New Ideas in the Tradition of Galbraith
New Directions in Modern Economics series
Edited by Blandine Laperche, James K. Galbraith and Dimitri Uzunidis
Chapter 13: Science and Governance in the National Systems of Innovation Approach
Victor Pelaez 1. INTRODUCTION * Since the 1970s, the concern of industrialized societies over the environmental impacts of technical progress has played a steadily increasing role in political agendas both at national and international levels. The risks associated with nuclear energy, toxic residues, carbon emissions and, more recently, genetic engineering, have contributed towards building a social critical vision of the positivist approach to technical progress. In his book (The New Industrial State – NIS) Galbraith (1967) makes a critical analysis of an economic system which prioritizes and spreads the values of economic growth as an ideology. Through an institutionalist approach, Galbraith highlights the power exerted by a planning system controlled by big industrial corporations and supported by the organized use of capital and technology (NIS, Chapter 6). The exertion of power would consist of an increasingly intense symbiosis between the interests of corporations and the state, thereby allowing the socialization of the risks of capital reproduction (NIS, Chapter 11). By providing the material basis for capital reproduction, scientific and technological knowledge becomes a fundamental instrument in the strategies of expansion of the technostructure (NIS, Chapter 2). The (re)production of this knowledge in turn depends on education and research institutions which, according to Galbraith’s critical approach, tend to assimilate the preponderant values of the production of goods. The systemic approach of technical progress has gained strength since the late 1980s with the evolutionary theory that analyses technical progress as a phenomenon based on endogenous mechanisms of generation and diffusion of technology (NIS,...
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