Mastering the Machine Revisited
Poverty, aid and technology
Mastering the Machine Revisited is about the connection between poverty, aid and technology. It is about the search driven today by greater extreme poverty than has ever been known, and by a realization that the technologies applied to the problem have severe limitations. In this substantially revised edition, the author revisits the development problems of the 1980's to see what progress has been made. The book also revisits promising innovations, projects and people described in the first edition, discovering what lasted, what failed and why. It considers the developmental impact of new and accelerating phenomena: globalization, the explosion of information and communication technologies, increasingly complex emergencies, weaker governments, bigger companies and escalating debt. For the South, this is a time of immense technological opportunity and optimism. It is also a period of unimaginable poverty and hopelessness. And it is unlike any other period in history, for today, in addition to artisans and artists, farmers, machinists and dreamers, the direction of technology is influenced by bureaucrats, economists, faraway corporate planners, aid agencies and charities. Never before have so many non-technical people exerted so much influence on the advancement, retardation and direction of technology. Mastering the Machine Revisited is about the interaction between these people, and between poverty, aid and technology.
|PREFACE TO THE NEW EDITION ix|
|PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION xi|
|PART ONE: THE FAILURE TO LEARN FROM FAILURE|
|I A tale of two worlds 3|
|II Poverty in the South 22|
|III The best of the West: thinking big 35|
|IV The third sector and the Third World 48|
|PART TWO: WHAT WE KNOW|
|V Technology in history: lies and promises 69|
|VI Small is beautiful 86|
|VII Farmers, food and forests 104|
|VIII Post-harvest technologies 121|
|IX Energy and power 137|
|X The house that Jack built: construction materials 154|
|XI Light engineering and the very late starters 171|
|PART THREE: AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT|
|XII Sustainability: myths and reality 189|
|XIII Perspectives on women and technology 200|
|XIV Employment and the informal sector: the economists lose control 214|
|XV Globalization, adjustment and all that 226|
|XVI Mastering the machine 246|
Ian Smilie has worked at Tufts and Tulane Universities and as a development consultant with many Canadian, American and European organizations. He served on a UN Security Council Expert Panel examining the relationship between diamonds and weapons in West Africa, and he helped develop the 48-government ‘Kimberley Process,’ a global certification system to halt the traffic in conflict diamonds.
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