Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

Richard Worthington


									Worthington - Reconstructing the World

                                    Reconstructing the World:
                                     From Artifact to Politics

                                         Richard Worthington
                                           Pomona College

                     Americans believe in progress. Mexico is not yet America but it is
                    making progress.

                                            Congressman Jay Inslee of Washington on the
                                               floor of the US House of Representatives,
                                            November 17, 1993, in debate over the North
                                             American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)1

              Forty-four days after Congress passed NAFTA, an armed force of Zapatista rebels seized
     six district capitals in Mexico's southernmost state of Chiápas. The uprising was timed for the day
     NAFTA took effect (January 1, 1994) to dramatize the threat posed by the trade pact to the
     subsistence livelihoods of the local peasantry. Nearly 150 combatants died in the next ten days. A
     quasi-permanent truce, punctuated by several rounds of ineffective peace talks and periodic military
     maneuvers by the government, have left Chiápas in a state of conflict and uncertainty.
              Governmental leaders in Mexico City initially sought to downplay the broader significance
     of events in Chiápas by ascribing them to the agitation of populist Bishop Samuel Ruiz of San
     Cristóbal de las Casas, whose activism had earlier stirred the church hierarchy to plan his transfer to
     the Vatican. Within weeks, however, a storm of popular protest in Mexico forced both the
     government and the Vatican to adopt more conciliatory postures. Ruiz stayed in his post, and was
     selected by the contending parties to mediate the conflict.
               While most commentary on Chiápas has followed the zigs and zags of the peace talks, the
     enigmatic personality of Zapatista spokesperson Subcomandante Marcos, and the history of poverty
     and human rights abuses in the region, developments there also underscore how the interplay
     between science, technology and society often lurks just beneath the surface of dramatic events.
     The deployment of technology in the Lacandon rain forest in the heart of Chiápas is a good
     example. The Lacandon captures moisture flowing in from the Caribbean which is released into the
     region's rivers, where turbines generate some 60 percent of Mexico's electricity in an area otherwise
     lacking in industry. Yet only 25 to 30 percent of homes in the cities of Chiápas have electricity, far
     fewer in the countryside (Reding, 1994: 12-13).
              Like the transmission lines which carry electricity out of Chiápas, the region's increasing
     ties to global markets have transmitted products and profits to outsiders at the expense of the local
     peasant majority. Backed by U.S., Mexican, and World Bank policies throughout the 1980s which

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

     promoted export agriculture, capital and technology-intensive timber and beef production grew
     rapidly, marginalizing a subsistence economy of corn and beans which had sustained the Mayans of
     Chiápas for centuries. This generated ongoing land disputes between ranchers and Indians, to
     which local and national elites responded with intense military and paramilitary repression.
             NAFTA came as the last straw for the peasants of Chiápas, for it reduced tariff barriers to
     the import of corn grown in the American Midwest that sells for $110 per ton, compared to $240
     per ton for Mexican grown corn (Boyce, 1995: 10). Already marginalized by the growth of export
     agriculture in their own region, the peasants would be unable to continue selling their small
     surpluses of corn for basic necessities when U.S. grain flooded the Mexican market. These forces
     underlay the Zapatista claim that "NAFTA is a death certificate for the Indian peoples of Mexico"
     (Nelson, 1994: 18).
             In competing with the highly subsidized U.S. agricultural economy, Chiápañecos found
     themselves at odds with an array of long-established science and technology policies. First was the
     Morrill Act of 1862 in the United States establishing the land grant colleges and agricultural
     experiment stations which, over the course of a century, propelled U.S. producers to a position of
     overwhelming technological dominance in global markets. Second was the global expansion of
     U.S. agricultural science. Mexico was a key player in this drama as the site where U.S. plant
     pathologist Norman Borlaug established a laboratory in 1944 with funds from the Rockefeller
     Foundation. It was here that the "miracle" wheat strains of the "Green Revolution" were developed,
     for which Borlaug was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in 1970. As foreign scientists became
     increasingly established in Mexico, they collaborated with domestic elites to terminate the
     programs of Mexican research institutions which had been oriented toward the poorest dry-land
     farmers, re-focusing the country's agricultural research capabilities on irrigated, high tech farming
     (Jennings, 1988). Finally, the array of communications, transportation, containerization and related
     technologies which flowed from postwar scientific and technological endeavors further facilitated
     science-based agriculture integrated to global markets (Thrupp, 1994: 23). While competing with
     these subsidized forces, Mexico's subsistence farmers provide to humanity (present and future), free
     of charge, the preservation of the world's largest pool of corn biodiversity, comprised of some 5,000
     different varieties. This very same diversity is relentlessly reduced by science-based agriculture,
     which is allowed to impose this cost on humanity at virtually no charge.
             To most worldly observers, the image of ski-masked peasants in a tropical rain forest,
     brandishing wooden guns in armed opposition to a trade pact, was more than surreal. News that
     people were actually fighting and dying seemed somehow beyond all rational cause. This was
     precisely the image that Mexican leaders hoped to sustain in attributing the uprising to populist
     agitation. But the Zapatista grievances resonated with the experiences of millions in Mexico and
     billions throughout the world who have been displaced or who are being threatened by global
     economic restructuring. Their experience calls an entire concept of progress into question,
     including the scientific and technological activities which underpin it.

Worthington - Reconstructing the World


                     New frontiers of the mind are before us, and if they are pioneered
                    with the same vision, boldness, and drive with which we have waged
                    this war we can create a fuller and more fruitful employment and a
                    fuller and more fruitful life.

                                                                     Franklin D. Roosevelt,
                                                              in a letter to Vannevar Bush,
                                                                       November 17, 19442

              Forty-nine years to the day before Congress debated NAFTA, President Franklin Roosevelt
     wrote to Vannevar Bush, Director of the wartime Office of Scientific Research and Development,
     asking him to prepare a report on the policies required to sustain basic science after the war. Bush
     assembled a group of 49 distinguished scientists, university leaders, and industrialists, assigning
     them to work in four committees which took up particular questions posed by the President. The
     context for their work was one of an anticipated retreat from foreign engagements, when the
     unprecedented mobilization of scientific and technological capabilities which had yielded results
     ranging from the atomic bomb to the first wide scale use of penicillin, would be turned to the
     service of a nation at peace.
              Bush's report to President Truman the following July (Roosevelt died during the interim)
     was mostly concerned with domestic science policies. However, the wartime experience was
     decisive in placing science and technology on the nation's agenda, and the broader significance of
     Science: The Endless Frontier in the ensuing decades was at least as great in the international as the
     domestic arena. Fascism and the war had decimated Europe as the citadel of science, forcing many
     scientists into exile in the U.S. and prompting Bush to observe that "We can no longer count on
     ravaged Europe as a source of fundamental knowledge" (1960: 22). The contributions of scientists
     to the war effort gave dramatic evidence of the role science could play in service of national ends,
     and the fact that many scientists were refugees from a dismembered Germany underscored the
     resilience of science as a transboundary institution.
              These successes in harnessing a cosmopolitan science for U.S. national security purposes
     were achieved in a political culture harboring deep anti-intellectual and anti-elite strains. New
     possibilities thus entered the realm of the politically feasible. For one thing, wartime science
     showed how a cosmopolitan institution could benefit national interests. Second, it brought the
     activities and culture of scientists into the popular mind as never before. Finally, wartime science
     validated the New Deal belief that large national initiatives could achieve broad public goals, in a
     country where distrust of government's ability to do anything right runs deep. Beyond this, the
     economic context was one in which war spending had finally pulled the country out of depression.
     The fear that demobilization would plunge the country back into it loosened the political constraints

