduction of the phenomenally high-yielding strains of staple food grains, especially wheat largely developed in relatively advanced nations, has been hailed the world over for its promise to stem the tide of hunger that has always been a major dread of mankind. In Mexico, the Philippines, India, Pakistan, Ceylon and in a host of other countries, the revolution has taken hold and is succeeding. But only now is the complexity of its total impact becoming generally apparent Only recently have we fully realized that unless the Introduction of the new seed grains is accompanied by far-reaching institutional changes such as agrarian reform, there is a danger that the "green revolution" could, in the end, serve to perpetuate-and Indeed to exacerbate-existing inequities.
Again, In the world as a whole some 60 percent or more of the labor of nations has traditionally been engaged in the production of food. In the advanced nations, however, that figure is more like 5 to 10 percent. Typically, the transition from the primitive to the advanced stage comes rapidly. It came a long time ago in Europe and In North America, freeing a large portion of the population to move from the land to more monetarily rewarding work in the cities. The same evolution Is now being experienced, with equally explosive consequences, in many of the developing countries. It will overtake yet others before the decade is out, with predictably similar social effects. It seems altogether possible that the population of Calcutta may exceed 15 million during the coming decade, Buenos Aires may reach 10 million, and Cairo six million, while innumerable cities of only slightly lesser size will be swelling proportionately. If the cities can meet these tremendous incursions with even a modicum of success, if their resources for the care-and, most important, the gainful employment-of the new millions can enrich their lives only a bit beyond what they knew before they came, then the worst of disasters may be avoided. But unless an infrastructure of industrial or other support systems can somehow be developed for those millions, swift social disaster can follow. The line is thin indeed. And failure could well mean, in the coming decade or the next a series of bloody revolts around the world that could be reminiscent of the French Revolution, but on a yet larger scale.
In the face of such grim challenges produced by technologies themselves, in the face of a dramatic demonstration of the limitations and the dangers of kinds of aid which, with all their immense benefits, can also threaten serious imbalances in complex human systems which have long been in not quite disastrous, though indeed far from satisfactory, equilibria, what will constitute satisfactory patterns of aid in the future? This question, being asked with increasing frequency and force, cannot be answered today in specific terms.
Two elements, however, are clearly overriding. They seem to be universally relevant, not only over the whole developing world, but over the whole developed one as well. Indeed, it may not be too much to say that they are intimately related to the very evolution of modern man. First, it is now evident beyond all doubt that in the great post-industrial societies the primary economic asset for the coming decades will be knowledge: first supplementing, and then perhaps even exceeding in importance, the simpler and more obvious economic assets of the past. As a commodity, knowledge is exportable in many guises and through many channels. Those channels are bound to be elaborated and to increase greatly in influence over the entire globe as mechanisms of distribution also grow in scope and perfection. But it is important to remember that knowledge is also as Indigenously cultivable as the new wheats. And so a truth that has been widely evident for many years now becomes a major factor for the decade. It is as clear as it could possibly be-from this standpoint as much as from that discussed earlier-that a critical element in the salvation of the new countries, in the fields of science and technology as elsewhere, must lie in the successful growth and in the effective functioning of their educational systems as well as in their subject-content, their underlying philosophy and their balance. Here is one of the arenas where our attention can best be brought to bear, in the decade ahead, in the training for science and technology as much as elsewhere.
The second element relates to indigenous industries, well managed and firmly established. Without them, future overcrowded cities will evidently be powerless to provide enough for the new masses flocking into them. Without them, effective indigenous technologies are unlikely to evolve, and, even if perchance developed, will have difficulty in establishing firm roots. Moreover, without an established industrial structure science itself will lack an essential element of the tripartite support on which it must rest in any country: the tripod of an educational system, of industry, and of government.
Establishing a structure of effective indigenous industries is a supremely difficult task for any developing nation, where time is so short and the challenge so great. Only a few years ago it might have seemed virtually impossible. For the next decade, the rise of the transnational corporations, and their evolution toward true multinationality in the countries where they work, introduces a new, and perhaps a critically hopeful, factor.
Another aspect of this matter deserves continuing thought. It is amply evident that the coming years are going to present peculiar challenges to the United States in the maintenance of its own balance in the arenas of science and technology as well as many others-maintenance of the philosophy and practice of the scientific way which has brought us such power in partnership with our innovative technology in the past, maintenance of the balance within and between science and technology themselves, maintenance of the balance and adequacy of support for both within that triangle of the academic, the governmental and the industrial spheres. It is imperative for our own future welfare that we take wise action here. For many reasons the world of the next decade is going to be a much more difficult and competitive place than we have so far known. But this very prospect may offer a dividend with respect to effective aid to the developing countries. If we really succeed in maintaining our own balance in science and technology over the decade ahead, if we can really remain adequately creative in an increasingly demanding world, if our own internal health can remain sound and we can continue to be focused at least as much on a changing future as on a demanding present, we will benefit not only ourselves. For under these conditions-and under no others-our record will be observed and studied carefully, and, it is to be hoped, profitably, by the developing nations of the world.
