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Policy Sciences 25: 295-331, 1992.

9 1992 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.

Science and social responsibility*

R O N A L D D. B R U N N E R 1 & WILLIAM A S C H E R 2
1Center for Public Policy Research, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, U.S.A.;

2Sanford Institute of Public Policy, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, U.S.A.

Abstract. Science in the aggregate has not lived up to its promise to work for the benefit of

society as a whole. This problem stems from the narrow perspectives that basic and applied
researchers typically take to their work. Among the barriers to broadening those perspectives,
the most tractable is the myth that the overriding purpose of science in human affairs is prediction; that such predictions are prerequisites for major policy decisions; and that scientific inputs
to these decisions are objective and value-free. This article challenges the myth from three
standpoints - epistemology, the historical context, and contemporary case studies - as a step
toward improving the responsibility and accountability of science to society.

Consider an important but little-noted paradox: On the one hand, science has
flourished over recent decades. Between 1961 and 1988, national research
and development expenditures of the five major industrial powers more than
tripled in constant dollars. 1 In the United States, federal funding for basic and
applied research (excluding development) increased from about S 8 billion in
1960 to $21 billion in 1990. 2 Total spending for reseach and development,
public and private, reached S152 billion in 1991, or about 2.7% of gross
national product (National Science Board, 1991:89). On the other hand, over
the same time period, standards of income, education, housing, health care,
protection from time, and family integrity have been declining in the lower
class and increasingly the middle class in the United States. Moreover, 'If we
look at the world as a whole, it is not at all clear that advances in science and
technology have translated into sustainable advances in quality of life for the
majority of the human race' (Brown, 1992).
This is a paradox for all who share the expectation that 'Research provides
extraordinary benefits to society through the creation of new knowledge and
the training of scientists and engineers' (OTA, 1991: 3). Such expectations are
based in part on a social contract worked out between representatives of the
public and publicly-supported researchers in the United States after World
War II.

* A n earlier version of this paper was presented at the Symposium on 'New Paradigms for
Managing Post-Industrial Societies' at the meetings of the International Society for the Systems
Sciences, Denver, Colorado, July 14, 1992.

This social contact implied that in return for the privilege of receiving
Federal support, the researcher was obligated to produce and share knowledge freely to benefit - in mostly unspecified and long-term ways - the
public good. (OTA, 1991: 4)
Such expectations are reinforced if not inflated when specific proposals to
invest in science or science-based technology are justified by some conception of the public good. For example, the public has been led to expect nuclear power too cheap to meter, the winning weapon in the cold war, a cure
for cancer? Failure to meet such expectations fosters the suspicion that public
justifications for additional investments are means of exploiting the public on
behalf of special scientific interests.
The problem is that science in the aggregate has not lived up to its promise
to work for the benefit of society as a whole. This is not to deny the achievements or the potential of science to improve the human condition, as manifest
in the quality of life already enjoyed by many in modern societies. Nor is this
to say that science is solely responsible for social and policy outcomes that
are also shaped by public officials, among many others. But is appropriate to
hold science responsible for the public expectations that science creates, and
much depends upon it: Over the long term, continued support for science will
be jeopardized to the extent that science serves scientists and their political
allies at the expense of the general public. More importantly, the sustainability
and progressive evolution of m o d e m society may depend upon better scientific insights into the complex policy problems of our time.
Possible improvements in the social responsibility of science depend upon
diagnoses of the problem. We believe the problem is a symptom of the narrow
perspectives that basic and applied researchers in the physical, natural, and
social sciences typically bring to their work. Scientists tend to become preoccupied with increasingly specialized research problems and with small circles of sponsors, colleagues, and rivals. However, what appears to be reasonable, perhaps necessary, to fund, conduct, and publish the research, and to
sustain research programs, may be unreasonable if the broader social consequences of the research are taken into account. The broader social consequences of scientific research are seldom taken into account, however, even
though many scientists are quite sincerely concerned about them.
One barrier to broadening perspectives is a positivist myth about the role
of science in society. 4 Those who accept and use this myth, wittingly or unwittingly, tend to presume that:
1. The overriding purpose of science is prediction with precision, scope,
and accuracy, including prediction of the consequences of policy alternatives.
2. Such science-based predictions are prerequisites to major policy decisions intended to ameliorate or solve the problems of society.
3. Scientists are different from others who participate in these decisions
because their scientific input is objective and value-free.

The myth arose from spectacular achievements in the mastery of nature
through science-based technology, but has been generalized to problems of
society that are much less technical and much more complex: People have
asked, for example, if we can put a man on the Moon, why can't we solve the
problems of the ghetto? The effect of the myth is not only to justify new
investments in science and science-based technology, but also to obscure the
actual consequences of those investments in over-generalized faith that the
public will benefit. 5
Another barrier to broadening perspectives is the lack of institutions
designed to bring the actual social consequences of science to the attention of
scientists and the public. For example, the National Science Board (1991)
publishes indicators of the state of science and engineering, but not indicators
of the state of society as affected by science and engineering. Similarly, under
the professional norms of the scientific disciplines, individual scientists are
evaluated according to the number of publications, citations, and other indicators of their contributions to science, but not according to their contributions to society.
Perhaps the most fundamental barrier to broadening perspectives is the
increasing specialization of expertise, a structural characteristic of modern
society affecting science as well as other professions.6 Typically, as people
acquire enough professional expertise to raise questions of social responsibility, they also acquire a professional interest in suppressing those questions.
The public and the elected representatives of the public typically lack the
expertise necessary to pursue such questions; hence there is little they can do
in the absence of disagreements among the relevant experts. Margot O'Toole,
the famous scientific whistleblower, recently observed that, 'all professions
are conspiracies against the laity' (Anon., 1992). Much will depend on the
exceptional professionals who are motivated and able to serve the public
good through their professional activities.
The purpose of this paper is to challenge the pervasive myth about the role
of science with respect to the complex policy problems of society, as a first
step toward improving the social responsibility of science. The myth is a matter of perspective and therefore more tractable than the second and the third
barriers, which are institutional and structural, respectively. Furthermore, any
improvements in the social responsibility of science, like any reform, will arise
from challenges to conventional perspectives and the circulation of alternative perspectives. The perspective taken here is that of the policy sciences, an
approach to theory and practice that was crystallized by Harold D. Lasswell
about a half century ago.7 The successful diffusion of more realistic and
worthwhile perspectives on science in society will provide the basis for surmounting the other barriers.
The main sections of this paper critique the pervasive myth from three different standpoints. The first is epistemological, emphasizing what science can
and cannot know about society and its complex policy problems. The second
is extensive, reviewing science in political and social context in the modern

