By John Street (auth.)
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The 'best' must not be measured subjectively; it cannot be merely a matter of whim. There has to be some standard of Political Change and Technical Change 27 comparison, some way of evaluating two or more possible solutions. This is vital for public, political decisions. When we are dealing with a large, complex society, and when the solutions require the commitment of large public funds, a government has to be able to identify its chosen course of action as the best available. Otherwise its decisions will appear arbitrary or irrational.
The first consequence of the increasing division of labour is the need for central coordination. Without some mechanism for collating information and for ensuring the compatibility of components, the division of labour will collapse into chaos. But coordination at the centre is not the only problem posed by the development of technology. Given that this development depends on the application of scientific research, such research has itself to be funded and organised. The responsibility for this is unlikely to fall on the manufacturers because with the increasing division of labour the knowledge being applied becomes ever more abstract, and its particular usefulness more uncertain.
The state has to respond in particular ways, as if it were being prompted by technology. The first consequence of the increasing division of labour is the need for central coordination. Without some mechanism for collating information and for ensuring the compatibility of components, the division of labour will collapse into chaos. But coordination at the centre is not the only problem posed by the development of technology. Given that this development depends on the application of scientific research, such research has itself to be funded and organised.
Politics and Technology by John Street (auth.)