Ten years ago there was a good deal of discussion among those most concerned with scientific and technical progress in the developing nations of what was then called, for want of a better term, "planned wastage of trained manpower" by firms from developed nations operating branches in such countries. By this was meant that such corporate branches, if they conducted manufacturing operations in developing countries, should undertake managerial and especially technical training programs for a larger number of citizens of the host countries than would be required to supply immediate corporate needs* It was hoped that such "surplus" trainees would seek other local industrial employment, or might be encouraged to start enterprises of their own, or at least that such a trained population, accumulating over the years, would build up a corps of skilled manpower in the nation. It was further expected that, if some of the larger of these corporate branches planned to establish research laboratories as well as technological training programs, "planned wastage" might apply here also, with a consequent strengthening of research resources in the host country.
It is striking how far imagination in that period fell short of actual events. Today the great multinational corporations have evolved to the point where in some countries they may be responsible for material assets considerably greater than the entire government resources of their hosts. But it is not sheer size that is most notable in this context. Two further elements are more significant. The first is the ability of a number of multinational corporations, well demonstrated in recent years, to catalyze developments of real importance in the infrastructures of the developing nations where they have operated: developments of a strikingly constructive and permanent nature. An outstanding, but fairly typical, example is provided by the International Basic Economy Corporation, By the end of 1968 the Corporation had established 119 subsidiaries and affiliates in 33 nations, bringing critical innovations in food production and low-cost housing, and breaking ground for local entrepreneurs who could not have succeeded without the initial heavy innovational and developmental costs borne by the Corporation. Another illustration is offered by Sears, pioneering modern supermarkets in Mexico and establishing a coterie of local manufacturing industries to stock them. As early as 1958 the U.S. Agency for International Development recognized the effectiveness of these channels for foreign aid and inaugurated its private support plan, on which it has relied increasingly for developmental tasks.
Nor is it only among American companies that transnational growth is going forward. Subsidiaries of European and Japanese corporations overseas are probably now half as great, (or even more) as those of the American ones, with an annual production in the neighborhood of $80 billion a year. The names of Mitsui and Mitsubishi in Japan, ICI and Dunlop in Great Britain, Renault in France, Volkswagen and Siemens in Germany, Olivetti and Pirelli in Italy, to name but a few, are significant.
Also important is a special characteristic of the evolution of the multinational corporations themselves, one that may receive further emphasis during the decade. In the earlier activities of the transnational companies in developing nations, the relationships basically were those of overseas branches of foreign institutions still firmly centered in their home countries, their philosophies and personnel and operating policies still largely derived directly from the environments of developed states. In recent years, however, many multinational corporations are establishing strong and relatively autonomous divisions abroad, largely staffed by local skills and supervised by relatively independent local management, though still subject to major policy direction from home. A few of the most advanced firms have even gone to the point of being truly international, drawing their management and their ownership from all over the world, becoming as nearly indigenous to the countries where they operate as it is possible to be. This is clearly the way of the future. It is tempting to speculate what new influences it may bring to bear on the political relationships of nation-states, especially among the developed countries, and what new kinds of alliances and working arrangements it will be instrumental in forging within and across the conventional political boundaries.
The influence of the multinational corporations is likely to be powerful on the cultures of nations, both developed and developing, and particularly on the future evolution of their science and technologies, and the relationships between them. For the developed nations, the political climate of Western Europe during the next decade will surely be of major significance in this context as in so many others. Already new elements in the relationships of the Common Market countries, in particular the elimination of tariff barriers, the initiation of a draft convention concerning patents-perhaps in fairly imminent prospect-the work of a commission of the European Economic Community on the establishment of uniform industrial standards for those countries, and the proposed establishment of a uniform currency, have notably stimulated the development of multinational corporations there, especially those of United States origin. There have even been one or two examples of genuine transnational corporate mergers involving European companies. Further, if Britain, Norway, Denmark and Ireland do indeed enter the Union within the next 10 years, and become firmly integrated within it, the decade could see the swift growth of two quite different kinds of transnational combinations: two kinds of gigantic entities characterized by very different origins and histories, with very different kinds of geographical boundaries, and driven by quite different philosophies and operating patterns, yet subject to parallel evolutionary opportunities. For the first time in history, we may see opening before us the startling possibility- even though rather remote at present-of a supranational political entity dealing with multinational corporations as its partners or agents. Such partnerships could amount to a double transcending of national political boundaries and national entities as they have been inherited from the last century, with ultimate consequences that might well be profoundly significant for the shape of world order in the next.