era. The third is intensive, focusing on contemporary cases involving science
and science-based technology in different policy processes. The conclusion
suggests what those who are concerned about the social responsibility of
science might do, individually and collectively, to become more responsible
to science and to society.

1. Epistemology
The positivist myth about the role of science in society can be challenged by
making a distinction between objects in nature and living forms. So far as we
know, the 'behavior' of planets in orbit, falling apples, or swinging pendulums
is determined by external forces. In contrast, the behavior of living organisms
is selective according to predispositions, instinctive or acquired, that modify
and differentiate responses to the external environment. This distinction has a
bearing on the limits and the potential of science with respect to the complex
policy problems of society, in which people are both the primary actors and
the primary objects of concern.

Logical and empirical foundations

In the policy sciences, the selective characteristic of behavior is described by
the maximization postulate. The postulate
... holds that living forms are predisposed to complete acts in ways that are
perceived to leave the actor better off than if he had completed them differently. The postulate draws attention to the actor's own perception of the
alternative act completions open to him in a given situation. 8
The maximization postulate is in fact a postulate, a logical point of departure
for empirical inquiry, rather than a testable theory. 9 The postulate directs
attention to observations of acts, and is used to infer the predispositions in
terms of which the acts 'made sense' to the actor in question. What those predispositions may be in any situation is a matter of empirical inquiry, not a
priori stipulation. Such observations and inferences are the basis for constructing specific theories of how the actor might act and interact with others
in various situations, as well as more general theories of political and social
The most fundamental empirical proposition consistent with the maximization postulate is that a significant difference exists between 'the world outside and the pictures in our heads. '1~ We act on the pictures in our heads, but
the consequences of those acts in the world outside may turn out to be quite
different from the consequences that were expected or preferred when action
was taken. Differences between intended and actual consequences indicate

that people are boundedly, rather than objectively, rational. The principle of
bounded rationality holds that
The capacity of the human mind for formulating and solving complex
problems is very small compared with the size of the problems whose solution is required for objectively rational behavior in the real world - or even
for a reasonable approximation to such objective rationality. (Simon, 1957:
In other words, no mortal or machine has the God-like omniscience that
would be necessary to specify all the alternatives relevant to a complex problem, all the consequences of those alternatives, and all the preferences for
evaluating those consequences - and then to integrate all these considerations into a decision that is objectively rational. Even a problem as welldefined and well-bounded as winning a chess game defies a complete solution
in practice. Without significant differences between 'the world outside and the
picture in our heads,' there would be no need for theorizing (scientific or
otherwise) to improve the rationality of decisions) 1
Moreover, without differences among the pictures in our heads (and the
possibility of changing them), there would be no practical need for politics in
the narrow sense - that is to say, propaganda and other promotional activities
to coordinate perspectives and behavior on behalf of collective interests. The
partial reconciliation of differences is necessary for sustainability at various
scales of organization. A society must reconcile differences among the specialized groups that arise in response to unmet needs or opportunities in the
division of labor. A group must reconcile the differences among its members;
such differences exist because socialization into the distinctive preferences
and expectations of any group (family, interest, class, or cultural) is incomplete. A personality must reconcile the differences among the groups identified with the primary self; such differences exist because of the primary self
identifies with many groups through the normal process of socialization. For
example, a scientist loyal to science may insist on truth and openness in the
lab, but also tolerate exaggeration as a politician lobbying on behalf of the lab,
and withhold scientific information as a stockholder concerned about patents
or as a patriot concerned about national security.

If it is true that everyone's perspective falls short of God-like omniscience in
ways that are not entirely shared, then every interaction is a matter of trial and
error in some degree. One cannot be certain about the payoffs, even if one has
strong expectations and preferences based on previous experience. Hence the
dynamics of behavior are evolutionary.
The relatively successful trials, which leave people satisfied that they are

