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Author(s): M.V. Naidu

Source: Peace Research, Vol. 25, No. 1 (February 1993), pp. 1-23
Published by: Canadian Mennonite University
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23607220
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M.V. Naidu
Political Science, Brandon University
Brandon, Manitoba, Canada

What is the ideology of development?'

In the contemporary context, ideology may be defined as a set of ideas,

attitudes and values on the nature of man, society, state and the world
Ideology attempts to analyze the past and the present, postulates the ideal
future, prescribes the processes and the methods to attain the ideal, an
appeals to the masses for acceptance, loyalty and necessary action.2 In
broad sense, political ideology deals with values and methods concernin
the ideal government system, economic goals, social well-being and mor

In a narrow sense, contemporary ideology of development sets up as its

ideal or main goal, unrestricted materialism and unlimited economic
affluence through industrialization. In the words of the Brandt Commi
sion Report, the industrialized countries "stick to a guiding philosophy
which is predominantly materialistic and based on a belief in the automatic
growth of the gross national product and of what they regard as livin

All Western models of development stress industrial production and

consumerism. Speaking of these industrial-consumer models, Horowitz
says: "In both the 'conservative' Rostovian and the 'liberal' Prebisch
variants, the index of progress comes down to the productive growth of

* Revised version of the article that appeared as Chapter One in Perspectives on

Technology and Development, edited by O.P. Dwivedi (New Delhi: Gitanjali Publishing
House, 1986).

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consumer products, an appeal to 'materialistic' and acquisitorial aspects of
human conduct, and an omission of rational, long range societal commit
ments."4 The doctrines of these models postulate that: "If every effort is
bent to developing an internally owned and controlled heavy industrial
base, the assumption is that development is within the reach of all." Thus
industrialization has come to be the one and only means of creating and
sustaining material abundance in terms of quantity. Quantitative change at
one point leads to qualitative change.

What is science-technology?5

In modern English the term techne has come to mean human skill in
general. Therefore, technology, in a general sense, is a set of skills,
knowledge and procedures for making, using and doing useful things. In
a specific sense, technology refers to the instruments and processes of
mechanization and manufacturing in modem industry. In this sense it is
'physical' or 'material' technology.

Material technology has four aspects: (1) tools, i.e., the machines of
manufacture; (2) skills, i.e., the capabilities acquired through education
and training to operate the tools and machines; (3) techniques, i.e., the
methods of using the tools for certain specific ends; and (4) science and
technology of technicology,6 i.e., the systematized study of principles
involved in mechanization, techniques, and fundamental sciences that are
relevant to research and development (R & D).

Historically, technology preceded science. However, modem science

has led to the development of modem technology. That is why some
consider technology as primarily applied science. Technology has come to
mean a practical application of all scientific knowledge in the production
of economic wealth.

Modem technology differs from pre-modem or classical technology in

many respects. Under classical technology men are bound by limitations
posed by nature and environment in terms of materials available, energy
sources, tools and techniques. Modem technology overcomes these limi
tations by adding to nature, by tampering with nature or by creating
synthetic substitutes. For energy, modem technology has devised hydro
electricity or has created new energy from coal, oil and nuclear fission.
Tools of modem technology are highly artificial, complex and efficient,
and cause human skills to be objectified.

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The material/environmental conditions of the pre-industrial society
needed simple technology and simplified knowledge in natural sciences.
But new discoveries and inventions necessitated special tools, processes
and energy. Advancing technology needs new scientific knowledge in
physics, chemistry, mathematics and metallurgy. In short, advanced
sciences necessitate advanced technology, and vice versa. At their ad
vanced stages, science and technology become extremely interdependent
and mutually nourishing. As technology advanced further, it almost totally
absorbed pure sciences, both theoretical and applied. So today the term
technology should really mean science-technology.

Modern Ideologies of the West.

A quick assessment of the basic elements in the theoretical/formal and

proclaimed aims of the four Western ideologies capitalism, socialism,
communism and fascism reveals certain agreements and certain disa
greements among the ideologies. The theoretical differences are as fol

( 1 ) On individualism: Capitalism is dedicated to individual's freedoms

especially economic freedoms in an absolutist sense. Socialism believes
that society/the state has a role in protecting individual rights through
interventions (like economic welfarism) if necessary. Communism, ac
cording to Marxism, is the ultimate stage of anarchic individualism, i.e.,
a classless and stateless society. The Soviet constitution formally provided
individual freedoms excepting the rights to private property and to form
political parties other than the Communist Party. Fascism formally allows
individualism but practically denies individualism that becomes an im
pediment in the aggrandisement and the glorification of the state.

(2) On economic rights: Capitalism is built upon the concepts of

absolute right to private property, free enterprise and a free market that
decides wage, price and profit. Socialism believes in social guarantees of
fair wages, prices and profits, and of a market economy that is not only free
but also fair. Communism formally denies private property rights but the
state guarantees economic equality and the right to employment. Fascism
permits the right to private property and a free market economy, subject to
state regulation and control.

(3) On the role of society/state: With its emphasis on individualism,

capitalism reduces the role of the state to that of a fire brigade, i.e., to a

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minimum. Socialism concedes certain rights to the state to correct in
fringements and injustices against individuals and groups. The Commu
nist system in the Soviet Union considered itself a dictatorship of the
proletariat; the Soviet state represented and exercised the authority of this
dictatorship. Fascism openly proclaims statism; in the name of the state,
fascism postulates the absolute authority of the leader supposed to have
been chosen by God, or nature or destiny.