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

     on new spending programs, and science budgets became a natural beneficiary of postwar
              While the war boosted the visibility and credibility of science, the limitations it imposed on
     scientific practice were also turned to advantage by Bush. One key theme in his report was that war
     research had depleted the ranks of researchers who developed the basic store of knowledge from
     which applications were derived, and created a "wartime deficit" of future researchers by
     interrupting collegiate and graduate training (Ibid.: 24).
              War also constrained science by restricting the publication of classified research, while non-
     classified work often remained unpublished due to the pressures placed on scientists' time by
     wartime exigencies. Bush therefore argued for removing impediments to the free flow of ideas and
     providing support so that government scientists could write-up and disseminate their findings.
              Finally, the special circumstances of wartime science, which benefitted enormously from
     refugee scientists (especially Jews), framed an analogous domestic science policy issue on terms
     beneficial to the emerging science lobby. Bush's Committee on Science and the Public Welfare
     made the key linkage in its observation that "Scientific knowledge is not limited by geographical or
     racial boundaries" (1960: 113).4 While bolstering the report's bid to establish a moral high ground
     for science, this egalitarian proposition had two practical effects. First, evidence that scientific
     talent was widely distributed helped justify a federal role in recruiting and training human resources
     that might otherwise remain underdeveloped. Second, this evidence was used to preempt critics
     who would later charge that Bush's funding proposals would principally benefit elite scientists on
     the Harvard-Columbia-Johns Hopkins axis. The Committee on the Discovery and Development of
     Scientific Talent methodically analyzed scientific capabilities in a wide array of states in its section
     of the report, and Bush recommended that nearly a quarter of the nation's basic research budget go
     to university and post-doctoral fellowships that would be distributed among the states by a quota
     system derived from their numbers of secondary school graduates. Science, and the new programs
     supporting it, were thus depicted as activities that could benefit the kid next door or a nephew
     across the country, rather than abstract and remote enclaves for privileged intellectuals.
              In sum, the unique confluence of forces at the war's close made it possible to simultaneously
     advocate seemingly contradictory goals. The first was more public spending for scientific research
     based on its practical value to the nation and its socially progressive character, and the second was
     more autonomy for scientists from oversight and control by external forces such as business and
              International concerns enjoyed less prominence than domestic ones in Science: The Endless
     Frontier, which in hindsight markedly contrasts with the era of U.S. global engagement that was
     about to unfold. These concerns were most directly addressed in a proposal to support international
     scientific cooperation, which ultimately bore fruit in programs for international scientific
     congresses, foreign study opportunities for U.S. scientists, binational research projects, and the
     posting of science attachés to U.S. embassies around the world.
              Bush also called for "civilian-initiated and civilian-controlled military research" within his
     proposed National Research Foundation (1960: 34). It was here that his plea for an autonomous
     science failed. Contrary to his advice, defense research after the war became lodged in mission
     agencies rather than the National Science Foundation (which had been created in 1951), principally
     the Department of Defense. By 1956, four years prior to Eisenhower's famous warning against the

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

     power of the military-industrial complex, funding for basic research in these military-oriented
     agencies was nearly seven and a half times the entire NSF budget (Waterman, 1960: xxv). As it was
     institutionalized after the war, then, science was clearly engaged with issues and problems that
     transcended geographical boundaries, but the organizational source of its support was
     overwhelmingly the military, which served America's new role as global policeman.
              International issues were mentioned in two other contexts in Science: The Endless Frontier.
      First, Bush claimed that the "creative energies" of the American people would have to be
     unleashed in order to create jobs and compete effectively in international trade (1960: 18).5
     Second, the committee charged with investigating and issuing recommendations on the
     declassification of scientific documents noted that, in many cases, such activities would have to be
     coordinated with American allies. We see in these observations the distinctive combination of
     visionary and public-spirited claims, and a tending to the practical details of demobilization, that
     characterize this remarkable document.
              In retrospect, the globalization of science in the half century after Endless Frontier was one
     of the seminal developments of the era. Notwithstanding their domestic focus, Bush and his
     associates catalyzed this transformation. They epitomized what C.P. Snow (1954) called the "new
     men" of science. In addition to their scientific successes, these men had moved into leadership
     positions in universities and foundations. Their collaboration with industrial and government
     leaders in preparing Endless Frontier marked their admission to the highest levels of power, and
     assured a presence for big science and its world view in the many large, complex projects of the
     postwar era (Elzinga and Jamison, 1995: 582). The panoply of international institutions and
     programs put in place in the early postwar years--such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the
     Marshall Plan, and many others--were thoroughly imbued with the technocratic, rationalist ethos of
     big science and drew extensively on its new men and their growing cadres of experts.
              Outside the confines of science proper, the ensuing decades represented a second and more
     influential coming of the scientific management doctrines which had swept the nation at the
     beginning of the century. New fields such as operations research were invented, and their
     practitioners ascended the heights of industry and government. Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of
     Defense under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and later President of the World Bank, is a good
     example. McNamara studied economics, math and philosophy at Berkeley, took an MBA from
     Harvard, and cut his teeth in the heady atmosphere of wartime planning, where he helped direct
     logistical support for American bombers. After the war, his Harvard mentor, Colonel Charles B.
     ("Tex") Thornton, reassembled his "Whiz Kids," and offerred the team to industry. Ford Motor
     Company hired them, and McNamara advanced rapidly, starting as manager of the planning and
     financial offices for the financially troubled company. Later, when his doubts about the Vietnam
     war prompted his departure from government in 1967, McNamara smoothly transitioned from
     Third World war to Third World development as president of the World Bank (Halberstam, 1972).
              In the course of the half century after Endless Frontier, more money for science and more
     scientists could be found everywhere on the earth's surface, creating a global scientific community
     that "is a reality unique in world history" (Schott, 1991: 462). The motivating factors in this growth
     are not hard to find: in the modern world, science confers wealth, power, prestige, and quality of
     life. To take but one example, five countries (the U.S., UK, Japan, Germany and France) accounted
     for nearly two-thirds of all scientific articles published worldwide in 1987. These same five

