ACT Essay: International Co-Operation through Science and Technology

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In the history of human cooperation science and technology have played a crucial role, though its more sensational contributions have often been in the realm of conflict and warfare. From the invention of gun powder to nuclear weapons and the mind boggling program of Star Wars, it was in the military sphere that international impact of science and technology has been felt environment, ozone depletion and global warming. Notwithstanding such precedents of our officers dealing with almost any subject under the sun, it is essential for the success of the economic-cum-technological diplomacy of the present-day world that there is direct association of scientists in bilateral and international negotiations and also regular and structure inter-action between scientists and diplomats. Some general training in some of the major areas of science and technology should also be considered an indispensable qualifications for modern diplomats.

It is only tension among nations, scramble for markets, territorial disputes, pursuit of power, accumulation of nuclear weapons and race for armaments, which today pose threats to peace and to the future of mankind, but unrestrained growth of population, menace of drugs and AIDS, destruction of the environment, the greenhouse effect, ozone depletion and global warming. All these require cooperative action at the international level Involving politics, economics, social engineering, and all the resources of science and technology. It is believed that science and technology can play a crucial role in finding solutions to these global problems. But it can provide only part of the answer, not the whole answer. Indeed one has to go a little beyond politics, economics and science to find answers to the overwhelming questions facing mankind today.

When we talk of science and technology for resolving problems and bettering the condition of mankind, we often mean mainly producing and providing more and more of the good glittering things of life. We need more and more things, firstly, for satisfying the unfulfilled basic needs of millions of under-privileged and for meeting the needs of a rapidly growing population, and secondly, for catering to the craves of the well-to-do for endlessly multiplying wants and luxuries. For these purposes, perhaps more for the latter then for the former, we use technology for producing more and more, and-better and still better goods and gadgets. We explore and discover new resources, we split the atom and the genes, we score the depths of oceans and conquer space believing that the hunger of man for lucre and power could be satisfied in this manner.

Intoxicated by the material possibilities held out by science, we do not ask whether some limitation upon the wants and cravings of man are not as much necessary, at least after a certain level of satisfaction, as producing an abundance of goods and services. We do not ask if the advancement of science should not be accompanied by the improvement of man including a civilized sense of self-restraint. It seems that even the fullest utilization of science and technology will not be able to satisfy the unlimited wants and desires of man and his greed for power and the symbols of power.

To some of the social and environmental problems created by technology; part of the answer is further development of technology itself like devices for controlling pollution including CFC emissions, developing alternatives to these so called gases of prosperity and technologies for conservation of energy, alternative sources of energy, etc. In all this intensified international cooperation is essential, but on the basis of developmental equity for the countries of the South.

Thus, without being altruistic and sacrificing their legitimate economic interests it should be possible for the developed countries of the world to be guided by this spirit of sharing in the sphere of international cooperation in science and technology. That would, besides, be an indication that the development of the awesome power of science and technology will be animated by the spirit of humanism for the good of mankind and not for purposes of exploitation or destruction.