(4) On the structure of government: Capitalism and socialism advocate

citizen participation through universal adult franchise in the selection of
decisionmakers. Under the Soviet system, the Communist Party, repre
senting the will and the interests of the proletarian state, alone has the right
to set up candidates and to assume political authority through elections on
the basis of universal adult franchise. In the fascist state the dictator is the
government and the state; he need not be elected, nor is he answerable to

(5) On military matters: While claiming to be peace loving, capitalism

and socialism practice militarism. Capitalism rationalizes militarism in
the name of defending democracy, of stopping the spread of materialistic
atheistic totalitarian communism, and of spreading capitalism and free
dom. American capitalism saw war against communism as inevitable
because "the world cannot be half free and half slave." For communism,
capitalism-imperialism was the great threat, and advancing world proletar
ian revolution was communism's great mission. Until Khruschev discov
ered peaceful coexistence, communism predicted an inevitable global
conflict between capitalism and communism. Fascism openly deifies war
as the noblest human activity and proposes militarism for the purposes of
empire-building which is considered a divine mission. Socialism justifies
militarism for national security, and national interests that sometimes
include maintenance of colonialism. All regimes rationalize militarism in
the name of defending motherland or fatherland.

In spite of the differences outlined above, all the four ideologies share
certain common goals and methods. All the Western ideologies seem to
agree on two fundamental economic goals:

(1) an all-pervasive philosophy of materialism; and

(2) an unending economic affluence and ever rising standards of living.

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In pursuit of these main goals, the Western countries, irrespective of
their professed ideological commitments, have arrived at certain common

( 1 ) Blind faith in science-technology as the panacea for all problems of

life including economic, political, cultural and intellectual.

(2) Total reliance on unlimited industrial growth and the consequent

mass economy.

(3) Heavy dependence upon militarism as the guarantor of national


(4) Aggressive parochialism, in the name of race, religion, religion-like

secularism, and chauvinism, as the instrument of political integra
tion, economic development and national power.

In short, all the Western ideologies agree upon the goals of materialism
and economic affluence. They also concur on the methodology of
technologicalization. What the Western ideologies disagree about are
certain sub-goals and certain secondary methods that involve questions
like Who should own material wealth individuals, groups or state?
How should wealth be distributed by individuals or government? Who
should have political control over the state a particular race, religion,
class or party? What should be the rationalization for militarization
defending capitalist democracy, or proletarian democracy or the divinely
ordained dictatorship?

The Technological Industrial Military Complex

As soon as sciences made new discoveries or created new inventions,

and as soon as technologies developed new tools, processes and energy
sources, these sciences and technologies were seized upon by the produc
ers of wealth and weaponry. This phenomenon led to the historic Industrial
Revolution; however, it also led to an armament revolution. This military
revolution is often ignored or missed by historians of the Industrial
Revolution. Indeed, industrialization since its inception has been borne on
the shoulders of the militarization that creates new weapons, leads to new
types of warfare, and facilitates new conquests of colonialism-imperial
ism. The war machines, in fact, condition the strategies of war. The
employment at various times of particular weapons tanks, aircraft, or

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guided missiles besides affecting military strategies have affected
political choices and policies. To this day the intimate interdependency
between industrialization and militarization, forged at the dawn of indus
trial progress, has continued without disentanglement or abatement. This
relationship was best described by Eisenhower in his phrase "the
military-industrial complex." Unfortunately, this phrase does not mention
technology as an entity in itself and thus, even at the time of its utterance
it was somewhat obsolete, because by the middle of the 20th century the
role of science-technology or simply technology had become too impor
tant not to be identified and specified as such. Since Eisenhower's time, the
part played by technology has been further enhanced through dramatic
developments of nuclear and space science-technology, besides the revo
lutions caused by cybernetics, computers and the silicone chip. So it would
be appropriate to make historically accurate and to update the Eisenhower
phrase to read "the technological-industrial-military complex," imply
ing that technology has resumed the role of master and guide for industry
and military in shaping and controlling the economic and political realms.

The basic structure of modem technology is characterized by three


(a) the scientific foundation;

(b) the technological-scientific methodology; and
(c) the technological "operators".

While fundamental sciences like physics, chemistry, botany and zool

ogy supply knowledge on the nature and laws of objective reality, the
technological-scientific method deals with the nature and laws of produc
tion and of the product produced. Thus built upon the scientific foundation,
technological-scientific method is basically technological in character.
The central focus of modem technology has been the search for instru
ments or tools that can operate automatically through a preset theoretical
plan (automation) that completes the processes of manufacture, while the
steps in productivity are determined by automatic coupling and controls.
In other words, human intervention in production is replaced by modem
machines. The key step in the development and implementation of
automation was the devising of a technological operator with three

(1) proficiency that surpasses human capabilities in speed, accuracy

and reliability;

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(2) independent decision-making with reference to the relevant activi
ties where this mechanical decision-making is faster and more
accurate than human decision; and
(3) utilization of man-made energy, generated through indirect exploi
tation of natural resources, that produces more power than human

As well as having almost completely eliminated the importance of human

intervention, pushbutton technology also overcomes all the limitations of
the human body created under classical technology.