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

     countries produce 86 per cent of all output in technology-intensive products such as computers,
     aircraft and pharmaceuticals. All of them run positive trade balances in the lucrative high-tech
     sector. At the other end of the scale, the most destitute countries in regions such as Africa and the
     Caribbean have extremely limited scientific capabilities. Their need to import even the most
     common technologies keeps them in permanent servitude to forces beyond their control (National
     Science Board, 1991: 389-404).
              The gap between rich and poor countries in global science actually exceeds the large and
     growing income gap in the global economy. The share of world scientific papers published by the
     liberal democracies (headed by the five countries just cited) is nearly five times their share of world
     population. The poor countries, on the other hand, contribute only one tenth their share of world
     population to world science.
              The U.S. stands alone as the most influential country. Papers written by U.S. scientists
     comprise 36 percent of the citations in research published by scientists in other countries. The next
     most influential national grouping is UK scientists, whose works comprise 6.4 percent of the
     citations in non-UK papers. Comparable figures elsewhere are Japan (3.2 percent), the former
     Soviet Union (.8 percent), Poland (.3 percent), Brazil (.15 percent), and Chile (.03 percent) [Schott,
     op. cit.: 450-454].
              By the 1980s, escalating costs, scale and specialization had constructed a global scientific
     network that even the most advanced countries could not replicate within their own borders, while
     the "scientification" of critical technologies made access to this network a primary condition of
     national competitiveness in the global economy. One study of the relationship between science and
     its commercial application found that in some high tech fields (such as biotechnology) citation of
     scientific studies in patents occurs as quickly as citation in the scientific literature. In other words,
     new ideas are now being used as rapidly for commercial purposes as they are for scientific inquiry
     (Ancarini, 1995: 670).          The richer countries (including a small number of former colonies
     which had experienced rapid industrial growth, such as Singapore, Korea and Brazil) responded by
     aggressively promoting collaborative arrangements to maintain their access to this system. These
     included not only traditional scientific exchanges, one-way technology transfer and foreign direct
     investment, but also a raft of transnational joint ventures, technology-sharing agreements, and
     regional industrial innovation programs, such as the European Community's RACE and ESPRIT
     research initiatives in telecomunications and information technology. By the late 1980s,
     collaborative R&D partnerships exceeded all other forms of transnational arrangements for sharing
     scientific and technological resources (Abbing and Schakenraad, 1991: 205). The concentration of
     these activities has served to further marginalize the poor countries with weak science and
     technology infrastructures.
              Marginalization, however, is a relative status within a system, which is quite a different
     thing from not being a part of it at all. Even as the stratification of rich and poor in the world system
     has increased, its postwar evolution brought virtually everyone into contact with a telephone, Coca
     Cola advertisement, hydroelectric dam, toxic industrial effluent, or global market. In 1945, it might
     have made sense to talk of a "nature" that existed largely undisturbed by human activities in
     significant areas of the earth. Perhaps the most noteworthy feature of today's world is that there is
     no escaping human artifacts, for the simple reason that nature itself has been made into one. Gene
     splicing is a logical culmination of this transformation.

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

              The contributors to Science: The Endless Frontier collaborated while World War II was still
     in progress, before the use of atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so their inattentiveness to
     the pending globalization and its profound ramifications is neither a surprise nor an indictment. In
     fact, their vision of a more central role for science-based technology was critical in setting the stage
     for this globalization, and they surely would be pleased with the progress of science and the many
     ways in which it has shaped the society of today.6


                      I confess that I have as vast intellectual ends as I have moderate
                    civil ends; for I have taken all knowledge to be my province; and if I
                    could purge it of two sort of rovers, whereof the one with frivolous
                    disputations, confutations, and verbosities, the other with blind
                    experiments and auricular traditions and impostures hath committed
                    so many spoils, I hope I should bring in industrious observations,
                    grounded conclusions, and profitable inventions and discoveries: the
                    best state of the province."
                                                              Francis Bacon, appealing for
                                                  financial aid to his uncle, Lord Burleigh
                                                                           (Bacon, 1595: v)

              The idea that an autonomous science can bring order to an irrational social realm dates at
     least to Francis Bacon and the scientific transformation of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
      Bacon reconciled the vigorous pursuit of knowledge with explicit commercial aims, articulating an
     expansive outlook that was geographically manifested by the era of European colonialism which
     accompanied the growth of science and industry. Similarly, Bush's Endless Frontier spelled out a
     new set of institutional linkages which harnessed the Baconian project to a militarized economy and
     a global Pax Americana. Its most visible correlate in the arena of policies toward decolonizing
     areas was Truman's Point Four program, which sought the socioeconomic improvement of the
     Third World through the diffusion of "profitable inventions and discoveries", i.e., U.S. technology.7
              The common ground for postwar initiatives from the NSF to the World Bank and the
     Marshall Plan is a science-based model of mobilizing people and nature. Its centerpiece is the
     belief that Homo sapiens can scientifically control their environment in the service of human
     betterment: knowledge, systematically arrived at, is the source of humanity's leverage on the social
     and natural world.
              Several key premises reinforce this belief. Perhaps most importantly, the universe is seen as
     related, purposeful and understandable. In this world view, human beings are active agents who
     have the key role of intervening in, breaking apart, and reassembling a more perfect world. This
     optimistic doctrine portrays nature as a machine whose inner workings are revealed by science.
     The ability to control nature's mechanisms afforded by science enables people to recombine the

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

     parts in enlightened, high-yield, and utilitarian ways. Nature's imperfections and inefficiencies can
     thus be eliminated, with humanity finishing the job of creation left incomplete at the start. Magical
     qualities have been ascribed to modern science by its practitioners and advocates from its very
     origins (Merchant, 1980), and there is an element of this magical realism in Science: The Endless
     Frontier. One respected science policy scholar put this gently in noting that the report's claims for
     the benevolent powers of science "went beyond the bounds of common sense" (Smith, 1994: 43).
               If the contributors to Endless Frontier and other architects of the postwar order only dimly
     perceived the significance of the globalization under way, they altogether missed the
     marginalization by scientific means of a worldwide underclass. As global managers turned their
     attention to the vast stretches of colonies and former colonies that had witnessed Western
     industrialization from the outside, an antiseptic vision of progress shaped the means by which they
     were transformed into insiders. From subsistence economies to growth economies, Mayan maize to
     high yield corn, the linkages of gathering change in the decolonizing areas to the legacy of Bush's
     work are diffuse, but their significance is substantial.
               At the political core of the movement to tie Western rationalism to Third World needs is a
     frame of mind and set of policies that came to be called "development." The term was first used in
     the seventeenth century to refer to an unfolding of potential, normally in an individual or biological
     sense. After the World War II, it was invoked as a label for social, economic and political
     improvement in the Third World, revealing a number of assumptions which development experts
     brought to their civilizing mission: (1) the decolonizing areas are backward, and their potential is
     unrealized (hence, Brazil was often called "the sleeping giant" during this period); (2) U.S. capital,
     technology, and culture is the key to unlocking these treasures; and (3) development, like the word
     itself, is a new and different experience for these countries.
               Like Science: The Endless Frontier, development emerged from a unique set of forces
     generated by the war and its aftermath. First, the war had reduced Allied and Axis powers alike to
     rubble. The sole exception was the U.S., which benefitted from the economic, scientific and
     technological capabilities forged in the war effort, and which was spared destructive conflict on its
     own soil. By default, America inherited a position of leadership on the world scene that no country
     could rival. Second, the war also loosened the grip of European and Japanese colonial authority,
     feeding the immediate political and military prospects of national liberation movements in countries
     such as China and Vietnam, as well as the hopes of those struggling for self-determination
     throughout the decolonizing areas. Third, the fascism which had been at the center of European
     politics for much of the twentieth century had finally been defeated militarily. With its demise,
     colonialist doctrines which employed very similar racist elements at their core also fell into
     disrepute (Arendt, 1951). The enlightenment ideal of progress which stressed merit and rationalism
     rather than racial or national superiority thus converged with and conferred legitimacy on America's
     hegemony in world politics. Finally, the Chinese Communist victory in 1949, growing Soviet
     military capabilities, and popular revolutionary elements within many decolonization movements
     combined to shift the intracapitalist rivalries of the previous 100 years onto a socialist vs. capitalist
               In circumstances which the Third World was shedding old imperial ties and the U.S. was
     uniquely positioned to expand its economic and military influence, development was a concept
     whose time had come. For one thing, it was perfectly concordant with the adulation of science and