better off, tend to be reinforced. This is most apparent in the routines we
develop to cope with the mundane chores of daily life, like getting to the
office or the lab each workday. More importantly, reinforcement over a period of time may stabilize patterns of perspective and behavior as practices
that are characteristic of a personality or of a group. For example, every group
tends to evolve procedural and substantive norms that are expected to be
observed if not enforced among its members; and every personality tends to
develop a general propensity (weak or strong) to conform to such norms.
Stabilizing a practice is economical with respect to time and attention, in
addition to any other payoffs that may sustain it. For example, socialization
into a general consensus on the fundamental aims, methods, and exemplars of
science - approximately what Kuhn (1970) called a paradigm - allows scientists to take the consensus for granted. This frees up time and attention for
specific issues of normal science, and facilitates resolution of those issues so
long as everyone attempts to justify their particular positions through appeals
to the general consensus.
On the other hand, the relatively unsuccessful trials leave people dissatisfied and therefore predisposed to search for better alternatives. For example,
sheer boredom, construction, or a transit strike may make the normal route to
the lab unsatisfactory and motivate the search for an alternative route. Similarly, competition, a scientific breakthrough, or the cumulation of anomalous
results may disrupt the routine of normal science in the lab and precipitate a
crisis. A crisis is a sign that practices are maladapted to circumstances; how it
is resolved depends, in general, on the flexibility of the circumstances, the
practices, or both. For example, a crisis of anomalous results may be resolved
by modifications in the experiment or by modification of the paradigm under
which the results were interpreted. Otherwise, if there is little flexibility, the
stage is set for a revolutionary crisis in which consensus on the paradigm is no
longer taken for granted and eventually breaks down. Resolution comes with
the displacement of one paradigm (and those who espoused it) by another.
The history of science, politics, religion, and other fields of human endeavor can be summarized as the transition from one fundamental consensus to
the next. 12 Specific claims of scientific truth, like claims of political or divine
authority, are contingent upon a fundamental consensus that is constructed
by people and subject to change by people. The fundamental consensus, in
turn, is necessary to adjudicate competing claims. For this purpose, it must be
so generalized that it is accepted primarily as a matter of faith, not reason.
'The modern positivist is a man of faith as much as the medieval mystic'
according to the historian White (1971: 95). These fundamentals of social
process were summed up rather well by the anthropologist Sapir (1934: 495):
'Thus individual and society, in a never ending interplay of symbolic gestures,
build up the pyramidal structure called civilization. In this structure, very few
bricks touch the ground.'
Three points are worth emphasizing in the evolutionary dynamics that follow from the basic empirical proposition that everyone's perspective falls

short of omniscience in somewhat idiosyncratic ways. First, human behavior
is not completely determined by the forces of nature nor perfectly regulated
by the norms we construct, observe, and modify as individuals and in groups.
Second, other things being equal, the range of significant choice increases
with crisis, which weakens faith in the old practices and strengthens receptivity to the new. Third, during crisis, leadership by the few can make the most
difference, for better or for worse, by reshaping the perspectives and behavior
of the many. Advice from scientists and other experts can be most influential
under these circumstances.

Bounded rationality and the evolutionary dynamics of individual and collective behavior are bases for challenging the presumptions of the positivist myth
about science in society. On these bases, we contend that there are intrinsic
limits on the predictability of human behavior; that science is not necessary
for major policy decisions; and that scientists cannot be entirely objective in
the decision process.
Faith that science can predict human behavior with precision, scope, and
accuracy stems from a false analogy. That fact that scientists can predict the
orbit of a planet, the statistical properties of a cloud of gas, or the 'behavior' of
other objects in nature, does not mean that we can predict the behavior of
human beings with comparable results. The latter have internal points of view
that mediate and differentiate their responses to the environment; the former
do not. The occasional accurate prediction of human behavior can be attributed to the regularities in behavior that people create for themselves, individually or collectively. However, these regularities are contingent upon certain predispositions and factors in the environment. Hence the accuracy of
predictions can be expected to decay as a function of the time: The longer the
time horizon, the more things can and probably will happen to modify the
predispositions and environmental factors that sustain behavioral regularities.
In fact, the record shows that the strongest correlate of the accuracy of policyrelevant forecasts is the time horizon of the forecast: The longer the time horizon, the less accurate the forecast (Ascher, 1978). The record also shows no
aggregate improvement in the accuracy of policy-relevant forecasts since the
early 1950s, which predates the widespread use of computers to build complex forecasting models. There are intrinsic limits on the ability of science to
predict human behavior. 13
Faith that science is a prerequisite for major policy decisions is similarly
misplaced. The fact that scientists and engineers needed Newton's laws of
motion to land a man on the moon does not mean that we must wait for functionally-equivalent laws to make reasonable policy decisions on behalf of all
other goals. James Watt did not wait for the laws of therrnodynamics before
improving the steam engine as a means of pumping water from mines; yet a

long series of experiments with heat engines, among other things, subsequently helped scientists crystallize the second law of thermodynamics
which has been useful in improving many devices. The barons who forced
King John to sign Magna Carta in 1215 did not wait for an empirical theory
of democracy before exercising their feudal right of defiance; yet their act
contributed significantly to the theory and practice of democracy, which is
still evolving through trial and error. The historian Lynn White Jr. (1971: 163)
cautions that it is not historically justified 'to assume a hierarchy of values
which puts practical achievements lower than theoretical....' Practical
achievements do not necessarily depend upon a deep or comprehensive theoretical understanding of the underlying principles involved. 14
Scientific principles are nevertheless useful, if available, as one input to reasonable policy decisions. For example, Keynes (1965) understood that cycles
of unemployment were not merely frictions in the smooth adjustment of a
market economy. This creative insight provided a scientific basis for significant improvements in fiscal policy decisions to reduce the unemployment of
economic resources. But predicting the consequences of such decisions for
employment is complicated by uncertainties about the diverse perspectives of
the millions who will respond directly or indirectly to the decisions. Such
decisions are further complicated by other policy goals, including currency
stability and deficit reduction, that are also affected in ways that are not entirely predictable. Such decisions are still further complicated by the continuing evolution of the economy, which means that both the context and the consequences of action may differ significantly from one fiscal policy decision to
the next. Finally, the different perspectives on what can and should be done in
any given fiscal policy context need to be reconciled through politics. For
these reasons, there is no single or optimal scientific solution to a complex
policy problem, although some solutions will be better than others.
Finally, faith in the objectivity of scientists in decision processes is partially
misplaced. The fact that most scientists strive to be objective in their research
(because the results are expected to be replicable, if for no other reason) does
not mean that they can be entirely objective, especially in applied research on
complex policy problems. Scientists, like everyone else, are less than omniscient but nevertheless make choices among the perceived alternatives according to their own expectations and value preferences. Hence their choices cannot be objectively rational with respect to the real situation, nor can their
choices be independent of their own limited points of view. As a study of risk
analysis concluded, 'objectivity should always be an aspiration, but can never
be an achievement of science. When public and experts disagree, it is a clash
between sets of differently informed opinions' (Fischhoff et al., 1984: 125).
Moreover, the expectations and preferences entailed in a choice of one alternative and another need not be scientific. They may reflect the scientist's
interest as lobbyist, shareholder, or citizen, for example, or simply the scienfist's personal interest in advancing a career. Scientists have interests that go
beyond science and scientific objectivity.