In attempting to overcome the obstacles and limitations generated by the

peculiarities of materials, humans and the environment, modem technol
ogy has attained three important characteristics mass production,
automation and worker redundancy.7

Technology of mass production simply means the manufacture of

massive quantities of standardized products for standardized uses by
millions of consumers. Formation of masses has been an inevitable
corollary of technical progress.8

Henry Ford once described mass production in terms of power, accu

racy, economy, system, continuity and speed. Another commentator
suggested that the five principles of mass production are: precision,
standardization, interchangeability, synchronization, and continuity.9 Mass
production implies mass distribution, mass consumption, massive capital,
and mass management. In one word, mass economy. Consequently mass
economy has given rise to Big Business, Big Labour, Big Transportation,
Big Communications, Big Science-Technology, Big Money and Big

The main factors that lead to mass production are the following:

(1) Science and technology develop intensive and extensive research

and knowledge, and universal laws and tools for general application. These
laws and instruments when applied to production lead to the invention of
machines of universal use.

(2) No sooner are the machines invented, then they are utilized for
producing economic goods and military weapons. Thus science-technol
ogy leads to and boosts mass industrialization and mass militarization.

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(3) As mechanization advances, machines become bigger and better,
demanding more and more energy. Bigger machines and vast supplies of
energy mean mass production, i.e., a tremendous increase in society's
productive capacity in the economic sense and destructive capacity in the
military sense.

(4) Each machinization enhanced profits for the entrepreneur. This

ignites stronger ambition for greater profits. This leads to mass production
in commodities and weapons.

(5) Mass production demands an increased supply of raw materials and

energy, of skilled labour, and of consuming markets; colonialism, internal
at first and external ultimately, provides the materials, manpower, and
markets in the quantities required and at the prices dictated. Thus,
colonialism boosts mass production beyond all expected proportions and
becomes the most crucial contributor to industrial revolution.

(6) For the rush towards mass production and massive profits, the
productive unit has to pay some costs in terms of capital, research, skills,
infrastructure, etc. The entrepreneur seeks compensation for these costs by
increasing his profit ratio in two specific ways either by increasing
prices for goods produced or by selling more products at a lower profit
margin (i.e., the so-called economy of scale) or by a combination of both
these methods. The economy of scale principle makes two contradictory
promises it promises lower prices to the consumer and higher profits to
the producer. While the expectation of profits was fulfilled by mass
production, the promise of decreased prices for the consumer was never
actually kept. The prices of food, clothing, housing, medicine and enter
tainment have constantly risen during the last 100 years of mass produc
tion. New variables appear (like packaging, advertising, monopolization,
etc.) that continually boost the costs higher and higher. However, mass
production in military industries has been the most profitable because in
this business the demand never subsides, while the purchasers least inhibit

(7) Mass production was greatly facilitated by the revolution in trans

portation technology. Transporting huge quantities of raw materials and
finishedproducts over long distances could not have been possible without
the technology of mass transportation. Railways, trucks, tankers, jumbo
jets, cargo ships, etc., are the products of a new technology of mass

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(8) Mass production is impossible without mass consumption. Mass
consumption has been achieved in three ways. Firstly, by constantly
discovering new customers, i.e., more and more people within the society
must consume products. However, the biggest markets for European
industries were the millions of peoples in the empire who became captive
customers. Two-thirds of mankind in the colonies of Asia, Africa and the
Americas were forced to consume Western products at dictated prices.
Secondly, by persuading customers, both within and without the country,
of the need to buy a greater number as well as a greater variety of products,
e.g., not just one car, but two or three; and not just cars but trailers, campers,
motorcycles, etc. Humans are turned into consumers. Thirdly, by manu
facturing products with limited life-expectancy, consumers are obliged
constantly to purchase replacements and replacement parts. From the new
technology arises a system of "built-in obsolescence."

(9) The search for millions of customers in all parts of the country and
around the world necessitates the process of advertising on a mass scale.
Thus a new and enlarged media of communications had to be developed.
Printing, publishing, radio, television, telephone, telephoto, telegraph,
telex, fax, films, computers and satellites have been the products of
modern science-technology. Without these new media of mass communi
cation, mass production could not have been accomplished. The new
technology of mass communications has not only facilitated mass economy
and mass militarization, but also the manipulation of the attitudes, ideas,
aspirations, values and behaviour of masses, thereby leading to mass
indoctrination and the creation of mass culture, mass ideologies, mass
politics, mass control, mass coercion and massive conflicts.

(10) Mass economy, involving mass production, mass transportation,

mass media and mass militarization, needs tremendous amounts of capital
investments. Massive capitalization led to the phenomenon of pooling
huge private and public investments through monopoly organizations
such as banks, loaning companies, cooperatives, and multi-national
corporations. Right from the time of its inception, massive capital forma
tion received generous state support, even under the free enterprise
systems, in the forms of land gifts, cash grants, leases, loans, write offs, tax
concessions, tariffs, import quotas, etc. Public monies are also spent on
military industries in the name of defence expenditures. The defence
budget has been another guaranteed source of capital supply by the state.

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(11) The technology of mass economy could not be initiated, sup
ported, expanded, and managed without huge and powerful organizations.
Cartels and monopolies were set up to pool capital, technology and skill,
giving rise to so-called Big Capital, Big Business, Big Labour, Big
Science-Technology, Big Transportation and Communications etc. Thus
modem industrialization that leads to mass production, monopolization,
and mass management, constantly needs new technologies to work the
mass economy.

