This course provides a comprehensive overview of the policy issues related to the support, use, management, and regulation of science and technology. It addresses domestic as well as international issues, is concerned with governmental policies as well as non-governmental decisions, and it is focused on both the economics and politics of science and technology issues.
In today’s world, scientific discoveries and technological innovations influence almost every aspect of human existence. Many changes induced by these innovations have been extremely positive, bringing advances in health, communications, material wealth, and quality of life. At the same time, science and Technology have helped create apparently intractable problems, including new risks to human health, pollution of the natural environment, and the existence of weapons capable of mass destruction. Given all these impacts, making effective and fair choices regarding technologically complex issues is one of the most challenging tasks of modern governance.
Especially demanding is policy-making for international economic competition, which is increasingly defined in terms of technological competence. The diffusion of centers of technological excellence around the world and the progressive convergence of local markets in terms of consumer tastes and preferences have obliged actors to adopt a more global outlook: not only do firms compete internationally, but they also depend on each other’s technological, organizational, financial, and marketing strengths to stay afloat. In this course we examine a number of important characteristics of the new international context that are currently related to the technological competence of firms and nations.