In summary, science has succeeded in clarifying underlying principles for
the mastery of nature, and science-based technology has succeeded in applying such principles to the solution of technical problems - those problems for
which the means are largely understood and the objectives are not in dispute.
However, faith arising from such successes is misplaced when generalized to
the complex policy problems of society. In particular, faith in the predictions,
the necessity, and the objectivity of science is misleading when the perspectives of human beings - and therefore uncertainties, ambiguities, and political
differences - are taken into account. Reducing complex policy problems to
mere technical or scientifc problems tends to enhance the political position of
scientists and to inflate public expectations about what science can do for
society. At the extreme, the positivist myth supports the idea that the behavior
of human beings, like inanimate objects, should be uniform, predictable, and
controllable under the impersonal laws of nature that scientists understand
better than anyone else.

2. S c i e n c e in context

The positivist myth can also be challenged by reconsidering me roles of science and scientists in the world revolution of our time and in the inner workings of contemporary political institutions. Analysis suggests that scientists
have been gaining political power at an increasing rate over the last century of
the modern era, and that the social purposes actually served by science in the
aggregate are far from neutral or objective or unquestionably benign. In short,
the social responsibility of science is a long-term structral problem that has
become more serious in the late modern era. The policy sciences, as Lasswell
conceived them, are a response to the problem and a direct challenge to the
main presumptions of the positivist myth.

The world revolution of our time

In the simples terms, a world revolution is the most significant change in the
composition and justifying myth of the ruling elite. Historically, world revolutions have been associated with an eruptive center. For example, the revolution in Paris, 1789, marked the decline of the aristocracy and the rise of the
bourgeoisie who justified their ascendancy in terms of human dignity for all.
Similarly, the revolution in Moscow, 1917, marked the ascendancy of the
Communist elite who, in the name of the working class and on behalf of universal socialism, liquidated the ancient landed and growing business classes.
Each revolution reshaped world politics as its distinctive myth and techniques
diffused from the eruptive center, but neither realized its aspirations to unify
the world in a single political order.
In 1935, when the threat of monolithic world Communism was still taken

seriously in the West, Lasswell anticipated that the Soviet model would be differentiated into various models as it spread from Moscow, and that world
unity under Communist rule was highly improbable (Lasswell, 1965a: v).
Parochial identifications with nations, classes, and other groups in world
politics were still too strong, and were likely to be reinforced through the selfreference effect: The Soviet model would stimulate non-Russian, non-proletariat, and other counter-identifications around the world, just as the French
Revolution had stimulated the rise of nationalism in Europe. Thus, while
some groups would accept the Soviet model as advantageous from their parochial perspectives, others would adapt it selectively according to their particular interests, and still others would resist it altogether as a threat. If monolithic
world Communism directed from Moscow was highly improbable, what
might be the next world revolution?
Lasswell considered the possibility that the major powers in the world
arena, subject alike to modern material conditions, might move toward
internal homogeneity. 'If so, the pattern of homogeneity is the true world
revolution of our time' (Lasswell, 1965a: v). He concluded the main possibility was
... the probable shift of the dialectic of [world] development from the class
struggle to the skill struggle. Centralized and collectivized states, or semisocialized states would be dominated by the rival power demands of
specialists upon the management of violence, propaganda, goods, and services. Intellectuals would appear in every coalition and make articulate the
sub-myth of every ally (Lasswell, 1965a: vi).
In other words, Lasswell foresaw movement toward a skill revolution, which
was not associated with any specific eruptive center but was characteristic of
the modern epoch generally. A skill group is defined by the exercise of any
distinctive operation that can be learned or taught, such as the manipulation
of symbols (censorship and propaganda), goods and services, or violence.
The middle-income class would become more fragmented into different skill
groups, and the differences among skill groups would become more significant for politics than their similarities with respect to income.
Over the next three decades, Lasswell introduced several other developmental constructs as specialized versions of the skill revolution: The garrison
state construct, the unnamed revolution, and the unspeakable revolution,
which we shall consider in t u r n . 15 A developmental construct is a tentative
interpretation of the transition from the last world revolution to the next. It is
not a prediction but a guide to the selection and timing of policy research,
basic and applied, in the broadest context.
The garrison state construct was introduced in 1937, amidst the SinoJapanese crisis and other crises of insecurity that led to world war (Lasswell,
1937). A discussion four years later considered more fully

the possibility that we are moving toward a world of 'garisson states' - a
world in which the specialists on violence are the most powerful group in
society. From this point of view the trend of our time is away from the specialist on bargaining, who is the businessman, and toward the supremacy of
the soldier (Lasswell, 1941: 455.).
The supremacy of the soldier would be driven primarily by the expectation of
violence at home and abroad. When people expect that differences will be
resolved by violence, they tend to subordinate all other concerns to fighting
effectiveness and defer to the relevant experts, the policy and the miltary.
Persistent crises of insecurity could eventually consolidate their power into
garrison-police states. The construct allowed for transitional a n d mixed
forms, in which major decisions were made by or shared with other specialists, such as party propagandists and the organization men of the party. What
was new was not a military state dominanted by traditional officers, but the
possibility of 'a military state combined with modem technology' (Lasswell,
1941: 457) in which the military men would acquire the skills of modern civilian management. Two decades later, Lasswell (1962: 67) wrote that 'the
garrison hypothesis [still] provides a probable image of the past and future of
our epoch,'
The unnamed revolution was introduced in 1965 (Lasswell, 1965b: 80-94).
Alternatively described as 'the permanent revolution of modernizing intellectuals,' it was called the unnamed revolution to emphasize its tentative character and perhaps to underscore the fact that intellectuals themselves were
not fully conscious of a distinct identity. In this construct,
The major transformation is the decline of the businessmen (and of earlier
social formations) and the rise of intellectuals and semi-intellectuals to
effective power. In comparatively nonindustrialized countries the principal
ideologies ... are chiefly 'national,' 'socialist,' pro-'modernization,' and pro'industrialization? In relatively advanced countries the principal ideology
accepts a permanent revolution of scientific and technological change
(Lasswell, 1965b: 85).
It was unclear whethe this revolution would be progressive from the standpoint of human dignity. But it was rather clear that 'The science-based technology of Western European civilization is moving toward universality' (Lasswell, 1970: 117).
Lasswell attributed the original formulation of this interpretation of history
to a Polish Marxist, Waclaw Machajski. Machajski scandalized some revolutionaries and inspired others in the years before the Bolsheviks seized power
in the name of the working class.
Machajski suggested that the most important development of our epoch is
the rise to power, not of the working class as a whole, but rather of the