(12) The framework within which modem industrial technology, can

produce, sustain and expand mass economy is the state system. Therefore
modem industrial technology had to manipulate the political system in
such a way as to reduce state resistance and increase state support. This has
led to the promulgation of a "technocratic ideology" that reduces politics
to a system of solving technical problems.10 The state system functions
through political process, political ideologies, and political controls. The
impact of technology on politics has, therefore, not only led to the
development of technologies of managing mass ideologies, mass parties,
mass elections and mass propaganda, but also to new technologies of mass
policing, mass coercion and mass control. In other words, modem indus
trial technology has been instrumental in the creation of a totalitarian or
quasi-totalitarian state, which, in its turn, has boosted modem science

In conclusion, modem technology has created a system of mass

economy; mass economy has given rise to Big Capital, Big Business, Big
Labour, Big Transportation, Big Communication, Big Science-technol
ogy, Big Police/Military, Big Politics and Big State. "The process of
massification corresponds... to the disappearance of anything resembling
a community."'1

The Impact of Modern Technology on Modern Ideologies

In the contemporary context of modem technology, the critical and
historic question now is: How has modem technology affected, altered or
modified Western ideologies, keeping in mind the reality that all Western
ideologies have employed, more or less, the same technologies? Two
aspects of this critical issue are: Firstly, how has modem technology
helped or altered the goals of each ideology? And secondly, how has the
same technology affected the differing aspects of Western ideologies
viewed collectively?


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The charter of radical individualism provided in the Soviet constitution
had no more value than that of the paper on which it was printed. Thanks
to technology, the Soviet Union became one of the two most industrialized
and militarized systems in the world. Soviet development had been greatly
facilitated by the colonial exploitations of the peoples of the regions within
the USSR and of those on its eastern and western borders. Far from
initiating the process of "the withering away" of the state, the Soviet
system had evolved into something quite the opposite a totalitarian
state. The evolution was a subtle one. On one side, in the name of the
revolutionary proletariat, the Communist Party, actually an organization
of functionaries and not revolutionaries, had taken over the power; in the
name of the Party, the Central Committee, made up of aged party and
government bureaucrats, had taken over the power; in the name of the
Central Committee, the Party Secretary General had taken over the power;
thus the Secretary General had become the proletariat. While on the other
side, in the name of the state, the federal cabinet had taken over the state
power; in the name of the cabinet, the Prime Minister had taken over all
state power; in the name of the proletariat, the Party Secretary General had
taken over the Prime Ministership. Thus the Party leader had become the
Party, the proletariat and the State. Dictatorship of the proletariat had come
to mean the dictatorship of the Party leader. In short, the Soviet communist
system was a totalitarian state under the personality cult of a dictator.
Compared to the modem totalitarian dictatorship, old dictatorship had
serious limitations because the tools, techniques and weapons of coercion
and control the old dictators had at their command had serious limita

In other words, the totalitarian state, potentially inherent in the Marxist

communist ideology, could not have been possible in its present form
without the help of modem science-technology.

But more dramatic and unexpected has been the outcome of the
American individualism-capitalism ideology. America is not only the
world's most industrialized and militarized state, but also the most
powerful imperial state of history. Through its domestic colonialism it
exploited and absorbed all resources and peoples in its expanded territories
in the West, North and South; through its neocolonialism over Latin
America and many parts of Africa and Asia, the US has amassed great
economic, military and political power. However, individual freedoms in
capitalist America of today are seriously curtailed in certain aspects,


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instead of having been expanded, by the growth of monopolies and the
greatly enhanced role of the state. Free enterprise has now come to mean
monopoly controls by corporations that depend upon state laws and
subsidies; freedom of the press has come to mean freedom for the press
owners and media monopolies; citizens' freedom from government coer
cion has become freedom for the FBI, the CIA and the UnAmerican
Activities Committee under McCarthyism, to use coercion and terror in
the name of anti-subversion and anti-communism; freedom of the voters
has come to mean freedom for the rich to spend millions of dollars
manipulating voters' choices; the indirectly elected presidency that was to
be counterbalanced by the Congress has now become the directly elected
constitutional dictatorship that can overwhelm the Congress. In the US
today the role of the state has grown beyond all expectations of its
founding-fathers. The state regulates, controls and affects the life of its
citizens from birth to death, from morning to night, and from every angle
of human existence in every sphere of human activity. State intervention
comes in many forms and under many excusescultural encouragement,
moral improvement, social harmony, political safeguards, military secu
rity, protection against subversion and communism, economic stability,
and public interventions through government grants, subsidies, special
assistance, write-offs, tax-concessions, and welfare programmes. In short,
the nominal-minimal role of the state has become quasi-totalitarian control
by the state. The difference between the US and the USSR had become a
difference of degree, and not of kind. No two deadly enemies resembled
each other more than the American state and the Soviet state. Why?
Because not only do both capitalism and communism advocate material
ism and economic affluence, but both also use basically the same or similar
instruments of industry and science-technology. That is, technology has
corroded, de facto, all significant distinctions between the ideologies of
capitalism and communism. The features of state capitalism in the Soviet
Union and of the welfare capitalism in America had become similar, in
essence, to the features of democratic socialism that have evolved in
Britain and the Scandinavian states. But full scale industrialization has
been limited or curtailed out of choice in Scandinavia, and out of necessity
in Britain. In all these countries, however, militarization is still an
important sector of the economy, and autocratization is still an important
trend in state management.

To fascist states of Hitler's Germany, Mussolini's Italy, andTojo's Japan


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were the best and most blatant examples of totalitarian states that were the
products of nigh industrialization, technologicalization, militarization,
colonialization, and governmentalization, and that attempted to build
permanent great empires in the name of nation, race or religion. Thus,
fascist totalitarianism without technology is inconceivable.