It is not clear precisely what part international structures of science and technology will play in this major drama, nor, in turn, how their own growth and balance will be shaped. Yet already some experience has accumulated with respect to modes of coöperation in science and technology among political entities that are still essentially independent, in any real sense, of coördinated political control. In October 1967, for example, and again in December 1968, the Common Market Council of Ministers initiated studies of the possibilities for close scientific coöperation among European nations in seven technical areas: metallurgy, meteorology, telecommunications, oceanography, data processing, new means of transportation and nuisance abatement. Specific projects formulated include, for example, research in titanium alloys and superalloys, in superconducting materials for industry, and in special fibers and fiber- reinforced composite materials for gas turbines, There are plans to carry some of this and other research forward in community laboratories, or, in some cases, in government laboratories of member states as parts of nationally identifiable programs that would nevertheless be integrated into an overall pattern.
These are by no means the first coöperative ventures to have been planned, and indeed carried out, within the European Community. But some must stand as warnings of the difficulties inherent in such undertakings in present circumstances of political integration. Too many have been organized on the basis of individual countries taking responsibility for discrete sectors of a joint project. In partnerships of this sort, each country faces the problem of having plans for future work in its sector approved each year by its own government, with the risk that disapproval in the national forum and consequent loss of national financing can throw the entire joint effort into massive disarray and possibly bring it to a standstill. Even short of that disaster, such arrangements are all too likely to foster international jealousies, each participant country striving to balance its own public financial contribution as evenly as possible with the private returns it anticipates from contracts awarded to its own nationals.
The hazards of joint projects undertaken as purely coöperative ventures between countries, and by industries nominally acting together but with incompletely coördinated responsibility and management, have been illustrated in such projects as the Concorde aircraft, the ELDO[vi] coöperative rocket launcher project, and ESRO,[vii] the joint agency for carrying forward space experiments. The cost of the Concorde ultimately rose beyond reasonable bounds, ELDO at the start involved the coöperation of Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Australia. But the flowering was brief; since its inception in 1962, the organization has encountered crisis after crisis, climaxing in the British declaration of intent to withdraw in 1971. After half a decade of joint work, no major complete launch has been brought off. Similarly, ESRO has suffered many difficulties, and it may be fair to say it has not yet produced a satellite that would have been beyond the capability of its individual member states to construct, and this in an era when coöperation between many of those nations and the United States has been far more fertile. Indeed, the remarkable contemporary accomplishments of some of the individual members of these international coöperative organizations have often stood in striking contrast to the very modest successes of their combined efforts. That contrast tends to confirm the judgment that organizational rather than scientific or technical flaws are primarily to blame. Evidence that Europe itself is now becoming keenly aware of these shortcomings was provided recently in the informal agreement reached by the 12 nations participating in the European Space Conference in Brussels to merge ELDO, ESRO, and the European Conference on Telecommunications by Satellite (ECTS) into a single coördinating operating body. It remains to be seen what success will attend the move, which must be approved by formal treaty. But the direction of thinking is interesting.
Another approach to European scientific and technical coöperation which so far has had but limited success is that of the government-sponsored "European Technological Community." A conspicuous example of this form of coördination is Euratom, established in 1957 to pool research on peaceful applications of nuclear energy among the Six. Originally it was established primarily as a research body, and it did important work. But it was beset by divisive hazards. Most of the member countries set up national atomic agencies in parallel with the joint effort, and in times of crisis tended to favor their own. Again, the enterprise was plagued by the philosophy of "buy-national," under which each member which had provided its share of its support for Euratom from its own budget therefore felt entitled to a comparable return in terms of contracts awarded within its own country. As a capstone to these problems, there was the interference of de Gaulle, a transient but critical difficulty.
Finally, with the years, a field that originally had been essentially one of scientific research grew importantly into one of technological development, and Euratom found difficulty in readjusting to this situation. All this led to a major crisis last year, when for a time it seemed that the organization might actually disappear. In the event it survived, and two changes stimulated by the crisis may prove significant not only for Euratom but for the long-term evolution of European scientific and technological coöperation in general. Hitherto, it had been the philosophy of Euratom that all its findings should ipso facto become common property, and be completely open for common use. The practical result of this apparently liberal and enlightened policy was that industrial firms making real innovations in the field simply avoided Euratom. Under the new policy, Euratom is to undertake contract work for individual firms-quite possibly, in the long run, for some of the multinational corporations, It plans also to broaden its fields of substantive concern.
In the context of Western Europe, these difficulties emphasize a point likewise forcefully demonstrated in the underdeveloped world: the importance, in building designs for scientific and technical collaboration, of combining the transfer of scientific, technical and managerial skills with capital in a balanced and closely joined "package," adapted to the needs of the countries concerned, whatever their stages of evolution. Although this has often proved difficult for governments, it is the normal practice of the multinational corporation. In this relation the draft convention prepared by the six Common Market countries in 1968, providing for a novel type of transnational company that would transcend the laws of individual states and be responsible instead to the convention itself, is especially interesting.
