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Past Program

Jun 16 - Jun 23, 1999

Scientific Development and the Democratic Process

Session 368

Abstract

This session will consider the impact of the democratization process on science and the impact and role of science in a democratic society. Participants will begin the week by looking at ways in which democracy in a society can either enhance or impede the progress of science, and, conversely, ways in which scientific progress can affect the process of democratization. Is a population that is more scientifically and technically literate also more challenging of governing processes? Does science strengthen democracy by raising the standards of living, enlarging the middle class, and creating economic development? What role does science education play in democratic societies? Do cultures differ in their interest in and acceptance of scientific information?

 

A second set of questions to be deliberated by the participants revolves around the manner in which scientific priorities are set nationally and globally. How does a democratic society determine its scientific priorities and what role does public policy play in this process? How does public spending reflect these priorities? What influence do lobbyist groups and legal challenges have on this process? Drawing lessons from the past and with a view to the future, session participants will examine the relationship between science and development and seek to identify ways in which science can be used to optimize the process of democratization and enhance economic development.