Page 9

of resources, under the pattern of available techniques, '(knowledge), its rate of application, and its conseby mining ore'and exchange with other areas. Similarly, quences. Deliberate social policy is becoming more and a backward area can develop a capital-intensive industry more involved with making decisions such as the proporsince it competes with capital-rich industries of other tion of resources to be devoted to research, the proareas for capital rather than with capital-poor industries portion to be devoted to incorporating the results of in its own area. To the extent that capital markets are research in the production organization, and the measimperfect or political instability prevails, this does not ures to be undertaken for the mitigation of conseapply. Also, to the extent that interregional commodity quences of innovation (worker displacement, skill obflows are barred, priority of wants will govern regional solescence, falling farm prices, changes in military podevelopment. tential and international relationships, etc.). Finally, the sequence of industrial development deTo make such decisions we must know more about pends upon the relationship of external economies. As the productivity of expenditures on research, the deterlong as transport is crude, small-scale operations ap- minants of the rate of adoption of research results, propriate to a local market will prevail. Typically, and the effect of technological change on the rate small-scale production tends to be labor-intensive. Capi- of investment, the level of income, and the division tal may be abundant, but its outlet is in consumer- of income. The impact of technological change on value durable goods and conspicuous display. The building conceptions and value realization, on social organizaof a bridge may connect markets (as in a recent instance tion, and on consensus in the community must also be in Liberia) and permit the growth of specialization measured, although such measurements are most diffiand of large-scale, capital-intensive industry. The state cult. Also, the causes of disparities between social and of development of services such as transport, electric private costs of technological change and social and pripower, water supply, etc. is both consequence and vate benefits must be found and the means designated determinant of industrial development. for reducing the size of the disparities, where that is Thus, we have a set of elements or concepts (skill, indicated, or offsetting them, where the latter is the labor, capital, and land intensities, priority of wants, appropriate policy. Only then can we determine optiresource patterns, market size, and specialization and mum rates of research and of technological change. indivisibilities, i.e., potentialities of external economies) Problems of technological change have been treated and some generalizations as to their relationships in a as a part of the labor problem, the land problem, the time sequence. These elements and their relationships cycle problem, or the problem of social disorganization. should be tested by an analysis of history (by studies of Changing patterns of labor and land utilization were comparative industrialization such as those proposed by treated as such with little attempt to isolate the shifting the Council's Committee on Economic Growth) and by a theoretical examination of the optimum combination state of the arts and segregate its effects or devise policies of elements. The former may suggest some oversights to treat it apart from other causes of difficulties. It is and provide hypotheses for the latter; the latter will important that we learn to segregate technological change and its consequences. Treating it as a part of provide us with a framework for policy making. To the extent that social forces operated in a proper other problems results in social devices which miss framework, we may have had development in a nearly their objectives because of the resulting confusion. The optimum fashion with men unconscious of any deliber- problem of the worker displaced by the decline of his ate intent. To the extent that we are more consciously company or the decline of his region, for example, is making decisions on an economy-wide scale in the man- different from that of a worker displaced by a new agement of our society (as in the case of atomic energy), technique which has made his skill obsolete. Such desocial forces do not automatically provide policy-making vices as labor market information, employment agencies, or subsidized migration are appropriate for the former criteria that can be depended upon. case. These do not solve the difficulties of the latter case. The problem of atomic energy is not simply a ' DETERMINANTS AND CONSEQUENCES OF TECHNOLOGICAL CHANGE military problem and cannot be handled with the same techniques that are used for military problems. The total examination of the field of technological In the planning of research on technological change, we are concerned with hi~toric patterns of industrial- change will require a team approach. Only by comization and optimum sequences in the development of bining the work of economists, sociologists, psycholoa region. Our primary concern, however, is with the gists, political scientists, and other specialists can the factors determining the rate of growth of technology total cost and total effect of any given change be 33

Items Vol. 3 No. 3 (1949)  
Items Vol. 3 No. 3 (1949)