Once again special emphasis must be given to the universal element that unites the structuring of international coöperation in Western Europe with the problems of the underdeveloped nations. The ambitious and pioneering goal of a strong and tightly knit European scientific and technological community cannot possibly be realized unless it grows from a. solid base of common scholarship. How effective an international scientific structure can be when it is based on a truly multinational viewpoint has been well illustrated by the success of CERN, the Centre Européen de Recherches Nucléaires at Geneva, over the past 15 years. A collaborative program of astronomy at commonly administered European observatories has been suggested. Such joint intellectual ventures in science surely offer one of the most promising means for initiating wider scientific and technical collaboration. But in the end even such enterprises can prosper only if they are founded on common and thoroughly up-to-date educational systems. At present, it is difficult to imagine that foundations of common scholarship, vital to the support of future collaborative growth in these areas, can be firmly built in the new Europe without radical departures in modernizing its universities. Scholarship and learning must be made more autonomous and more generally accessible than they have ever been. The extraordinary importance of a unified and intellectually sharpened system of education, built upon a broadly shared base of cultural values, including those of science, is as clear for the nations of Western Europe as for the developing countries, though in a context very different in detail. Another common requirement, too, demands continuing emphasis: the maintenance of a subtle but intimate operating cohesion between science and technology, and, most important, of the delicate balance of priorities in their coördination and management.
CERN may ultimately be judged the most viable, and in many senses the most intellectually productive of all the joint research efforts in Western Europe, even though funding is presenting some current-though apparently soluble-difficulties. Its success, however, may be fairly typical of its special class. It has long been evident that international scientific coöperation, even between the Eastern and Western European blocs, and with the United States, has fared better in projects concerned primarily with scientific research per se than in those of wider and more varied scope. A striking contemporary example of this is the recent decision in Moscow and in Washington to allow American scientists to work at Terpukhov, with its Soviet nuclear accelerator, and, reciprocally, to admit Soviet scientists to the American nuclear center at Batavia, Illinois, where even more powerful facilities may eventually become available. A similar example of success in purely scientific collaboration was the recent U. S.-Soviet conference on computer design, development and use, held at Turin and attended by an 11-man Soviet delegation and by representatives of two U.S. universities.
In sharp contrast has been the very different attitude characterizing the spaceship experiments, conducted on the Soviet side with SOYUZ and by Project Skylab of NASA on the American, The investigations themselves are parallel, but the implications, of course, range far beyond the gathering and interpretation of knowledge. Here genuine coöperation has so far proved virtually impossible. There could hardly be a more striking tribute to the Jeffersonian internationalism inherent in science itself. Yet intricate crosscurrents at deep levels influence and mark the boundaries between political and economic and scientific-technological elements of culture: currents which will surely continue to plague us throughout the remainder of the century.
The seminar on computers at Turin was organized by the International Center for Advanced Technological and Vocational Training, a body set up by the International Labor Organization of the United Nations. Like other constructive activities of a similar cast-such, for instance, as the recent joint research effort on the sea, organized by UNESCO, involving more than 20 nations including the U.S.S.R, and planned to last for three years-it raises an important question; What will be the role of the United Nations in these movements over the next decade?
The role could surely be important. But at present it is unclear. The uncertainty derives in considerable part from the present structure of the United Nations itself and from its vision of its place and function in the evolving world. Richard Gardner has recently pointed out that in a constitutional sense, the original U.N. Charter scarcely took notice of international science and technology, which less than 25 years later were to be of such overriding importance.[viii] Surely the time has come for the United Nations to take official cognizance of the great possibilities in these fields that the coming decade will present.
Resolutions have recently been, introduced into the General Assembly recommending the establishment of international jurisdiction and government over the oceans and the ocean beds of the world. If the United Nations establishes a supranational jurisdiction of this sort, an early move should be made to fashion agreements with transnational corporations looking to the exploration and exploitation of these seabeds, with their still largely unestimated wealth. Such a partnership, if successful, could be a step along the road toward reorganizing jurisdictions and restructuring concerns among economic, international political, and national political domains-a road sure to be traveled in other ways over the remainder of this century.
Such developments, of course, will depend importantly upon events within the United Nations itself. Will it recognize the truly immense scope of its opportunities-indeed, of its responsibilities? Will it perceive them effectively enough to broaden its viewpoint and accomplish considerable readjustments at high levels of influence and power? If it does, it could become a truly important lever of the future, implementing the growing feeling among men everywhere that the system of nation-states, as presently organized, is too clumsy-and perhaps too weak-to harness the forces of the contemporary scientific and technological revolution. Upon these rather fateful alternatives much of the shape of the coming decade may depend.
Despite the fact that formal aid to developing nations by the United States now stands at the lowest GNP percentage of any developed country currently engaged in such activity, it still represents, in dollar terms, by far the largest contribution being made today. Together with this circumstance, the history and prominence of the American example and the important and growing influence of American-based transnational corporations leave no doubt that the way in which the United States conducts its affairs in the areas of research and development can exert an extraordinarily important world influence, for good or ill. It must be an important focus for continuing scrutiny by the underdeveloped world. By the same token, though for somewhat different reasons, the way that the United States conducts its research and development must be a focus of continuing review among the developed nations, particularly in Western Europe.