intellectual worker, whose capital is his knowledge. Relying on the superiority of his knowledge, the intellectual wins the support of the manual
workers, whom he exploits mainly for his own benefit (Lasswell, 1965b:
Other images of the intellectuals (or symbol specialists) in political positions
include the philosopher-king of Plato, the Confucian scholar of China, the
bureaucrats of the modern state, and the scientists and engineers who have
achieved more prominence in Western European civilization than in previous
ones. The rise of the intellectuals would be driven by the increasing specialization and fragmentation of society. Under modern conditions, decision
makers need more assistance to evaluate the policy significance of specialized
knowledge; and each new specialization in the modern division of labor generates a subgroup of modernizing intellectuals to assist in that task. Moreover,
symbol specialists are increasingly needed to justify group demands to the
broader society as society becomes increasingly fragmented? 6
The unspeakable revolution was also introduced in 1965, although some of
the basic ideas appeared in prim as early as 1956.17 This construct was suggested by a disturbing precedent, the racist ideology of Nazi Germany, which
restricted the doctrine of universal human rights to ~kryans? The concern was
that intelligent but non-human forms - functional equivalents of races in
human history - might be created or encountered through the technology of
the most scientifically-advanced powers. What are the possible forms of
Among the relevant factors to be assessed is the future of computers ....
The question is whether they will be constructed in ways that prevent them
from constituting a superior caste that relegates man to a subordinate role.
In a world of contingency it is inappropriate to overlook the future of biological research and the development of new and possibly superior species
of life ....
We are on the verge of astropolitics, and we perceive even now that the
elites of the Earth may encounter higher forms of fife in space (Lasswell,
1965b: 95).
Before these possibilities are dismissed as science fiction, recall that superpower rivalries led to the landing of men on the Moon two decades ago and
that a 10-year, S 100 million Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is
underway (Kerr, 1992); that D N A from one species is routinely spliced into
others as work proceeds on mapping the human genome (Kevles and Hood,
1992); and that attempts to mimic the more sophisticated capabilities of the
human mind include Japan's Real-World Computing Program, successor to
the Fifth Generation project, and the U.S. High Performance Computing and

Communication project (Pollack, 1992). The issue is not whether humans will
create or encounter transhumanity, but whether we should consider the possibility.
Contact with transhumanity could subordinate the political divisions of
human history to political divisions among intelligent beings of different
forms (including humans). This would mark the reemergence of racism - or
the emergence of racism in a new form - as the basis of world or astro politics. It would also open up new policy questions. For example, should the
United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights be extended to intelligent but non-human forms? 'The unspeakable revolution' is a label intended
to suggest 'the disturbing consequences that follow if man's knowledge continues to be poorly translated into policies that harmonize with his professed
aspirations' (Lasswell, 1965b: 96). For present purposes, it is also a vivid and
shocking image of how serious the problem of social responsibility could
become under a de facto 'policy' of blind faith in science and technology.

Political institutions
To understand science in the inner workings of contemporary political institutions, it is worthwhile to recall how modern science-based technology
spawns increasing numbers of specialized skill groups that combine and compete for political power. The basic process has been well-understood for at
least a half century:
Thousands of technical operations have sprung into existence where a fdw
hundred were found before. To complicate the material environment in
this way is to multiply the foci of attention of those who live in our society.
Diversified loci of attention breed differences in outlook, preference, and
loyalty. The labyrinth of specialized 'material' environments generates profound ideological divergences that cannot be abolished, though they can be
mitigated, by the methods now available to leaders in our society (Lasswell,
1941: 458).
For example, science-based technology transformed traditional agriculture
into many specialized occupations and, at the same time, oPened up many
new occupations in manufacturing and services for displaced agricultural
workers. Modernization continues to uproot millions but seldom nurtures
social and cultural roots as strong as those of tradition. This contributes to
alienation, a relatively recent phenomenon in human history, and to permanently-high levels of tension and discontent withfia the general public.
Modernization thus leaves intellectuals in a position to exploit public tensions and discontents in order to defend or advance the interests of more and
more specializations. Meanwhile, the knowledge critical to modern society
becomes more specialized and less widely shared. Hence non-specialists are