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

     technology spawned by the war. The term itself bespeaks progress and a more or less automatic
     realization of potential. This automaticity provided another distinction between development and
     colonial ideologies, for the latter had stressed the necessity of imperial expansion for national
     survival.8 Development thus served very similar goals of commercial expansion and political
     hegemony, but within a more benign and rationalist ideological framework. All that was needed in
     the Third World were the right circumstances for these natural potentials to unfold: freedom from
     external aggression (i.e., communist meddling), and access to the capital, technology and expertise
     provided by advanced countries.9
              American foreign policy has historically been shaped by the tension between realist and
     idealist currents, and here too development struck the perfect balance. Hard-headed in their
     technological focus and resolute in their opposition to aggression, development advocates were
     equally driven to make the world a better place for the vast populations who had yet to experience
     the benefits of progress and freedom. Finally, the development concept enabled the U.S., which
     was born in a struggle against colonial authority, to simultaneously distance itself from European
     colonialism (which had been the defining feature of North-South relations up to the war), and
     transfer the colonialist label onto the Soviet Union. As then-Assistant Secretary of State Dean Rusk
     commented after the communist victory in China, Mao's government "was a colonial Russian is not the government of China" (Barnet, 1968: 40). In sum, development secured
     the buy-in of Third World elites into a model of social evolution where Western science and
     technology would be the key lever of progress, and gave apparent substance to a Wilsonian vision
     of self- determination that had been rejected after the first global conflagration as hopelessly
              Truman's Point Four Program, announced in his inaugural address on January 20, 1949,
     marked the transformation of these currents into government policy. Truman opened his speech by
     noting that the first half of the century had witnessed "unprecedented and brutal attacks on the
     rights of man, and the two most frightful wars in history." The newest threat to human dignity and
     welfare, he continued, was the "false philosophy" of communism. Truman then declared four
     points to which his foreign policies would adhere: support for the United Nations, continued
     financing for the Marshall Plan, formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and "a bold
     new program for making the benefits of our scientific advances and industrial progress available for
     the improvement and growth of underdeveloped areas." He went on to note that "The old
     imperialism--exploitation for foreign profit--has no place in our plans. What we envisage is a
     program of development based on the concepts of democratic fair dealing" (Lott, 1961: 251-255).
              In 1950, Congress created the Technical Cooperation Administration, which later became
     the Agency for International Development, and launched projects which ranged from disease
     control efforts in Burma to technical training centers in Libya. By 1953, economic and technical
     assistance to decolonizing areas had surpassed transfers to industrialized countries. Truman would
     later remark that Point Four would "rank in importance with the United Nations and the Marshall
     Plan" (Ibid.).
              Annual budgets for the Point Four and Marshall programs through the mid-1950s were
     indeed comparable (and larger than U.S. outlays for the U.N., which received funds from all its
     members), and, over time cumulative expenditures for aid to the decolonizing areas greatly
     exceeded similar transfers to Europe. The principal reason for this, however, is that the Marshall

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

     Plan was successful and could be phased out rapidly, while very few Third World countries have
     escaped the conditions of dependency which foreign aid was purportedly designed to eliminate.
     Moreover, all forms of foreign aid have been comparatively small, comprising just 2-3 percent of
     the entire federal budget, and of this amount some three-fourths went for military programs during
     the heyday of aid's expansion (Barnet, 1968: 31).
             Small in size and militarized in execution, Point Four is most significant for articulating a
     model of U.S.-led social and economic improvement that characterized an entire set of relationships
     between the North and the South in the postwar era. Development theorists saw the challenge of
     the Third World as one of replicating the successes of the European and North American "transition
     to modernity" which had occurred during the nineteenth century. Their plans affirmed a belief that
     social science could design an objective model for economic progress that would succeed
     independently of the cultural and historical context in which it was applied.
             The purest intellectual brief for development policy was Walt Rostow's The Stages of
     Economic Growth: A Non-Communist Manifesto, published in 1960. In it, Rostow argued that
     most of the decolonizing areas had entered the "take-off" stage of development immediately
     preceeding rapid transformation into industrial economies that had been experienced by Europe and
     North America in the nineteenth century. A development economist and MIT economics professor,
     Rostow held a variety of posts in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, from which he had as
     good an opportunity to put development theory into practice as any figure of the postwar era.
     Indeed, his memos to President Kennedy on the Vietnam situation in 1961 were, in the words of the
     Pentagon Papers, "quite exact" prescriptions for the decisions ultimately made by the President,
     and his influence grew over time, with Johnson ultimately naming Rostow as his National Security
     Advisor (Sheehan, 1971: 95).
             Much as Rostow's theories epitomized both the world view and the policies of his time, the
     personal experiences from which they emerged likewise reflected the disembodied means of
     investigating reality, and the distant modes of manipulating it, that typified the era's scientific and
     technological pursuits. As a campaign advisor to JFK, Rostow made much of the fact that the
     candidate and those around him had experienced the heat of battle as junior officers in World War
     II. This constructed a high ground of practical experience from which to criticize the more removed
     leaders of Eisenhower's presidency, and legitimized Kennedy's caché as a man of action who could
     lead the country toward new frontiers. Rostow, it turns out, had spent the war selecting bombing
     targets--thus epitomizing the distant manipulation of reality--and in fact was the principal advocate
     of the massive bombing (more than in all of World War II) by the U.S. in Vietnam. Likewise,
     Secretary of Defense McNamara (whose nearsightedness precluded active military service) served
     as a systems analyst rather than a soldier. Rostow acted as the principal source of White House
     expertise on Southeast Asia in Kennedy's first year, but his previous publications on Asia were
     actually focused on Chinese communism.
             None of this deterred Rostow from believing that a formula existed for bringing progress to
     the region. He forcefully advocated a pacification program to "win the hearts and minds" of the
     Vietnamese peasantry, which at the time harbored substantial sympathy for the revolutionary
     program of the National Liberation Front (NLF). The U.S. program's key components entailed
     moving village populations from areas controlled by the NLF into "strategic hamlets" controlled by
     U.S. and South Vietnamese forces, and providing technical and financial assistance to reestablish