Robert Gilpin[ix] has recently distinguished three fundamental economic strategies that a nation can follow in responding to the challenge of the new international economy that will characterize the next decade. It can support scientific investigation and technical development across what amounts to a universal front, seeking to maintain its position in all the advanced fields open to it Or, if its resources of talented and trained men and women and of money are more modest, it can try to specialize, concentrating on limited areas of science and technology which it considers of the greatest strategic value. Or it can achieve its initial access to science and technology by importations from abroad, hoping later to model its own research and development on them. The first course, obviously, is possible in any extended sense only for the superpowers. It has been followed by both the United States and the Soviet Union. Great Britain followed that path in the nineteen-fifties, but revised it during the last decade, Gaullist France also attempted the first policy, but abandoned it after a series of costly failures. Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands, among others, have consistently followed the second policy. The third course is replete with risks, Japan has demonstrated that, in the right circumstances and rightly approached, it can be eminently successful, leading to burgeoning scientific, technological and economic strength. But there is a thin line between success and ultimate scientific and technological thralldom for a smaller country relying on this strategy. The potential for indigenous scientific and technological growth-and with it for an appropriate system of education-must be present or must be created and developed in parallel with the borrowing if the enterprise is to be viable over the long term. This is the problem besetting so many developing nations. In practice, of course, every country except those in an extremely early stage of development must, to some degree, employ a mixture of all three modes.
The United States has clearly been the most generally successful pioneer in the first of these strategies during and since World War II. Clearly, its success was made possible to a very considerable degree by the effective channels for continuing interaction and coördination among the three principal sources of support for scientific and educational development in the nation : government, industry and the academic structure. The implicit decision not to formalize a holistic policy in this area but to respond to pressures as they appear is an approach to which we have long been committed in other sectors of public policy. It has sometimes proved flexible, sensitive and genuinely adaptive. But its effectiveness rests upon an unremitting commitment to examine it constantly, to search out inevitable weak points and to reassure ourselves continually that it matches a dynamically changing environment During the next decade, that commitment will be more than ever a sine qua non for a United States which must coexist in a world including a scientifically and technically burgeoning Japan, a possibly burgeoning Soviet Union, the beginnings of a 10-member national coalition of Western Europe, commanding some of the richest human and material resources of the planet, and in a climate created very considerably by the further development of the multinational corporations. There are reasons enough for diligence.
The challenge takes on particular significance in conjunction with at least three major domestic issues involving our national policy with respect to science and technology. The first two relate to levels of government support of scientific research and education and to understanding priorities.
In 1964, the Federal Republic of Germany devoted approximately 1.3 percent of its GNP to research and development. By 1968 that figure had risen to about 24 percent; and 2.5 percent or better is projected for 1972. During the period from 1968 to 1971, although the total budget of the German federal government is expected to expand by only some 6 percent per year, increase in the part devoted to research, and development is projected at an annual rate of approximately 16 percent If the amount contributed by industry is added, the entire expenditure on research and development in the Federal Republic may soon reach 13,000 or 14,000 million deutsche marks, if it has not already done so. It was only in 1955 that Germany was permitted to enter the field of large-scale nuclear development. Since then, stimulated by a rapidly growing need for added sources of energy, reinforced by indigenous talented personnel (many trained in the United States and elsewhere) and aided by government funds, progress has been so rapid that in many aspects the German nuclear power program has now caught up with that of the United States, and in some areas has surpassed it. The installed capacity of nuclear power stations is expected to be 2,300 megawatts by 1972, Moreover, it is considered possible that by then additional nuclear production capacity will be on order, which will be capable, when completed, of producing 12,000 megawatts of electricity. The merchant ship Otto Hahn, designed especially for nuclear propulsion, is a pioneer among nuclear-powered vessels in the world today, being considerably in advance of the U.S.S. Savannah.
The German Federal Ministry for Scientific Research has outlined several "priority programs" touching current frontiers of both basic investigation and industrial development They include data processing, space research, atomic energy and oceanography. In the field of data processing a series of regional computing centers is planned, in a program expected to reach a level of expenditure of at least 500 million DM by 1971.
In Japan, government funding for research and development in 1966 amounted to 1.4 percent of the GNP; that projected for 1971 is 2.5 percent This figure is particularly impressive when it is recalled that, in contrast to expenditures in most European countries and the United States, the proportion spent on research and development for military purposes is very low. For the Japanese fiscal year 1966 the total spent on research was reckoned at about 1.35 billion yen, exceeding that of 1965 by nearly 15 percent Later expansion, though not quite so dramatic, has been continuous, As in Germany, very high priorities have been set by the government in fields of space research, including the development of satellites and rockets. Research on atomic energy, with special emphasis on the nuclear powering of ships and the development of efficient nuclear fuels, is also advancing actively. For centuries the Japanese have been avid investigators and exploiters of the marine environment, both physical and biological. It is natural that programs in marine science and marine technology should be given high priority.