increasingly disadvantaged because they lack the requisite knowledge of more
and more specializations - even when they depend on that knowledge and
insist on its socially-responsible use. Specialists can more readily exploit their
knowledge to gain political power or anything else they value for themselves
or others.
The result is the widespread expectation that 'knowledge pays' (Lasswell,
1970: 119), whatever the value frame of reference, and everyone who shares
the expectation adapts accordingly. On the demand side, decision makers
tend to support research and education on the expectation that knowledge is
instrumental to national defense, economic competitiveness, public health, or
merely to political advantage on policy issues. Political advantage was a significant motivation in the diffusion of knowledge and skills in policy analysis
from the Department of Defense in the early 1960s to other federal agencies,
the Congress, and eventually to the states and localities. TM By the mid-1980s,
as the former director of the Congressional Budget Office observed,
the principal decision-makers at the top of the federal government no
longer go to meetings unarmed. Assistant secretaries never show up just to
state their views. They bring a study, perhaps several, to support their positions. And on the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate, the
same is true. No debate on any serious issue.., takes place without somebody citing a public policy study (Rivlin, 1984: 18-19).
President Bush (1992: 1349) put the point in an international context when
he affirmed his support for the Superconducting SuperCollider: ' an age
when knowledge is king, we want America to wear the crown,'
On the supply side, research and educational institutions expand to meet
the demand for specialized knowledge and specialists, and in the process
recruit a larger proportion of people who share the expectation of the conventionai culture that knowledge is instrumental to other values.
Those who, in effect, 'have skill, will move' make themselves understood
and available to the demand of decisions makers at every level. These are
the mid-elite and rank and file of science and scholarship. From them are
recruited the thousands who cement the interdependence of science and
the established structures of society (Lasswell, 1970: 118).
There are exceptions, however: A relatively small and highly-respected scientific elite comprised of those who 'are oriented toward knowledge as an end in
itself, or as an end that ought to be employed for the benefit of the whole
nation of man rather than its parochial subdivisions' (Lasswell, 1970: 118).
Despite the exceptions, science in the aggregate reflects and reinforces the
established structures of society. Contemporary observers seldom point out
the obvious, as Lasswell did in 1970:


... the aggregate impact of the scientific revolution has failed to revolutionize
the basic structure of world politics .... This divided and militant structure ... preceded the era of science, and has succeeded thus far in subordinating the institutions of knowledge to its perpetuation ....
[Moreover] knowledge is more commonly used for the relative benefit
of the few than for the benefit of all. This is most obvious in the contrast
between the suburban ghettos of the prosperous and the poverty-stricken
ghettos of rural and urban slums (Lasswell, 1970: 117; emphasis in the
However objective the conduct of scientific research might be, the aggregate
consequences are value-laden. These consequences are contrary to Enlightenment aspirations and commencement-day affirmations that science
and scholarship are universal, transcending the many divisions among human
beings to work for the benefit of all.
The rise of science in the established political structures of the modern
epoch does not leave science invulnerable. On the contrary, 'science has
grown strong enough to acquire visibility, and therefore to become eligible as
a potential scapegoat for whatever disenchantment there may be with the
earlier promises of a science-based technology' (Lasswell, 1970: 119): Consider, for example, promise and reality with respect to political power:
If the earlier promise was that knowledge would make men free, the contemporary reality seems to be that more men are manipulated without their
consent for more purposes by more techniques by fewer men than at any
time in history.19
Note in this connection how electoral campaigns have been transformed by
the science and technology of public opinion (including polls, computers, and
television) now at the disposal of candidates, their campaign managers, and
especially expert consultants (Yankelovich, 1991). Such differences between
promise and reality cannot be ignored indefinitely. This history of the worldrevolutionary process suggests the possible collapse of yet another discredited system of militancy and oligarchy, but with scientists and allied specialists
among the targets of 'massive seizures of disruptive rage at the humiliations
imposed on human dignity.." (Lasswell, 1970: 119).
Of course Lasswell was not alone in recognizing the importance of sciencebased technology in modernization, and the complicated position of science
in modern politics. In his 1961 farewell address, President Eisenhower
warned that 'we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence,
whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex' - which he
attributed to the 'technological revolution of recent decades' (Eisenhower,
1961: 1038). He also urged that 'in holding scientific research and discovery
in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite

danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite' (p. 1039).
More recently, President Vaclav Havel of Czechoslovakia observed that the
fall of Communism marks the end of the modern era.
Communism was the perverse extreme of [the modern attitude]. It was an
attempt, on the basis of a few propositions masquerading as the only scientific truth, to organize all of life according to a single model, and to subject
it to central planning and control regardless of whether or not that was
what life wanted (Havel, 1992).
Among the many threats to civilization, according to Havel, are the widening
gap between the rich and poor nations, nuclear terrorism and regional wars,
and the ozone hole, the greenhouse effect, and the depletion of the biosphere.
We cannot cope with such threats, he argues, within the modern attitude that
subjects everything to objective explanation and control according to the
scientific truth. 'Man's attitude to the world must be radically changed' (Havel,
Still more recently, George Brown Jr., the Chairman of the Committee on
Science, Space, and Technology in the U.S. House of Representatives, suggested that our problems are more human and cultural than technological: We
already have the knowledge and many of the technologies necessary to reduce
human suffering throughout the world, but we have failed to implement them.
In this context,
our faith in the power of science, and the knowledge and technology that it
creates, may be an explicit roadblock to social action. The very benefits
that science promises to deliver may be withheld from us because it is
easier - politically, economically, socially, scientifically - to support more
research than it is to change ourselves. The promise of science - a miracle
cure - serves the politicians, who are looking for patent medicine to sell to
the public, and it serves scientists, who understandably seek to preserve
their special position in our culture. But it may not serve society as advertised (Brown, 1992).
Neither Brown, nor Havel, nor Eisenhower can be dismissed as anti-science.
Each believes that science and science-based technology can help improve
the human condition, even though blind faith in science and science-based
technology is not warranted when the broader social and political context is
taken into account.