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

     housing, infrastructure, and agricultural technology that would create viable communities. In
     reality, most peasants were loathe to be uprooted from villages occupied by their families for
     generations, and many actively supported the NLF's goal of liberating the country from the control
     of outside powers. While economic aid to support this "hamletization" program was substantial,
     much of it ended up in the coffers of Saigon bureaucrats, and the South Vietnamese army charged
     with protecting the villagers instead routinely stole their livestock and property.
              In Vietnam and throughout the Third World, postwar socioeconomic realities differed
     widely from those which had existed in nineteenth century Europe and North America. Plans
     premised on the technology-based progress of these earlier models instead generated a debilitating
     technological dependency. By the late 1980s, which practitioners had dubbed the "decade of
     development," the megaprojects promoted in the name of aid and progress from Indonesia to Brazil
     and northern Canada were instead becoming known for their destructive ecological and cultural
     impacts, huge cost-overruns, the arrogant, secretive and undemocratic practices of the institutions
     promoting them, and the popular resistance which these factors engendered. As Bruce Rich has
     noted in his study of the World Bank,

                      Massive internationally financed development schemes were unleashing
                    ecological destruction and social upheaval in areas larger than many American states
                    or European countries. Huge forests had been destroyed, gigantic river basins filled
                    with dams, and vast agricultural expanses consolidated into larger holdings for
                    export production at tremendous ecological cost" (Rich, 1994: 26).

              As in Vietnam, the wholesale displacement of people to make way for these projects
     bespeaks the catastrophic consequences of development's claim to exert a magical leverage that can
     improve the human condition. In India, some twenty million people were relocated by officially
     sponsored development projects in the forty years after independence. Brazilian development
     schemes between 1960 and 1980 displaced 28.4 million people. The flagship global development
     institution, the World Bank, was directly responsible for financing projects displacing two million
     people by 1990, with millions more slated for relocation by projects in the planning stages (Ibid.:
              The various international agencies, national governments, and independent electric power,
     irrigation, highway and other authorities which finance and implement these projects of course
     portray them as serving the self-justifying goal of development, which has been covered by a teflon
     surface to which no critique will stick. Three lines of defense consistently appear as the means by
     which these institutions manage criticism and opposition. First, their plans are often drawn up in
     secret, involving only an elite cadre of planners, lending agencies, contractors, and top political
     authorities. By the time plans become public, there is sufficient momentum behind them among
     powerful actors that the disenfranchised groups which are most likely to be negatively affected are
     incapable of acting in their own interests.
              Second, in those situations where the social costs of development are articulated by its
     victims and their supporters among activists and progressive academics and experts, authorities
     downplay the costs as the price of progress, which is invoked as a salve for the wounds of the
     displaced. As one World Bank vice-president said when confronted with tens of thousands of

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

     protestors of a dam project in India, "You can't have development without somebody getting hurt.
     We're going in as new carpenters and are likely to botch the first job, but we'll learn...The tribals
     themselves, the oustees will learn" (Ibid.: 140).10
              Finally, as grassroots opposition and a network of progressive analysts and intervenors have
     grown worldwide, development authorities have been forced to promise compensation and
     mitigation for displaced people. The results, however, have been abysmal. Professor Thayer
     Scudder of the California Institute of Technology, who is the world's leading authority on forced
     resettlement of populations displaced by development projects, and a long-time consultant to the
     World Bank and other agencies, claims there is not a single example of successful rehabilitation of
     such groups. As he put it, forced resettlement "is the worst thing you can do to a people next to
     killing them" (Ibid.).
              In sum, development's advocates have a record of excluding affected populations from
     knowing about the plans which will affect them; they justify any disruption as a necessary and
     minor evil; and they invoke the magic of development leverage in making false promises to
     compensate the losers. The description by a University of Pennsylvania researcher of the oustees of
     a dam project in India aptly summarizes a fate which has been repeated throughout the world:

                      News has gone around that sites selected for relocation are stony and infertile, and
                    there are no plans for their reclamation. When the reservoir first started filling, 16
                    villages were evacuated. The 2120 families [about 12,000 people] of this first batch
                    were to be relocated in 22 selected sites, but only ten percent went there, and of that
                    number half returned to their old villages as soon as the water seasonally went
                    down. The other 90 percent of this first batch of oustees slipped quietly into the
                    vastness of Indian humanity" (Ibid.: 45).

            Substitute Mexico for India, and the vastness into which the oustees disappear would
     include Juárez, Nogales and Tijuana as passages to Houston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and the fields
     of U.S. agribusiness. California's Proposition 187, which limits access by the children of
     undocumented immigrants (many of them development refugees) to public benefits such as health
     care and education, symbolizes one type of political response to the social costs of development.

                                     It's not exactly a democratic group.

                                                           A member of the Audobon Society's San Diego
                                                            chapter, commenting on the national Audobon
                                                             leadership's high profile support for NAFTA.

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

                           "We are not fighting for socialism, but for a democratic space in which
                               the people will be free to determine their political direction."
                                                                 Subcomandante Marcos of the Zapatista
                                                                           Army of National Liberation11

             Development was a political invention which promised to remake the South in the
     technological image of the North under the benevolent leadership of the U.S.. Contrary to the plan,
     however, class polarization, dilapidated public institutions, uncontrolled violence in inner cities,
     legions of urban squatters, and a remote leadership instead show the U.S. moving toward a Third
     World model. The electronic surveillance and control systems which guard America's burgeoning
     "gated communities" from this social chaos are a high tech variant of the broken bottles cemented
     atop the walls of elite Third World enclaves. A technology gap persists, but underlying social
     conditions are converging.
             This convergence has been elevated to the level of strategy by those who aim to make life
     for Third World immigrant populations in the U.S. no better than the one they left behind. This is
     unlikely to significantly reduce the number of undocumented arrivals (indeed, Proposition 187 in
     November 1994 was followed the next month by the collapse of the Mexican peso, which
     multiplied the economic pressure to emigrate to the U.S.), but it does render the internal underclass
     more vulnerable and exploitable, while winning votes for beleaguered politicians in search of
     scapegoats (Brysk, 1995).
             The passing of the development era can also be charted by the growth of grassroots
     organizations in the First and Third Worlds which harbor remarkably similar grievances, and
     espouse comparable objectives and philosophies. Subcomandante Marcos and the Audobon
     activist in San Diego want the same things which development has failed to deliver: material
     sufficiency, productive work, healthy and sustainable communities, and direct say in the decisions
     affecting these goals. They are each reacting to a globalized economy which has compromised the
     nation-state's ability to manage economic and technological forces in the public interest, leaving
     locally-based and democratically-organized citizen movements as the most likely agents of social
     improvement in the dawning era.
             Three things draw these northern and southern movements together. First, they are often
     focused on basic technological choices, such as transportation or energy infrastructures. Such
     choices mobilize and institutionalize economic and political resources that shape societal
     possibilities and outcomes for decades into the future. It makes a big difference whether these
     decisions favor flexible and open systems, or closed and rigid ones, so the presence of common
     folks with communitarian agendas is of the highest import. Second, grassroots movements are
     increasingly transnational in their purview and organization, and many of them (not least the
     Zapatistas) are media savvy. They are thus appropriately configured for the political challenges of a
     borderless world. Finally, experience shows that such mobilization can make a constructive
     difference, and often is the only thing that does make a difference.
             In Asia, for example, Hart-Landsberg (1994) has written of the People's Plan for the
     Twenty-First Century (PP21), a transnational, grassroots movement centered in the East Asian
     trading bloc. PP21 aims for social transformation toward social equity, ecological sustainability,
     and participatory democracy, and thus serves as a counterweight to the strictly commercial and

