Nanotechnologys Controversial Role for the South
Science, Technology and Society
Vol. 13, Num. 1
The authors here examined a decades worth of literature to determine the social benefits and challenges of nanotechnology, mostly with an eye toward its effects on the fortunes of developing countries and alleviating poverty there and elsewhere. They organize their argument around two positions, the instrumental position that see nanotechnology as providing the tools necessary to end poverty and solve social problems, and the contextual position that imagines profit-driven innovation, intellectual property rights& and social inequality as the inevitable result of nano advances that run along cultural lines, allowing the rich to get richer and keeping nano from actually benefitting the poor. While their general rule is to simply track the debate, final say is given to the argument that social stratification and inequality has ridden most every technological wave of the modern era, and so there is no reason to suspect a different outcome in nanotechnology.