In conclusion, American capitalism, British socialism, Soviet Commu

nism, and Chinese Maoism have been losing their proclaimed distinctive
and dogmatic value-orientations, and have been becoming similar in their
socio-economic plans and programmes, political structures and behav
iour, and administrative management, as well as in their materialistic
pursuits and international ambitions. All their social-political structures
are controlled by technological thought, a situation which Marcuse calls
one-dimensionality.13 In short, similar technologies are leading to ideolo
gies that are becoming similar, de facto.

Relations Between Ideology and Technology

Political ideologies propose all-round development, while physical

technology aims at economic development. In its essence, modern tech
nology has a two-fold purpose: the one, to produce abundance of material
goods; the other, to acquire unlimited economic wealth, ad infinitum. So
a society that aims at producing economic abundance should harness and
expand technology. Thus, technology becomes a means for the fulfilment
of ideological goals.

What if the society does not want too many material goods or too much
economic affluence? Naturally, such a society should not resort to modern
technology. That is to say, economic aims of the society prescribe the ends,
and technology constitutes the means. In this context then, societal goals
and ideology should determine the choice of technology, its characteristics
and parameters. Historically speaking, that is what happened in the early
phase of technological evolution. Materialistic ideologies were motivat
ing Western societies to develop, build and use every means and method
available for increasing productivity; technology became the relevant
instrument of economic growth. Thus, a straight-forward and logical
equation would be that ideology should determine technology; the ends
should determine the means. This principle was applicable during the 19th
century when political doctrines were strongly "prescriptive and constitu
tive." But under the impact of 20th century technology, doctrines have


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become merely "explicative and justifying;" they no longer prescribe
ends.14 Why? Because the methodology and the technology that the
Western ideologies have evolved, have altered the role of ideology.

For the attainment of the supreme goals of materialism and economic

abundance, all Western ideological systems advocate and use the follow
ing methods:

(1) Scienticization i.e., every issue to be viewed through rational,

secular scientific knowledge and tested through scientific method

(2) Technologicalization i.e., every issue to be translated into

technological science, and verified through technological methods.

(3) Industrialization i.e., every manufacturing activity should be

conceived as a step towards mass production, mass distribution and
mass consumption.

(4) Militarization i.e., military power should be revered as the

answer to all problems; therefore, heavy reliance on the manufac
ture, sale and use of arms, high military-technology and training,
large armed forces, heavy military expenditures and constant resort
to military means of solving conflicts.

(5) Colonialization i.e, exploitation of the weak nations and coun

tries should be seen as justifiable in national interest; therefore,
constant attempts to conquer or control and exploit classes, groups
and nations, and religions, countries and continents, in order to
secure, protect or expand trade, capital investment, supply of food,
raw materials, energy, labour, etc. The new instruments of
neocolonialism are foreign aid and bloc affiliation.

(6) Politicizationi.e., all issues of science, technology, industry and

military to be translated into political issues, and settlement sought
through political decision-making. Indirectly, political power and
instruments, are manipulated by "technological-industrial-military
complex." Through this process the modern state has been turned
into a technocracy.

(7) Autocratization i.e., the industrial and technological interests

should be conceived as supreme over all demands of localism or


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popular feelings or democratic urges. The very processes of
technologicalization, industrialization and militarization necessi
tate centralization and monopolization rather than unitization of
interests and decentralization of decision-making; they lead to
autocratization of political power and not democratization.

In the light of the various devices and experiments carried out by the
Western countries at different states of their development, it can now be
stated that for the attainment of the above-mentioned goals and the
applications of the above-mentioned methods, the only appropriate tech
nology will be the one that is based on the following elements:

( 1 ) Sophisticated science, based on high levels of scientific education,

research and invention.

(2) High technology, based on heavy machinery, automatic assembly

line, computers, advanced technical skills, etc.

(3) High energy consumption, resulting from energy generated through

coal, oil, hydro-electricity or nuclear fission.

(4) Advanced system of transportation, capable of carrying heavy

weightage over long distances with great speed and reliability.

(5) Advanced system of communications, capable of conveying heavy

loads of information over long distances, with great speed, accuracy
and effectiveness.

(6) Highly developed techniques of mass indoctrination, through

control and acculturalization that would produce social consensus
to accept and boost views, interests and demands of the powerful
economic and political ruling class. "The masses are gagged by the
ideology of science and technology."15

(7) Effective system of mass control, attainable through subtle tech

niques of coercion and persuasion or the strong method of terror and
fear of police, secret service and military. Technological dictator
ship, i.e., a highly industrialized and technologicalized state, is
essentially a coercive state.

All the Western states have resorted to some or all of these technologies,
openly or secretly, whole-heartedly or half-heartedly, as a right or as an


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excuse, as an initiative or as a retaliation.

Ideologies may not only advocate economic growth, but they may also
proclaim non-materialistic goals like liberty, equality and fraternity, and
may institute democratic structures that would lead to or crystallize
freedom and fellowship. But the impact of economic goals has been so
profound and overwhelming that all other non-economic aims become
subordinated. In other words, the aims and interests related to industriali
zation supersede all other non-economic interests. According to Jacques
Ellul, technological civilization has come to mean civilization of technol
ogy, by technology and for technology.16