The policy sciences

The policy sciences, as Lasswell conceived them, are an outgrowth of the skill
revolution and an effort to harmonize the aggregate impact of science with
the basic aspiration of human dignity for all, not just the privileged few.
If we are in the midst of a permanent revolution of modernizing intellectuals, the succeeding phase obviously depends in no small degree on
perfecting the policy sciences that aid in forestalling the unspeakable contingencies latent in tendencies already more than faintly discernable
(Lasswell, 1965b: 96).
The premise is that 'science and scientists in the aggregate need not serve
political power in the future as they have in the past' (Lasswell, 1965b: 77).
From a policy sciences perspective, the purpose of science in human affairs
is not prediction with precision, scope, and accuracy, a purpose which presumes a deterministic world with little or no latitude for choice. The purpose
of science in human affairs is freedom through insight. Insight brings unconscious and unperceived factors in the self and the environment into the focus
of conscious awareness, so that people are free to take them into account in
making choices. 'Insight is a potential base value for all value choices; this is
the fundamental significance of science for freedom' (Lasswell, 1965b: 77).
Notice that insight undermines forecast accuracy when people take previously unconscious or unperceived factors into account and modify their behavior
From a policy sciences perspective, science is not a prerequisite to policy
decisions. Science is a means of eliciting whatever potential for rationality
exists among all those who interact in a given decision context. The relevant
standard is not the ideal of objective rationality, but practical improvements in
rationality. Such improvements can be realized through scientific or nonscientific ways of thinking. Non-scientific ways of thinking clarify policy goals
and create new policy alternatives.
Scientific ways of thinking sum up past routines. When the interactions of
people are described, the description may be brought to the attention of
the individuals involved, who may modify their future conduct in order to
take advantage of added insight (Lasswell, 1965b: 77).
Insight is a potential consequence of action, not a prerequisite for action in a
boundedly-rational world. Moreover, in a non-positivist epistemology, insight
is not a trivial matter: 'Probably the act of perceiving new configurations is the
most formative act in the process of shaping human history.' Consequently, 'It
is probable that the study of attention frames will occupy the crucial position
in accounting for social development' (Lasswell, 1965b: 76).
Finally, from a policy sciences perspective, a commitment to be as objective

as possible in scientific inquiry does not make the scientist an objective participant in a policy process. The choices of a scientist, like everyone else who
participates in a policy process, are commitments to serve some values. It is
rational to make the most basic value commitments explicit to oneself, at
least, and to specify what they mean in particular circumstances.
A fundamental issue is whether the overriding aim of policy should be the
realization of the human dignity of the many, or the dignity of the few (and
the indignity of the many). If the goal is the former, decision outcomes
should aim at achieving equal opportunity for participation in power,
wealth, well-being, and all other valued outcomes .... In contrast, the goal
of dignity for the few, rather than the many, calls for the permanent ascendancy of some men (Lasswell, 1971: 41; emphasis in the original).
The goal of dignity for the few is partially specified in imperialist myths that
purport to justify the permanent ascendancy of one religion, class, race, or
other division of humanity over all others. The goal of universal human dignity is partially specified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

3. Contemporary


Contemporary cases in the application of science and science-based technology in different policy processes serve to challenge the positivist presumptions from a third perspective. The cases also serve to illustrate the continuing
relevance of the modernizing intellectuals construct and the growing problem
of social responsibility. The knowledge and skills essential to modern and
modernizing societies are becoming more significant relative to other bases of
power and less widely-shared. Hence those in command of such knowledge
and skills are increasingly in a position to serve special interests over common
interests and frustrate social responsibility.

International development

Development economists at the World Bank surely qualify as modernizing

intellectuals. Their influence in establishing the prevailing paradigms of economic development theory is difficult to exaggerate. The World Bank lends
over USS29 billion annually to developing countries, further magnified by
the large volume of co-financing along with other development agencies and
its leverage over policy choices made by governments trying to qualify for
attractive World Bank loans. It is clearly the world's most influential and visible international development organization. With huge resources to undertake and commission research and policy design on development issues, the
World Bank is the premier 'development think tank'; its annual World Devel-


opment Report is probably the single most visible statement of the state of the
art of development theory.
The World Bank is thus in a stronger position than any other institution to
legitimize or discredit development strategies and priorities. Therefore it is
especially problematic that several highly compelling development approaches have been dismissed by the World Bank for what seem clearly to be
bureaucratic and careerist motives. Despite the theoretical potential and compelling normative bases of these approaches, they were rejected as World
Bank strategies largely because of their professional, institutional, and careerist inconvenience, i.e., on the basis of considerations that are far removed
from defensible appraisal criteria. The tragedy is that this rejection led the
approaches to be discredited by nearly the entire development community.
The two most blatant cases have been the rejections of social rate-of-return
analysis (also called 'social benefit-cost analysis') and integrated rural development.
Social rate-of-return analysis. The methodologies of social rate-of-return
analysis were developed in the 1960s. They give greater weights (i.e., utility)
to benefits targeted to the poor than to the wealthy. They are defensible from
a rigorous welfare-economics perspective (although they do have their technical critics), inasmuch as the same economic benefit has a higher utility to a
poor person than a wealthy one (Squire and van der Tak, 1975; Ray, 1984).
As documented by Left (1985), the World Bank devoted considerable
effort to developing the techniques of social rate-of-return analysis and initiated the use of the technique as a standard part of the Bank's project evaluation process in the late 1970s. Several prototype applications of the methodology demonstrated its viability and the fact that significant differences do
arise in the advisability of alternative projects when social rate-of-return analysis is employed rather than the more conventional 'economic rate of return'
analysis that regards all monetized benefits as equivalent regardless of who
receives them; thus the results justify the extra work entailed. Yet the resistance to the technique, stated most vehemently by division-chief level managers within the World Bank, blocked its adoption as a required component of
project appraisal reports (Ascher, 1983). Since the analysis requires considerable analytic effort, and is not mandatory, it is hardly ever applied in the
World Bank's project evaluation (Little and Mirrlees, 1991: 360).
Why the rejection? The internal debate focused on whether the weighting
of utilities was arbitrary and judgmental; how much more valuable is a dollar
going to a poor person? The method's supporters responded that it is even
more arbitrary and judgmental to assign the same utility to a 'dollar's worth'
of benefit regardless of who receives it. The key point is that the arbitrariness
and judgmental nature of the assignment of weights in the social rate-ofreturn analysis is explicit, while the arbitrariness of the conventional approach is implicit.
The underlying objections were hardly theoretical. The first was that the