All over the world, among developed and some developing nations, research is being accorded an increasingly high priority by governments, and is being supported at an accelerating rate. In many of the most important of the developed countries-notably in Germany and Japan-morale in the sector devoted to research and development has probably never been higher nor productivity greater. And the mainland of Asia is stirring too. There is much to indicate that scientific efforts are quickening in China, and concrete evidence that, now that her own nuclear program has been successfully launched, research and development in satellite technology is proceeding under forced draft.
Against this background, the trajectory of our own government support for science and technology for the last two years, and its projection for the next several have been truly disquieting. According to data prepared by the National Science Foundation and recently quoted by Dr. Lee A. DuBridge, federal obligations for basic research, in the nation grew from about $200 million in 1956 to about $2 billion by 1967-an astonishing growth rate of 21 percent a year, which it would be obviously unwise, if not impossible, to sustain for long. But during the years from 1965 to 1970 the average rate dropped precipitously to 7 percent, and for the last three years it has been essentially static in a formal sense. In its budget for fiscal year 1969, the National Science Foundation was allotted the total sum of $435 million, including some carryover from the previous year, and in 1970 the corresponding total was about $438 million.
These tight restrictions have proved drastically disturbing to the federal funding of academic research. The slight dollar increases from 1969 to 1970, to be sure, were made against heavy odds, given the other demands on the national purse, and they may have symbolized some commitment to the principle of advance. Furthermore, the total for the current year is $513 million, and, if recent discussions in the Senate, in which the "sense of the Congress" with respect to support of the National Science Foundation was explored, should result in action, the NSF budget for 1972 may possibly be increased by approximately a further $100 million. These are encouraging signs. Yet the fact remains that, because of both dollar inflation and the rapidly rising costs of research, the current result of the funding levels of the past few years has been to constrict anticipated programs of federally supported research by 20 to 25 percent in some 550 institutions. And it seems probable that the level of federally supported research in the nation as a whole has fallen by approximately a quarter during the past four years.
It is quite clear that federal funding for research in the nation cannot- and should not-expand in the coming decade at the rate it did in the first half of the last Maintenance of such a rate would have resulted in a serious imbalance in the nation's commitments. But our recent violent reaction has been both disturbing and dangerous. An abrupt adjustment toward a new and supposedly static "equilibrium" in the quality and scope of American research and technology cannot avoid wreaking serious and long- lasting damage. Decades ago Whitehead said: "In the conditions of modern life the rule is absolute, the race which does not value trained intelligence is doomed. . . . Today we maintain ourselves. Tomorrow science will have moved forward yet one more step; and there will be no appeal from the judgment wrhich will then be pronounced on the uneducated," His words carry deepened significance today both for those whom we would assist and for ourselves.
The third issue, broader than the first two, involves them both. It deals with the formulation of coherent science policies. Surely the need for an accepted, federal science policy in the nation was never greater. Yet it comes at a peculiarly difficult time. It confronts us in a period of critical budget stringency; and it is deeply influenced by at least two other major factors.
A number of years ago, students of trends in academic training in the United States called attention to the fact that during the last decade the number of Ph.D. degrees awarded in the sciences, responding to current national demands in science and technology, was itself increasing at roughly an exponential rate, They warned that realistically this rate could not be projected very far into the future without the risk of a frustrating and harmful waste of talent and human resources. It is at least five years since it became widely suspected that the exponential phase of our demand for scientific talent was fading and might be succeeded by a period of linear expansion whose rate would finally approximate that of the population as a whole. Thus for nearly half a decade we were given the opportunity to initiate a gradual change of pace that might have anticipated a new situation. But we failed generally to perceive the need, and failed totally to respond in a graduated fashion. Now, with the necessity obvious, we are tempted to overreact dangerously.
At the same time, we are coming to perceive-again perhaps all too abruptly- that, rich as our resources are, we are reaching a limit in the number and diversity of desirable projects which we have the means to support: we too may be forced to modify the first of Gilpin's strategies. This is an unpleasant discovery. To add to a disenchantment with science and technology, there comes the recognition of the critical factor that again should have been only too evident for many years-the dangerous side-effects which some technologies can have on our environment.
It will surely require at least a decade of hard work even to approach the general task of developing a more cohesive strategy for research and development in the nation, and to formulate explicit policies that not only can set priorities in fields of work-itself a task of truly herculean difficulty-but also can estimate direct returns to the society from its investments in science and technology. The unknowns are stupendous at present, and may always remain so. But some of the elements essential in such a policy are discernible now.
Accepting, as we must, the limitations to which we shall be bound over the next few years at least, what immediate moves can we make? For one thing, an assured expansion of federal support, proportioned against the continued expansion of the GNP itself, would assist a great deal. What the precise proportion should be can be debated. Much more important than absolute magnitudes would be the long-term assurance of growth itself. In this context, it is particularly encouraging to notice that recent discussions of the funding of the National Science Foundation have indeed been taken in this frame of reference, and even that a specific proportion of the GNP-0.1 percent-has been suggested for its continuing support.
