Leapfrogging the Scientific and Technological Gap: An Alternative National Strategy for Mastering the Future
AbstractThis paper dwells on the scientific and technological dimensions of the national crisis. It argues that the present crisis is a symptom of the underlying, systemic weaknesses in society. These weaknesses refer to our country’s scientific and technological backwardness, dependence on foreign technologies and capital, and its subordination to foreign dominance, exploitation and control. Locked in the international division of labor, the Philippines has played the role of the exporter of primary commodities and importer of production technologies. Accordingly, based on the nation’s economic history, it is the acceptance of the international division of labor that has perpetuated and worsened the underdevelopment of our economy. Assessing our cycle of backwardness and dependence, the nature of science and technology, technological innovations and technological potentials as nuanced in the Philippine context, the paper maps our country’s stages of technological capabilities. Despite achievements in agriculture, industry and health during the past few years, the problem remains that we do not yet have genuine endogenous industries in chemicals, metals, pharmaceuticals, automotives and electronics. The Philippines, once at par with other countries in Southeast Asia and East Asia in scientific and technological development, is now lagging behind most of its neighbors. The inadequate government support and the lack of an effective economic demand for local innovations are seen as reasons for the slow development. The national strategy the paper proposes is technological leapfrogging. As a strategy, it attempts to liberate the country from dependence and backwardness by importing selected high technologies in order to acquire adaptive, replicative, and innovative mastery of these advanced technologies. More importantly, the paper argues that it is this strategy, geared towards national technological mastery, which provides a long-range vision for designing, building and insuring of the nation’s future in the 21st century.
technological gap, technological leapfrogging, development, economy, Southeast Asia, foreign dependence
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