Emerging Technologies in an Unequal World
Edited by Susan Cozzens and Dhanaraj Thakur
Chapter 13: The diffusion of emerging technologies in a micro-economy: implications for Malta
Malta is another small island state in our study and presents an interesting comparison to Jamaica and to a lesser extent Costa Rica. As noted in the country introductions in Chapter 2, the issue of small size can limit the potential for technology creation and result in greater dependence on the importation of technology over investments in building an indigenous research and innovation capacity. However, unlike Jamaica, there is greater potential for technology transfer given higher levels of education and a close proximity to Europe. In addition, we expect that with lower income inequality and better public services, distributional boundaries for emerging technologies could be extended. As with other small islands, Malta's small size produces a highly "networked" society (Baldacchino, 2005). We argue that this context is important in understanding how the distributional boundaries of emerging technologies are shaped as well as their overall consequences for the population. Three of the technology projects discussed in this study - those of mobile phones, open-source software (OSS) and recombinant insulin - are examined in the case of Malta. The findings from the cases show that public policies and interventions have a near immediate effect on access and distribution of emerging technologies. These interventions serve to direct as well as shape the trajectories of the three technologies considered in the cases. There are both positive and negative impacts of such interventions on access and distribution.
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