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By Vincent J. McBrierty

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Extra resources for Europe–Japan. Futures in Science, Technology and Democracy

Sample text

Rather than closing ranks with each attempting to rely only on itself, the countries and groups of countries on each of the three sides of the triangle which is today guiding world technological and economic development (and perhaps not only this kind of development) have a real interest in reinforcing the system as a whole. As it is generally believed that Europe is the weakest link, a word of reassurance may not be out of place. A strong Community is a far more interesting partner for the USA and for Japan than one losing its foothold in international competition.

The passage from an economic system based on mass production and abundant cheap energy to a system dominated by the new technologies, and shifting the emphasis from quantity to quality is changing the structure of economic life and the way our societies operate. ' In citing the most recent unemployment statistics for the EEC, particularly among young people, Colombo argued that social and political pressures were such that innovation policy can only ignore this problem at its peril. There are, however, inherent conflicts in Europe compared to Japan or the USA.

Moreover, politicians and scientists themselves have agreed that any researcher must have the freedom to work independently and in accordance with academic standards, without political tampering with the process, or pressure on the researcher to misuse his credentials to legitimize certain ideological or political positions. Now, however, it could easily happen that politicians would want to determine more specifically both what areas should be singled out as promising and politically important ones, and even which particular projects should be given preferential government support.

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