Karl Marx had proclaimed that technology would liberate the workers
from the oppression of capitalism, and technology remains central to the
Marxist theory of production.17 Firstly, by producing material abundance,
technology (when controlled by socialist state) would improve the stand
ard of living for the workers, thereby saving humanity from the scandalous
servitude to poverty and nature. Secondly, in a socialist society, over
production through advanced technology and automation would liberate
workers for creative work in all areas of culture science, sports, art,
music, literature, etc. This involvement in creative work is the best
guarantee to end workers' alienation.18 Thus technology can activate the
"Kingdom of Freedom" for mankind. In fact, one Marxist technologist
argues that capitalism and modern technology belong together.19 The
opposite view is taken by the neo-Marxist Herbert Marcuse. According to
Marcuse, "The liberating power of technology the instrumentalization
of things is perverted into a fetter of liberation; it becomes the
instrumentalization of man."20 While Marx viewed freedom as an inevita
ble consequence of economic development, economic realities of today
have become so wedded to science-technology that they render freedom an
impossibility. "Technology and freedom cannot coexist; they exist in a
permanent condition of dialectical tension."21 Scientific-technology, as
production power, has become an ideology of "Historical totality."
According to Fredrich G. Junger, Marx failed to understand the machine
and technological development because he approached technology from a
purely economic perspective. Technology is not governed by the laws of
economics.22 Pointing out Marx's error in understanding technology,
Jacques Ellul argues that technology has conquered economy and has
gradually made humanity subordinate to itself. And that is a logical
development, not a dialectical one.


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Some contend that technology is a neutral, value-free means to achieve
goals prescribed by humans and their ideologies. This is a mistaken view.
Modern technology has an absolute and imperialistic character. Heidegger
believes that we miss the essence of technology if we regard it as a neutral

Today industry has become, in fact, the hand-maiden of technology.

One may rightly contend that contemporary technology (involving cyber
netics, computers, the silicone chip, etc.) and the economic forces gener
ated by modern technology are so highly materialistic, complex, dynamic
and dominant that they have had a far-reaching impact not only on
economic goals, but also on all aspects of life including the social,
religious, political, educational, intellectual and cultural. Some perceive in
technology the greatest threat to human freedom ever experienced in
history. The "transcendentalists," in contrast to the "positivists," consider
modern technology not just a scientific or economic factor, but an all
dominating totalitarian force over human affairs.

The autonomy of technology has evolved out of certain characteristics

inherent in technology.23 These are:

(1) Rationality, i.e., technology reduces all facts, forces, instruments

and processes into a scheme of objective reasoning and logic;

(2) Artificiality, i.e., technology makes use of man-made factors that

eliminate dependence upon nature;

(3) Automatism, i.e., technology employs systems which are self

directed through internal decision-making;

(4) Self-reinforcement, i.e., technology's achievements cause feed

back; non-material results, such as support for politics and public
opinion, increase dependence upon technology;

(5) Monism, i.e., technology does not permit or tolerate other forces,
truths, or gods to prevail;

(6) Universality, i.e., technology is universal in geography, in quality,

and in applicability.

Viewed as autonomous, that is entirely dependent upon itself, technology

eliminates all distinctions between its moral and immoral use; technology


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has created its own "technical morality." (Marx himself made a distinction
between a machine and the use to which it is put, implying certain
neutrality for technology.)24 The notion of autonomy also includes the
principle that anything that is technically possible ought to be done, which
means that no other consideration or interest should prevail over, inhibit,
or stop technology.25

Thus, industry and technology have become so domineering, that they

are determining all other goals, even those which are non-economic and
non-materialistic; the means are prescribing the end.

The autonomy of technology has destroyed not only the autonomy of

industry, but also that of ideologies and individuals. Ideology creates
technology; yet, like Frankenstein's monster, technology now threatens its
own creator. One may say that today technology has become an ideology
in itself;26 the means have become the end.

The critical issue now is: Is this the ideal or the desirable situation? If
it is not, then a number of other questions arise. Should this equation be
reversed before it is too late? Should ideology reassess the situation and
reassert itself? Should technology be reduced to its original status of being
the means? What is appropriate technology is it appropriateness that is
relevant to the ideology in general or to Western ideologies of develop
ment in particular?

Are Western ideologies and the Western technologies appropriate to the

values and needs of the Third World? The under-developed world cannot
"simply import the industrial revolution from abroad, uncrate it like a piece
of machinery, and set it in motion . . ."27 If the Third World countries
proclaim that their ideologies are new, should they then use the 100 year
old Western technologies or should they devise new technologies suitable
for their new ideologies? These questions demand a serious consideration
of modem technology and its relevance to the Third World ideologies.

According the Jacques Ellul, there are two ways through which the
dangers of technological domination may be met: (a) citizens' realization
that they are being robbed of their freedom by both the material technology
and the human technology; and (b) policies for "de-ideologization" and
"de-sacralization" of technology. "As long as man worships technique,"
says Ellul, "there is as good as no chance at all that he will ever succeed
in mastering it."28

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The Third World Development and Modern Technology

The historic decolonialism process began in the post war period, starting
with Indian independence. Becoming independent from Western domina
tion, some countries of the Third World chose blindly to adopt the Western
ideologies of communism and capitalism, e.g., China, Cuba, North Korea,
and North Vietnam chose the Communist ideology, while South Vietnam,
Pakistan, the Philippines, Liberia, Kenya, Venezuela, etc., proclaimed that
they would emulate the American capitalist model. But most of the newly
independent countries chose to follow the model set up by India "a
socialistic pattern of society,"29 an odd mixture of Gandhism and Nehruism,
that claimed to attempt a unique experiment of combining economic
revolution with democracy, an experiment never tried in history before.30
Though India and most other Third World countries started rejecting
Western models of development, the question to be asked now (after 3-4
decades) is have these countries been faithful to their original inten
tions? Have their latest economic policies and programmes remained
consistent with their original ideological pronouncements? I submit that
consciously or unconsciously, deliberately or thoughtlessly, most Third
World countries are drifting away from their original ideologies.31 They
seem to have accepted blindly and totally, the Western ideology of
unlimited materialism, industrialism and militarism. The Western experts
seem to have convinced leaders of the Third World that progress is
unilinear and that the Western models of development are, in some sense,
the products of evolutionary progress.32 The ruling elites in the developing
countries either do not realize or refuse to reveal to their peoples that the
Third World countries can never become materially rich like the developed
Western states, nor is it desirable to be so materialistic in values, a fact that
is now being realized in the industrialized West itself.