The extraordinary importance not so much of the absolute amount of federal support as of its consistency needs constant reiteration. Nothing is so disastrous in the conduct of any scientific enterprise (short of serious inadequacies in the supply of available talent and in the organization to implement it) as erratic, unanticipated changes in the level of its support. This is obvious when support is suddenly withdrawn. It is less obvious, though equally true, when support is suddenly and unexpectedly expanded unreasonably-as earlier experiences of the National Institutes of Health bore ample witness. This argues strongly for gradualism in the federal funding of research. But it argues particularly for the establishment of some stable formula for determining a reliable and predictable floor for research expenditures from year to year. Thus, if federal research support is indeed to be tied to the national economy, its proportion should be set at a point that can be realistically regarded as a minimum, guaranteed, stable base, to be honored even in lean years when other demands are unusually severe.
Another closely related element of policy, similarly pointed at the levels of federal support of science and technology, is based directly on the distinction between those categories which is so critical in the context of the developing nations. In a modern industrial state the functional differences between science and technology, so important in the developing nations, persist, and it is important to reckon with them. That it is possible to do this at a very practical level was demonstrated in the structuring of our own federal budgets for the support of research and technology in the previous two decades. During much of this period, the budget items for science and technology were formally separated, and the curves of federal support for the two categories varied independently from year to year. In the category of "basic" research, it has been estimated that federal support grew by 29 percent a year between 1956 and 1964, then dropped to 9 percent between that year and 1969. In the "technology" category the earlier growth rate was 21 percent, the later 5 percent. Thus the rate curves for the two classes of funding were preferential to the "basic" category in both periods. But the actual dollar budgeting in the "technology" category was much the larger of the two. The separation of the two, therefore, made it possible to go on making modest increases in support of research.
The distinction, however, was formally abandoned in federal budgeting late in the decade, and several advantages seem to have been lost by the change. The budgeting process has almost certainly been rendered less sharp in this area, and it seems probable that any move to establish a stable "floor" under the federal support of scientific activities will be made more difficult. There seem to be cogent arguments for reversing it.
Again, early in the sixties a number of large items of federal expenditure that had once been designated for maintenance, operations and procurement were transferred to columns debited to research and technology. In the Department of Defense alone this transfer increased the research and development account five or six times, resulting in a recorded expenditure of more than $17 billion a year for "Research and Development," when in fact only about 26 percent of that amount was expended for basic and applied research.[x] Such blurring of categories makes it harder to achieve adequate federal funding for scientific research and education, and to maintain an appropriate balance of that funding in the total picture of federal obligations.
By the same token, the present national budget provides about $1.5 to $2 billion for the support of scientific research. For technological development, as currently defined, about 10 times this amount is available: $15 to $20 billion. Approximately $150 billion is budgeted for goods and services closely related to or dependent on technology. These strikingly contrasted proportions offer opportunities for beneficial readjustments of balance at little cost. A shift of approximately 5 percent of the funds allotted to development to the research column, for example, could increase the latter sum by half. Such simple illustrations, randomly chosen, underline the need for adequate monitoring and survey mechanisms to determine an operating equilibrium in the multifarious situations with which a developed industrial nation is constantly confronted. How they are to be achieved will be a major policy concern through the next decade.
Another element of future policy must obviously involve a thorough reëxamination of federal support for education both within and beyond science and technology. In this arena, decisions taken today will have their most important effects a decade or more hence. Serious underproduction or overproduction of advanced graduates in science and technology can contribute gravely to undermanning and so weakening the national economy, or can result in grossly inhumane and wasteful maldistribution and misuse of human talent.
Discussions of the federal support of science have tended recently to polarize into two distinct patterns, commonly referred to as the "institutional" grant and the "project" grant. "Project" support usually connotes a pattern in which specific research enterprises are judged individually, usually by panels of experts, on the basis of their substantive importance and the excellence of the personnel involved. This pattern, widely adopted during the years of most rapid growth of federal support for academic science, still accounts for approximately 75 percent of the total federal support to graduate education in the country. It has some obvious advantages, among them the careful judgments of quality that individual proposals have usually received. But it has the disadvantages of tending to reward, and so to emphasize, proficiency in research over the proficiency in teaching which our own nation, like all others, so much needs today.
Under the institutional system, by contrast, support is commonly given in bloc grants to carry on both research and teaching, and is administered by the receiving institutions as they judge best. The defects of the project grant system are the virtues of the institutional one. It allows greater latitude in the expenditure of monies, permitting a more effective balance between the support of teaching and research, and even making possible a better balance within the research category itself. It also restores needed authority to the university and helps sustain the institutional integrity essential to hard-pressed educational organizations in our time.
