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Commodification of science and technology

from Maria Alejandra Madi

At the beginning of XX century, Joseph Schumpeter developed the concept of creative destruction  to characterize the waves of development based on clusters of innovations -both technical and institutional. In the last decades, these waves have included petrochemical products, automobiles, information technologies and biotechnologies, especially genetic modification.

Looking back, throughout the postwar era in advanced Western societies, scientific research and technological development included research councils, scientific advisory boards, expert commissions and specialized government agencies in different areas, such as health, agriculture and especially atomic energy. The target was to transform the scientific and technological development in a profitable process. As a result, for instance, new kinds of chemical products have been introduced, especially fertilizers, insecticides and additives used in food production.

Accordingly Eric Hobsbawn (1997), deep concerns turned out to grow because of the social implications of these scientific and technological trends in the 1960s.  Indeed, in Western societies, signals of social discontent included the critique of science and technology applied to military targets, and of the deleterious effects of automation technologies on labour and working conditions.  In addition, high concern also arose on behalf of health and environmental costs that resulted from the widely-used chemical in agriculture.  Read more

  1. Adolf Stepan
    August 1, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Don’t forget innovations in finance and monetary sectors like structured assed backed securities (CDOs and the like), plastic money, digital money (bitcoins), rating agencies, and many more. Products and sectors not mentioned by Schumpeter although closely connected to technology and production. They too have deep impacts on the intangible environment of society and give rise to deep concerns.

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