The most fundamental reason for the deviation of the Third World from
its own ideologies lies in the fact that the leaders of the Third World falsely
believe that Western technologies can help them attain their own ideologi
cal goals. So they have resorted to wholesale transfer of technology from
the West to the Third World. According to a UNESCO report, "At the
present time the transfer of technology to the developing countries is
unprecedented in its scope, rapidity and urgency, and implies such radical
changes that some countries regard it... a form of cultural aggression."33
Most of this transfer of technology has been through the instrumentality
of the so-called foreign aid. An important condition and component of


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foreign aid has been military aid. In the words of the 1980 Report of the
Brandt Commission: "Some Third World countries have substantially
boosted their armaments, encouraged by arms producing countries ... It
is terrible irony that the most dynamic and rapid transfer of highly
sophisticated equipment and technology from the rich to the poor countries
has been in the machinery of death."34 Western technologies have evolved
in different historical, cultural, economic and political circumstances; the
nature, the types, the qualities and the costs of Western technologies are
unsuitable to the Third World; more than that, the disastrous results of
Western technologies are threatening all mankind. For all these reasons, I
submit that contemporary Western technologies are either irrelevant, or
inappropriate, or undesirable for the Third World of today.

The Third World countries have not yet realized that by accepting,
inviting or copying Western technology, they are importing Western
ideologies as well, even while they deny or remain unconscious of such
importation. They are unaware of the impact of science and technology
upon their native philosophies, religions and cultures.35 The historical
evidence is that similarity of technology has been eliminating even the
secondary differences between Western ideologies of capitalism, social
ism, communism and fascism. If the Third World still insists on maintain
ing a separate identity for its ideologies, then the answer lies in the Third
World devising, selecting and adapting technologies most appropriate to
their ideologies. The West cannot and should not be expected to be so
unselfish and generous as to design, create and cater to the special needs,
economies and ideologies of the Third World, irrespective of the cost
involved for the West. Therefore, all attempts and pleas at Western
supplies of technologies appropriate to the Third World are unrealistic,
untrustworthy, inappropriate and unhelpful.36 What the Third World needs
is not an "appropriate" technology supplied by the West, but an "alternate"
technology created by the Third World on the principles of self-reliance,
self-sufficiency and self-management. The new ideologies of the Third
World demand a new approach to technologies, and not the 100 year old
technological approaches of the West.

If the Third World wants to be free of Western ideologies and technolo

gies, it may very well have to stop accepting or seeking Western foreign

The only modern ideology that rejects Western values of materialism,

industrialism, militarism, colonialism and statism, is Gandhism.37 Instead,


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Gandhism proposes the ideology that is most appropriate to the Third
World. It is based upon non-materialistic humanism; a non-industrial and
non-technological economy; non-colonial, non-exploitative inter-group
relationships; decentralized and de-govermentalized political organiza
tions; and non-militaristic, non-violent social systems. Gandhism is also
the only ideology that sets up the most appropriate technology for the
attainment of egalitarianism based on material minimums and indigenous
self-sufficiency. Gandhian technology is built upon local socio-economic
resources, agriculture, cottage industries, labour-intensive productivity
and economic self-sufficiency. The indigenous technology is aimed to be
locally created, managed and regulated so as to produce local self


1. The origin of the term ideology is attributed to a French scholar named Destutt d
T racy ( 1754-1836), and his followers, the Ideologues popularized the term. See Leon
Baradat, Political Ideologies: Their Origins and Impact (Englewood Cliffs, Prentice
Hall, 1979), pp. 30-32,33-34. Also, David Sills (ed.), International Encyclopedia o
the Social Sciences, Vol. 7 & 8 (New York: Macmillan, 1972), pp. 76-78.
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels developed the first theory of ideology. To them
ideology was simply a political illusion produced by the social experience of a class
See Lyman Sargent, Contemporary Political Ideologies (Illinois: The Dorsey Press
1981), p. 3.
2. Cf. Plano & Greenberg, The American Political Dictionary (Illinois: The Dryden
Press, 1972), p. 10.
3. Willy Brandt (Chairman), The Report of the Independent Commission on Interna
tional Development Issues, North-South: A Program for survival (Cambridge: MIT
Press, 1980), p. 24.
4. Irving L. Horowitz, "The Search for a Developmental Ideal: Models for their
Utopian Implications," in William Beling and George Totten, Developing Nations:
Quest for a Model (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1970), p. 91.
5. The word technology is derived from the Greek word "techne". Techne was also
related to "episteme" (scientific knowledge) and"poiesis" (creativity and artisanship).
Thus to the Greeks, techne had many meanings: all human activities including skills,
art and science. CfEgbert Schuurman, Technology and the Future: A Philosophical
Challenge (Toronto: Wedge Publishing Foundation, 1980), p. 5. Also, International
Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, op. cit., p. 675-77.
6. Schuurman, op. cit., p. 377.
7. Schuurman talks of five factors that limit technological development: 1. Individu
ality of the natural materials and energies employed; 2. the milieu consisting of
factors like temperature, pressure, etc; 3. the special characteristics of the techno


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logical "operators" (tools) employed; 4. the freedom ofthe laborers; and5. different
tastes and desires of consumers. Op. cit., p. 28-29.
8. Friedrich G. Juenger, The Failure of Technology (Chicago: Henry Regenery, 1956),
p. 136-37.
9. Roger BurYmgame Backgrounds of Power (New York: Charles Scribner's 1949),p.