But an overall support policy must be conceived in a much more general frame. Six further categories of grant patterns have been distinguished by the President's Task Force on Science Policy,[xi] including Institutional Sustaining Grants, Departmental Sustaining Grants, Developmental Grants, Graduate Facilities Grants, Graduate Fellowships and Research Project Grants. Even though such categories must be arbitrary, they can recognize a multiple array of needs and channels and thus facilitate the design of a balance more attuned to the evolving needs of the country as a whole. The balance achieved in the federal support of education for science and technology, in respect both to level and to the modes of its distribution, will be of major interest to developed and developing nations alike in the years that lie ahead.
In a wider area, the maintenance of proportion, and, above all, of effective integration, is vital among the three great supports of any nation's scientific and technological health and progress: its industries, academic structure and federal establishment. This is especially critical for the United States today.
The U.S. government's historic practice of specifically forwarding the commitments of the private industrial sector to secure major technological advances, especially through the contract mechanism, has been highly significant-more than ever since World War II, when it was widely relied upon for the development of military technology. Today, although the government is estimated to finance two-thirds of the nation's technical effort, a good two-thirds of the enterprise is executed by private industry. At the same time, the government is itself a main consumer of the technology perfected by industry. The result has been to make private enterprise, to a significant extent, the beneficiary of public undertakings. This contrasts with the practice in Europe, where there has been a tendency to rely primarily on government establishments to conduct the work in government technology and, on the whole, to neglect the resources of private industry. That pattern, which has proved demonstrably less effective, has come under increasing European criticism in recent years, particularly in Great Britain.
The American system itself is due to confront some serious and often novel problems over the next decade. They will be posed particularly by the growing need, and the growing public demand, to allocate more of the national productive capacity to imperative social and economic wants. It remains to be seen whether our own system can adapt satisfactorily to these new conditions. Given its flexibility, however, the odds seem good.
Meanwhile, the significance of the government-industry-academic partnership for the health of American science and technology becomes ever more evident. No matter how well federal support of research may be administered, federal funds will inevitably fall far short of the ultimate need. But there is little indication that private industrial support will recede: on the contrary, it can be expected to expand. A survey made somewhat over a year ago by the Economics Department of the McGraw-Hill publishing company estimated that in 1978 industry in the United States will be investing some $33.6 billion in research and development, compared with the $17.6 billion expended in 1968. In 1978, colleges and universities are expected to carry on $5.6 billion worth of research, compared with $3.5 billion in 1968, and the corresponding figure for nonprofit laboratories is expected to reach $1.6 billion, compared with $840 million in 1968. Not only is the cumulative expansion of industrial research and development likely to exceed considerably that in other sectors of the research economy, the current cutbacks forced on federal funding are not likely to be reflected on the industrial scene either. Industrial employment of scientists and engineers grew at an average rate of 3.2 percent during the past decade, and the rate of growth between 1969 and 1972 has been projected at 4 percent The future significance of the multinational corporation in the world environment is emphasized once again in this context.
Many even more immediate questions of American science policy will surely occupy our attention during the coming decade. The evolution of mechanisms for the smooth transition of support for vital research programs from military to nonmilitary agencies, particularly the National Science Foundation, will, for example, be very important. But in terms of the impact of the United States upon the rest of the world nothing can be more significant than the conservation of the balanced working system that we maintain, however imperfectly, among government, industry and the academic community in supporting and prosecuting the enterprises of science and technology, and assuring that the channels of communication among them are kept sensitive and dynamic. That system, as we have developed it over the years, in some sense almost by accident and out of characteristics and traditions deeply embedded in our culture, has been the envy of the world. There are forces now that could erode or even dismember it. It is of primary importance, for the world at large quite as much as for the United States, that it, and the general philosophy undergirding it, be defended and maintained effectively through the years ahead.
[i] Merrill D. Peterson, "Thomas Jefferson and the New Nation." New York: Oxford University Press, 1970. Italics inserted by the present author.
[ii] Victor Basiuk, "The Impact of Technology in the Next Decades," Orbis, Spring 1970.
[iii] In recent testimony before a Republican Task Force of the House, Dr. Raymond Ewell stated that, of 32 major raw materials for industry, the United States is already no longer self-sufficient in 25. The Soviet Union lacks self-sufficiency in only five of these. And Dr. Philip H. Abelson has pointed out that more than 90 percent of the needs for residual fuel oil in the northeastern United States is derived from foreign sources. The cost of residual fuel oil in New York, at this writing, has increased by more than half. (Science, September 25, 1970. P. 1267
[iv] James Reston, "Is Nuremberg Coming Back to Haunt Us?" Saturday Review, July 18, 1970.
[v] J. D. Bernal, "Science in History." London: C. A. Walts and Penguin Books, 1969.
[vi] European Launcher Development Organization.
[vii] European Space Research Organization.
[viii] Richard N. Gardner, "Can the United Nations Be Revived?" Foreign Affairs, July 1970.
[ix] Robert Gilpin, "Technological Strategies and National Purposes," Science, July 31, 1970.
[x] "Science and Technology: Tools for Progress," The Report of the President's Task Force on Science Policy, April 1970. Ruben F. Mettler, Chairman.
[xi] "Science and Technology, Tools for Progress," op. cit.