Innovation and Inequality
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Innovation and Inequality

Emerging Technologies in an Unequal World

Edited by Susan Cozzens and Dhanaraj Thakur

Inequality is one of the main features of globalization. Do emerging technologies, as they spread around the world, contribute to more inequality or less? This unique interdisciplinary text examines the relationships between emerging technologies and social, economic and other forms of inequality.
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Chapter 1: Problem and concepts

Susan Cozzens and Dhanaraj Thakur


A Mozambican man is in the doctor's office and has just been diagnosed with diabetes. Insulin treatment holds his best chance of staying alive. The government health service in Mozambique provides no-cost access to recombinant insulin - a sophisticated medicine produced through genetic engineering. But the doctor sends this patient home with a different therapeutic regime. The man lives with the rest of his family in one of Maputo's barrios, in a tiny house with limited access to clean water, no electricity, and no clock. Testing for blood sugar levels, storing and injecting insulin with a syringe - all these require a level of literacy and household infrastructure that he and his family do not have. Insulin kills if its routine is not maintained. The doctor makes the judgment that a simpler treatment will be more successful in the long run with this patient. The next patient in his office, a Maputo professional, receives her insulin free under the public program. Global inequality is one of the major challenges of the twenty-first century. Gaps are growing within countries as well as globally. The distribution of new wealth is by and large following traditional lines of privilege and power and thus exacerbating differences by gender, race, ethnicity, and religion, even within countries where average income is rising fast.

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