10. Jean Meynaud, Technocracy (New York: The Free Press, 1968), p. 193, 224-25.
11. Jacques Ellul, The Technological Society (New York: Alfred Knopf, 1967), p. 333.
12. Cf., Carl J. Friedrich & Abigniw Brzezinski, Totalitarian Dictatorship & Autocracy
(Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1956). Also Brzezinski, Ideology and
Power in Soviet Politics (New York: Praeger, 1967).

13. Herbert Marcuse, One Dimensional Man: The Ideology of Industrial Society
(Boston: Beacon, 1964).
14. Ellul, op. cit., p. 281-82.

15. Jurgen Habermas, Technikund Wissenschaftals "Idologie", (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp

Verlag, 1969), p. 78.
16. Ellul, op. cit., p. 128.

17. Alvin Gouldner, The Two Marxisms (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), p.

18. George Klaus, Kybernetik inphilosphischer Sicht (Berlin: VEB Deutscher Verlag,

19. Klaus, Kybernetikund Gessellschaft (Berlin: VEB Deutscher Verlag, 1964), p. 304.
20. Cited in Schuurman, op. cit., p. 254.
21. Ibid., p. 157.
22. Friedrick G. Juenger, Maschine und Eigentum (Frankfurt: Verlag Klostermann,
1953), p. 227.

23. Martin Heidegger, Die Technik un die Kehre (Pfullinger: Neske, 1962), p. 5. Cited
in Schuurman, op. cit., p. 87.

Ellul, op. cit., p. 63,79,91,93,94,97,110,120,121,131,134,139,143,144. Also

Ellul, "The Technological Order", op. cit., p. 394.
24. Gouldner, op. cit., p. 269.

25. Erich Fromm, The Revolution of Hope: Toward a Humanized Technology (T oronto:
Bantam Books, 1969), p. 33.
26. Habermas, op. cit., p. 94.

27. A Scientific American Book, Technology and Economic Development (New York:
Alfred Knopf, 1963), p. 17.

28. Ellul, "The Technological Order", op. cit., p. 411.

29. The ideology was formally declared in a resolution at the Avadi session of the
Congress Party in January 1955. Also see Planning Commission, Government of


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India, Second Five Year Plan (New Delhi: 1956), p. 24.
30. Economic revolution came to the Soviet Union in 60 years but without democracy;
though limited, democracy in Britain and America took 100-200 years to bring about
economic development. Even in these two countries democracy was seriously
limited during the early phase of economic development. Thus rapid development
and full-fledged democracy have never been combined.
In recent years Gorbachev attempted introducing political freedom without eco
nomic freedom; Deng in China tried economic liberalization without political
liberalization. Both experiments are still in serious trouble. The moral seems to be
that in the contemporary world political and economic democratization should go
hand in hand, however slow or difficult the progress may be.
31. See Asa Briggs, "Technology and Economic Development", in Technology and
Economic Development, op. cit., p. 17.
32. See Richard Appelbaum, Theories of Social Change (Chicago: Markham Publish
ing, 1971), p. 15-17.
33. UNESCO, Moving Towards Change (Paris: UNESCO, 1976), p. 70.
34. Brandt Commission Report, op. cit.
35. Cf., Peter Bowler, "Will Science and Technology bring conflict within Third World
Cultures?" Science Forum (Ottawa), Vol. 10, No. 3, June 1977, p. 12-13.
36. Cf., M.V. Naidu, "The Western Model of Development Its relevancy, feasibility
and desirability for the Third World," paper presented at the XI World Congress of
IPSA, Moscow (USSR), August 1979.
37. Cf., M.K. Gandhi, Economic and Industrial Life and Relations, Vol. I, II, and III,
(Ahmedabad, India: Navajivan Publishing, 1957).
, Political and National Life and Affairs, Vol. I, II, and III,
(Ahmedabad: Navajivan, 1967).
, Industrialize and Perish? (Ahmedabad: Navajivan, 1966).
Gopinath Dhawan, The Political Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi (Ahmedabad:
Navajivan, 1951).
Viswanath P. Varma, The Political Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi and Sarvodaya
(Agra, India: Lakshmi Narain Agarwal Educational Publishers, 1959).
Shriman N. Agarwal, The Gandhian Plan of Economic Development (Bombay:
Padma Publications, 1944).
38. To remain relevant to the main thrusts of this paper, I have only touched upon the
Third World ideologies and their attempts at economic development, the elaboration
of which will require another paper.
Elsewhere I have applied Gandhian perspectives to analyze the modern industrial
state. See "Gandhian Perspectives on Modern Industrial State," Peace Research,
Vol. 18(3), Sept. 1986, p. 9-16,70-74; "Gandhian Perspectives on Modern Ideolo
gies on Industrialism," Peace Research, Vol. 19(2), May 1987, p. 33-45; "Gandhian
Vision of the Ideal Political Society," Peace Research, Vol. 19(3), Sept. 1987, p. 68
81 ; and "Gandhian Practical-Idealism and the Transitional State," Peace Research,
Vol. 20(1), Jan. 1988, p. 23-63.


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