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Totalitarian science and technology Paperback – Import, January 1, 1996

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Paperback, Import, January 1, 1996


Product Details

  • Series: Control of Nature S.
  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Humanities Press; 1st ed edition (January 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0391039806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0391039803
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #14,194,838 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on August 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
An interesting overview of the practice of science and engineering in totalitarian societies. Using a fairly broad definition of totalitarian societies, Josephson discusses scientific and engineering practice in a number of dictatioral societies, including the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and North Korea. There are also discussions of some other societies that pursued significant state directed scientific programs such as China and Argentina, or technological development programs in the Phillipines. The largely implicit, and sometimes explicit, comparison is with pluralistic liberal states like the USA. Much of this book is a series of concise case studies of the ways in which totalitarian/authoritarian states depart from the best ways of promoting scientific and technological practice. Central direction of scientific and technological objectives, subordination of science to ideological imperatives, diminished autonomy of scientists, pursuit of native scientific and technological achievements as prestige and legitimacy boosters for these regimes, and an emphasis on enormous projects aimed at transforming the world to achieve utopian goals arre recurrent features of scientific/technological administration in these states. Some of these episodes, such as the devaastating impact of Stalin's endorsement of Lysenkoism on Soviet biology, are well known. Others, such as North Korea's efforts to develop a native synthetic fiber industry or Argentina's nuclear program are less well known. Josephson points out also that such societies can achieve real areas of scientific and technological excellence by focusing resources and developing islands of relative freedom. The considerable success of Soviet physics and mathematics is an example.Read more ›
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