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

     highly authoritarian agenda of the dominant elites throughout the region. In addition to holding two
     congresses at which representatives from forty-six countries formulated statements of principles
     and action plans, PP21 has enjoyed practical successes in fighting deforestation, promoting
     networks among organic farmers and consumer cooperatives, and focusing attention on the plight
     of migrant women in Japan who are forced to work in the growing sex industry.
              Similar examples of resistance to traditional development schemes and advocacy of
     alternatives, many of them very local in scale and focus, can be found on all continents, and are
     increasingly documented in progressive research and journalism.12 The signings of a Canada-
     United States Free Trade Agreement in 1989 and NAFTA in 1993 have been key drivers of such
     activism in North America. These trade accords came straight from the postwar development
     model and its emphasis on economic growth and efficiency. In the NAFTA case, however,
     grassroots activists in all three countries forged trinational networks to advocate sustainable and
     equitable approaches to trade liberalization ("fair trade"). These forces successfully expanded the
     trade policy agenda to include environmental, human rights and labor standards.
              The immediate product of these efforts were weak side agreements to NAFTA on labor and
     environmental standards which divided environmental advocates (organized labor remained
     opposed to the agreement). The trinational networks have nonetheless remained active in the post-
     NAFTA period, and thus have the potential to shape ongoing processes of North American
     integration in accord with a vision of social equity, ecological sustainability, and democratic
     politics. The least visible part of this work is thus the most important, while the most visible
     outcome (NAFTA's side agreements) is the weakest.
               An interesting node in this network can be found in the "Third Country" (Miller, 1981)
     along the U.S.-Mexico border. The costs of the postwar development model have been been
     especially evident in this region. Beginning in the mid-1980s, rapid industrialization occurred
     through the maquiladora program for duty-free production by foreign (mostly U.S.) companies on
     the Mexican side of the border. Shanty towns have sprung up everywhere, most with no drainage,
     electricity, paved roads, or running water. A widely quoted report by the American Medical
     Association called the area "a virtual cesspool," citing the 206 million liters of raw sewage that are
     dumped daily into the Tijuana River, the New River, and the Rio Grande, and an epidemic of
     infectious diseases (Farquharson, 1991: 34).
              In response to these conditions and the free trade initiatives to expand the industrialization
     which has caused them, an entire binational social movement infrastructure has emerged in less
     than a decade (Land, 1994).13 There is a strong environmental component to this movement, which
     is largely driven by the health impacts of the polluted border environment. However, this
     environmental concern is increasingly tied to social justice issues and organizations in which ethnic,
     cross national, class and gender politics are central themes.
              Examples of such activism include La Red Fronteriza de Salud y Ambiente in the western
     border region, whose member organizations worked locally, nationally and internationally to shape
     the content of NAFTA; the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice in
     Albuquerque, New Mexico, which organized simultaneous anti-NAFTA demonstrations in cities
     on both sides of the border and remains active in anti-toxics mobilizations; and BorderLinks, a
     faith-based organization in Tucson, Arizona which promotes exchanges of citizen delegations to

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

     witness immigration, human rights, and environmental issues at the ground level. These citizens
     then become bases of informed action when they return to their communities.
              This activism has placed development on trial at the world's longest border between a Third
     World and First World country. As in Chiápas, science and technology in the narrower senses of
     those terms are not prominent issues, but technological politics lie just beneath the surface. A
     central objective of border activists, for example, is the passage and implemention of Right to
     Know legislation requiring companies to closely track hazardous materials from cradle to grave,
     and make this information available to citizens and workers. Dissenting experts from research
     institutions along the border and throughout Mexico and the U.S. have provided key documentation
     of threats to health and the environment, with citizen groups serving as a crucial link into policy
     development and political action. Given the toxic condition of the border environment, this citizen-
     expert alliance has largely been focused on mitigating threats to health and safety. Advocacy of
     alternative technological choices has lagged considerably, but there are examples. One is the
     SIDETRAN project in Tijuana which addresses the water pollution problems of the border region
     through a low tech method of converting sewage to a marketable resource for urban park irrigation.
      The experiment has combined the resources of the Colegio de la Frontera Norte in Tijuana, the
     Environmental Defense Fund in the U.S., and the support of a cross-border network of
     environmental activists in the San Diego-Tijuana region (Luecke and de la Parra, 1994).
              In the face of trinational mobilization, political elites in the U.S. and Mexico have sought to
     confine concerns over the ecological consequences of trade expansion to the specific environmental
     problems of the U.S.-Mexico border region. The trinational focus and collaboration of border
     activists has turned out to be an important counterweight. As one of them put it:

              Perhaps it is ironic that while many national environmental groups put the spotlight on the
             border environment, Border Ecology Project and other border groups worked hard to
             expand the NAFTA debate beyond the border region to address issues related to standards
             and enforcement, natural resource protection, and public participation in all NAFTA
             member countries. In the unprecedented number of new and effective
             environmental coalitions were developed, linking border groups with organizations in
             Washington, DC, Mexico City and elsewhere.14

              A second North American example of citizen mobilization to shape technological choices is
     the movement for conservation and renewable energy in the continental U.S.'s Pacific Northwest.
     It illustrates three things: (1) that citizens can effectively and intelligently participate in complex
     technological choices; (2) that industrialization in the rich countries has hit its ecological limits; and
     (3) that development is on trial in the First World as well as the Third World.
              One of the least populated and physically majestic regions of the country, the U.S.
     Northwest has historically enjoyed abundant resources and an independent political streak born of
     self-reliance and distance from the nation's major centers of culture, commerce and government.
     The backbone of the region's energy infrastructure, and indeed of the industrial civilization that has
     been established there, is the hydroelectric capacity installed throughout the Columbia River
     watershed. While the first dams date to the early part of this century, the present-day system is
     largely the product of New Deal progressivism, which was responsible for massive federal projects

