WHY IS it that despite great developments in the field of science and technology (S&T), the majority of people still live in poverty?

The question was one of many posed by the research paper Prometheus Bound: the State of Science and Technology in the Philippines. The paper, which was also made into a short film produced jointly by the Advocates of Science and Technology for the People and the Science and Society Program of the College of Science in UP Diliman, aims to identify the reasons behind the stunted growth of S&T in the country, and gain knowledge on how we can develop S&T in our country in a way that will benefit the majority.

The paper also discusses the inaccessibility of S&T in the Philippines and how, despite immense progress in the field of S&T, its advances have failed to reach underdeveloped countries like ours.

To quote the authors of Prometheus Bound, “Daily, one sees and hears of new discoveries that typify the progress in humanity’s understanding of nature and society.

“Yet the pace at which these rapid changes occur obscure the fact that the immense newly released constructive forces of a new scientific technology are brought into a deeply divided world with uneven development.”

According to 2006 statistics compiled by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, despite numerous developments in agriculture and the like, there are still 854 million people across the world that are hungry, up from 852 million a year ago. Also, each year, more than 8 million people around the world die because they are too poor to stay alive.

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Because most of the “high technologies” are being used by big corporations for their profit and benefit, developing countries like ours are prevented from developing our S&T capability. Also, companies in the Philippines would rather bring in technology and products from abroad to the domestic market instead of cultivating S&T in our own country.

According to the paper, S&T can be used and fully developed for the benefit of the people “only if the more fundamental obstacles, mainly economic and political in nature, currently confronting the country are completely addressed.”

As the authors adequately put it, “S&T and the potential of the S&T community in the country are not being tapped and developed as a propelling force to push the country’s economic development.”

The “backwardness” of S&T in our country is hindering us from its benefits, which can significantly improve our quality of life. There is a need to push S&T forward, and who better do the pushing than us?

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