Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Technology and Dialectics

Tyabji, Nasir (1997): Technology and Dialectics. Published in: Economic and Political Weekly , Vol. 32, No. 13 : pp. 651-656.


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The industrial revolution was defined by the phenomenon of the application of systematically acquired knowledge (of thermodynamics) to the improvement of production methods(the steam engine). The implications of this lay, decisively, in opening the area of knowledge of production methods, in general, to human enquiry. This was given the (refurbished) name of technology, and accorded a central role in the dialectics of capitalism. Later, the 1931 Interntational Conference on the History of Science and Technology formulated key ideas in the dialectics of technology. This groundwork laid the basis for substantial advances in the history of technology in the subsequent years. However, inadequate theoretical elaboration of the institutional forms in which technological knowledge is commercialised has created the space for the growth of arcane theories of technology, which attribute to it a malignant agency. The emotive appeal of these theories is indicative of the reality: the results of the post-1945 scientific and technological revolution are expressed in forms structured by a transnational-dominated world economy.

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