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

     to build the Grand Coulee, Bonneville, and numerous other dams. New Deal legislation also
     established the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to market federal hydropower on a
     regional basis.
              As population and industry increased during the postwar era, a utility-industry complex with
     the BPA at its core quietly drafted plans in the 1960's to build 26 nuclear and coal plants in the
     region by 1995. These plans assumed that the demand for electricity would continue to increase as
     rapidly as it had since the Depression. Virtually all the viable hydropower sites had already been
     dammed, and their devastating impact on the region's vaunted salmon fisheries was just beginning
     to stir political action by the Northwest tribes and other fishers that has since generated landmark
     court and legislative decisions and multibillion dollar restoration efforts. In transforming the
     Columbia River into a series of massive bathtubs, hydropower had run up against both ecological
     and political limits. In this context, the centralized generating facilities envisioned by utility
     planners offerred an alternative to hydropower that was an ideal fit for the existing electric grid and
     the powerful institutional complex which had grown around it.
              One key resource for implementing the plan was the bonding capacity of the local utilities
     in the region. A large proportion of Northwest utilities are municipally or cooperatively owned, in
     part reflecting New Deal legislation which provides them preferential access over privately owned
     utilities to inexpensive federal hydropower. In most cases, local business elites nonetheless had the
     interest and resources to get their candidates elected to the governing boards of these utilities in
     what were largely low profile elections. The "muni's" and "coops" were thus counted as allies, or in
     some cases pawns, in the designs of the energy barons.15
              Democracy broke out around 1970, and over the next two decades the nuclear option was
     halted and a conservation/renewable alternative established in its place. The first crack in the armor
     of the energy barons appeared in Eugene, Oregon. The municipal Eugene Water and Electric Board
     had secured bonding authority in a 1968 election for construction of a nuclear power plant, but by
     the following year a diverse set of women environmentalists, farmers, fishers and university
     activists had begun questioning the need for and safety of such a plant. The pat and nonresponsive
     answers of local, regional and federal authorities to these concerns only fed skepticism, and in May
     1970 a referendum to place a moratorium on construction of the plant was passed by the electorate,
     making Eugene the first community in the nation to vote on a nuclear plant. This campaign
     politicized local energy politics, resulting in the election of a conservationist to the EWEB board in
     1972 (and a majority of three by 1978), and the election of Jim Weaver, a nuclear critic and
     conservation/renewables advocate, to Congress in 1974 (Worthington, 1977).
              A similar process occurred in Seattle in 1975, where Seattle City Light was entreated by the
     Washington Public Power Supply System to co-sponsor its fourth and fifth nuclear reactors.
     Environmentalists prevailed on city officials to complete a study before making a decision, which
     included open citizen participation, a projection of energy demand, and an econometric analysis of
     the costs of the nuclear option. The outcome was a decision against participation in the WPPSS
     project and promulgation of a pro-conservation energy plan for the city (Goldrich, 1986).
              In 1983, WPPSS went into default and was forced to mothball two nuclear plants (and
     cancel two others) when opposition to skyrocketing utility rates generated a statewide rebellion.
     The final nail was driven into the nuclear coffin in 1993, when the owner of the Trojan nuclear
     plant in Oregon decided to decommission the facility. The key considerations included a history of

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

     technical problems which prevented the plant from operating near capacity, and repeated voter
     initiatives to close the plant, which gained increased support with each electoral cycle.
                While the nuclear option was forestalled, the concomitant mobilization of grassroots
     forces to challenge the energy barons secured legislation to commit the region to a pro-
     conservation/renewables policy. The watershed legislation was the Pacific Northwest Electric
     Power Planning and Conservation Act passed by Congress, and championed by Congressman Jim
     Weaver, in 1980. While the legislation represented a compromise among industry/utility and
     conservation interests, its key provisions called for a regional energy planning process, public
     information program, citizen participation in decision-making, and a least cost planning approach
     which established energy conservation as its top priority.
              Over the following decade, 545 megawatts of energy capacity were "supplied" by
     conservation programs, and another 1500 megawatts of conservation were projected for the 1990's
     (Northwest Power Planning Council, 1991: 3-5). Notwithstanding these successes, many of the
     same political forces are in contention over the Northwest's energy future as the region faces a need
     to expand energy supply due to population and economic growth. BPA, investor-owned utilities,
     and their industrial allies are on one side, calling for an expansion of gas-fired thermal plants to
     meet future energy demand. On the other is the grassroots coalition of conservation/renewables
     advocates based in environmental and consumer groups and many municipal/cooperative utilities,
     which are now joined by a fledgling renewable energy industry.
              While there is thus relative stability in the composition of these political alignments, the
     initiative in Northwest energy politics has shifted over two decades from a high tech, elite-
     dominated strategy to one focused on participatory energy planning and appropriate technological
     choices. Citizen action was central to this transformation, and will be critical to sustaining it in the
     years ahead. With NAFTA now in place, a key challenge for conservation advocates is that
     increased energy trade at the North American level will provide cheaper access to huge natural gas
     fields in Alberta, while the environmental regulations that can account for the true costs of using
     this greenhouse gas will be undermined by transnational production arrangements. Globalization
     will put renewable technologies at an economic disadvantage, unless transnational mobilization can
     steer key choices toward appropriate technologies, as it has in the Pacific Northwest over the past
     twenty years.
              The Northwest and Third Country cases illustrate that citizen-based activism can make a
     difference, although it remains to be seen how much and what kind of a difference. At first glance,
     they seem worlds apart from the types of issues confronted by Bush and his associates at the end of
     World War II. The Chiápas rebellion reminds us, however, that the politics of science and
     technology can be important, even if not highly visible, in seemingly unlikely circumstances.
     Energy underdevelopment in Chiápas (the production of electricity for consumption by an external
     market) and overdevelopment in the Pacific Northwest spring from the same marginalization of
     common citizens by experts that was central to the science-driven world Bush envisioned. The fact
     that Chiápas and the Northwest seem so separate itself reflects an image of science as a strictly
     intellectual activity, which is conducted at a safe distance from society, and from which benefits
     trickle down. At the ground level of our technologically constructed world, this vision is
     increasingly contested.

Worthington - Reconstructing the World


             Bush proclaimed science as the endless frontier. The particular vision of it that he and his
     contemporaries advocated, however, seems more like an ending frontier. Everywhere one turns,
     knowledge is contested, and the claims to legitimacy and resources that are based on expert
     knowledge are thereby opened to challenge. At the same time, science, technology and expertise
     are if anything more central to the artifactual world that we now occupy than at any other time in
     history, and the world's greatest scientific country, the United States, stands as a model of political
     and economic values that virtually every country in the world now emulates. How can we explain
     this paradox?
             Four factors seem to be at work. First, globalization has eclipsed the option that many
     revolutionary movements have advocated in the past, that of delinking from the dominating
     political, economic and technological structures that enrich the powerful and marginalize the poor.
     For better or worse, all individuals and societies are now in some meaningful sense members of a
     global society, so their choices are the terms of their participation in it rather than whether or not to
             Second, there is no significant political competition to the U.S. model, and hence no Soviet
     or other model to emulate or from which to draw material support. While the factors accounting for
     the demise of state socialism are far beyond the scope of this chapter, the inability of these societies
     to innovate technologically and socially after their initial revolutionary surge is certainly part of the
     explanation. Here too, some type of meaningful engagement with science and innovation, at which
     the U.S. excels, seems a precondition of autonomy and social improvement for any people.
             Third, the control over science and technology in a world constructed by it is more
     concentrated than ever. Again, the Third World finds itself with few options.
             Finally, development ideology proclaims itself to be apolitical and universal. Its underlying
     premises continue to frame our common sense, which precludes and complicates a critical
     discourse. As our brief review of social movements shows, practical exposure to the development
     project is the principal source of opposition to it, but this opposition is often limited in its political
     vision and concrete aims to stopping an immediate threat rather than transforming the social
     structures which produced the threat.
             As the development era draws to a close, the book remains very open as to what will replace
     it. Clearly, science and technology must be seen in their social context if they are to serve more
     broadly humanitarian ends than the disembodied ideals and institutions of the past. Likewise, no
     small transformation of power will be required to make science and society more participative and
     democratic. These are big topics which mock the concept of "solutions."
             At the same time, the dynamic forces at work 50 years after the publication of Science: The
     Endless Frontier provide countless opportunities to experiment with alternative visions in very
     concrete places. One of Bush's more brilliant strokes was his recognition that science is very much
     a matter of the people who practice it, and his policy focus on "manpower" and "education"
     implemented this insight in a powerful way. The population that practices science changes as a

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

     natural function of time. Changes in the socialization and education of that population can
     therefore reorient science and the world in which it is embedded in a comparatively short period of
              There is remarkable consensus across social strata and political opinion that science and
     inquiry have become too disconnected from the world around them, and all manner of
     interdisciplinary and "hands on" programs are springing up in the academic world, from
     environmental science to public policy. My two decades of experience in higher education with
     students in the sciences and engineering suggest that there is no shortage of young people who will
     jump at the opportunity to connect with the world around them through their studies rather than
     retreat from it.
              It of course will make a difference whether such connections are with Newt Gingrich's
     Progress and Freedom Foundation or the Union of Concerned Scientists, but the fact of learning
     from experience differentiates both from the removed approach to learning that characterized the
     era of pure science. As grassroots mobilization against the development project shows, learning
     from experience can be a transformative experience. Therein lies a substantial opportunity for
     academicians, policy-makers, and citizens to make the knowledge we construct flow from the
     ecological and political realities of our global society. In so doing, we can begin to remake the
     artifact of the modern world in accord with the politics of a good society.


     1. Congressional Record: H9935
     2. Printed in Bush (1960: 4).
     3. While science budgets were hotly contested throughout this period, they grew rapidly, and the
     new science lobby was emboldened by these circumstances to ask for the sky. As late as 1965,
     scientific elites were advocating a formula for federal R&D expenditures which called for annual
     increases of 15 percent (Smith, 1994: 44).
     4. The irony is that this committee was chaired by Isaiah Bowman, President of Johns Hopkins
     University, whose anti-Semitism drove Nobel laureate and German emigre James Franck from that
     institution (Carroll, 1983: 198). This underscores the fact that Endless Frontier was principally
     written to cash in on the scientific successes of the war, and that some of the arguments invoked
     toward that end were strictly ideological.
     5. A significant shift in rhetoric and policy goals has transpired since Bush's time. Bush was
     addressing the "national goal of full employment," noting that "We do not yet know how we shall
     reach that goal", but "the full and productive energies of the American people" would be a
     necessary condition of achieving it (Ibid.). The goal (full employment) was clear, but the role of
     science was generalized to "full and productive energies." By the 1980's, when new investments in
     science and technology for economic competitiveness were being undertaken by most of the
     American states, the goal of full employment had long since been abandoned by policy-makers in
     favor of the less-demanding objective of "job-creation," while the focus on technological

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

     innovation as the source of growth and jobs had become an unquestioned axiom. See Black and
     Worthington (1986) for a more detailed analysis on this point.
     6. There was of course diversity, even among the homogenous group of elite scientists on Bush's
     committees. One notable example is two-time Nobel Laureate (in Chemistry and Peace) Linus
     Pauling, who by the late 1950s spearheaded an international Ban the Bomb movement, and
     sustained his social activism until his death in 1994.
     7. I am using the term decolonizing here to refer the defining experience of the once-colonized
     countries of Africa, Asia (excluding Japan) and Latin America from roughly 1945 to 1965. While
     many of these countries (especially in Latin America), had become sovereign states much earlier,
     they shared a similar position at the periphery of the global political economy during this period.
     The terms Third World and South are used interchangeably with decolonizing areas in this essay.
     8. At the beginning of the century, South African colonialist Cecil Rhodes admonished his British
     compatriots to "wake up to the fact that you cannot live unless you have the trade of the world" and
     "deal with these questions of expansion and retention of the world" (Arendt, 1951: 12). By
     contrast, postwar American leaders proudly noted the absence of territorial expansion from their
     global initiatives, instead invoking the benevolent goal of development.
     9. With aggression contained and the instruments of progress at hand, it was assumed that
     democratic and effective political institutions would emerge in the inevitable transition from
     tradition to modernity. Later aid programs, such as Kennedy's Alliance for Progress with Latin
     America, recognized that an entrenched agricultural oligarchy stood in the way of change, and
     fashioned policies (such as requiring land reform as a condition of receiving aid) to remove these
     10. This portrayal of novice development experts who would inevitably improve their ability to
     serve the people was made in the late 1980s, by which time nearly two million people had been
     displaced by hundreds of World Bank projects.
     11. The Audobon activist was interviewed by the author on May 24, 1994. Subcomandante Marcos
     was quoted in Ryan (1994: 46).
     12. See Rich (1994: 283-293) for a review.
     13. Of thirty-four typical organizations in this infrastructure for which I have been able to obtain
     detailed data, twenty-four were founded since 1985, and most of those since 1990.
     14. Geof Land of the Border Ecology Project, in correspondence with the author dated September
     12, 1994.
     15. The leaders of the energy complex were no strangers to hardball politics. Small electric
     cooperatives in Washington, for example, were issued notices by BPA in the mid-1970s advising
     them that it lacked sufficient power supplies to guarantee deliveries after 1983. They were
     simultaneously introduced to representatives of the Washington Public Power Supply System,
     which was recruiting utilities with public bonding authority in a campaign to finance construction

Worthington - Reconstructing the World

     of five nuclear power plants, and pressured into signing contracts which exchanged funding for
     future supplies (Goldrich, 1986: 204). In Oregon, a head of the state Office of Energy Planning was
     summarily relieved of his post in 1977 after producing forecasts for future energy consumption far
     below those of the energy complex, and much closer to what actually transpired (Worthington,


To top