application of social rate-of-return analysis exposed the World Bank intellectuals to professional and career risks. This is consistent with the bulk of the
complaints registered in the flurry of internal memoranda in reaction to the
prototype applications of the methodology in the late 1970s, namely that the
data on income distribution and project impacts required for the social rateof-return approch were quite uncertain, thus requiring the analyst to assume
responsibility for apparently less rigorous analysis than was usual. The
response from the World Bank's leadership was that uncertain estimates were
better than ignoring the distributional issue altogether. Yet these assurances
were not sufficient to overcome the analysts' concerns that they would be held
accountable among their professional peers for poor estimates and 'loose analysis.' Moreover, it was quite clear that the extra time required to undertake
social rate-of-return analysis made the approach unpopular in a careerist context in which prompt, tight, unassailable analysis and controversy avoidance
are seen as the most secure way to rise to higher positions with the World
The second source of resistance to the social rate-of-return approach is a
broader opposition to explicit cost-benefit analysis in general. This is in some
ways very peculiar, because the technical image of the World Bank is based on
the presumption that decisionmaking is dominated by economic algorithms.
Yet the reality is quite different. Lyn Squire, the author of the World Bank's
most ambitious appraisal methodology, agrees:
To the successful this approach to implementation [of rigorous cost-benefit
analysis applied voluntarily by World Bank staff] requires two ingredients:
enough well-qualified analysts to conduct the appraisals and an environment that encourages such effort. The World Bank had the first but not the
second (Squire, 1991: 383).
What is missing from the environment? Little and Mirrlees, who also document the World Bank management's failure to get its own staff to adopt
moderately rigorous cost-benefit analysis for its projects, point out that
good project appraisal is done by people with their own incentives, within
organizations that wittingly or not set these incentives. Both environments
of project appraisal, the intellectual and the political-organizational, are
keys to the quality of selection overall. This needs to be most seriously considered by those who manage and create these environments (Little and
Mirrlees, 1991: 377).
Nathaniel Left (1985: 70-71) argues that the rejection of rigorous rate-ofreturn analysis on the part of World Bank analysts and decisionmakers is due
to their adherence to a different conception of how to choose development
projects, namely by first deciding on sectoral priorities and then choosing the
most cost-effective projects within those sectors. However, this cannot reflect

an objection in principle of the cost-benefit framework, since if a particular
sector deserves priority treatment, the rates of return of the best projects in
that sector will have correspondingly high rates of return if the analysis is
valid. Thus the a priori sectoral approach reveals a profound lack of trust in
the explicit cost-benefit methodologies. Many World Bank economists maintain only the appearance of using explicit rate of return methods.
Explaining this veneer of explicit methodology gets to the crux of the technocratic claim of certain varieties of modernizing intellectuals whose mandate rests on their technical expertise. In turn, the legitimacy of delegating
authoritative decisions to such experts on the basis of their technical expertise
presumes that their decisions are technical. 'Technical' means that procedures
as objective as possible are employed to meet criteria of merit pre-established
by policymakers. Where implicit judgments (including values) effectively displace these explicit procedures and criteria in delegated decisions, the experts
become unaccountable to policymakers - unless the latter can find the means
of making the implicit bases of delegated decisions explicit.
Therefore the subtle abandonment of social rate-of-return analysis, and
rigorous project evaluation in general, in an escape from responsibility and
accountability. An even harsher interpretation would cast the strategy of
maintaining the facade of rigorous, explicit analysis as a charade that gives the
World Bank staff significant discretion to impose their values under false

Integrated rural development. The idea of integrated rural development is

that the bottlenecks to sustained socio-economic development can only be
overcome if support for production is accompanied by coordinated inputs of
social services and infrastructure. The malnourished worker cannot be productive; the uneducated farmer cannot take advantage of productivity-enhancing agricultural technology; the bumper crop cannot be moved to market
without adequate roads. The implication of an integrated strategy to address
multiple bottlenecks simultaneously is that each targeted area requires intensive treatment. Single programs that provide a particular input across a wide
geographic area are unlikely to be effective, even if they are administratively
straightforward. Rondinelli (1979: 390) found that integrated rural development initiatives throughout the developing world were 'remarkably similar'
efforts to increase agricultural output and productivity, stimulate agri-business to diversify rural economies and provide employment, and increase the
poor's access to social services.
Toward the late 1970s the initiatives in integrated rural development became strongly discredited. The most objectionable aspect of the dismissal of
integrated rural development was the lack of systematic appraisal. By the time
a few large, central-government-run projects showed signs of very poor coordination (especially cases in administratively weak African countries, such as
the Lilongwe Land Development Project in Malawi and the Kenyan Agricultural Development Project), the conventional wisdom was established that

such projects were hopelessly unwieldy. In essence, the Bank managers and
staff allowed the initiative to be killed via the ridicule of a few notorious cases.
It is significant that other initiatives that fit more conveniently within the professionalist and careerist orientations of the World Bank leadership and staff
are not dismissed so cavalierly.
The attacks on integrated rural development, focusing largely on the inadequacies of a few projects in countries with severe bureaucratic rigidities,
were at once mocking and condescending. 'How could anyone have believed
that you can get five ministries to work together in a country like this!' These
ad hoc negative assessments were often applied to projects that others indeed
rated as moderately successful. Yet in the ambience of the World Bank,
defending a position that has been harshly criticized has long been a risky
undertaking in terms of credibility and standing.
During the period that saw the dismissal of the approach, the World Bank
did not engage in a systematic, thorough evaluation, i.e., an assessment of how
well integrated rural development projects were doing, a diagnosis of their
weaknesses, and an analysis of whether these weaknesses were surmountable.
Why were the systematic assessments delayed (primarily into the 1980s),
leaving them the function of 'justifying' rather than shaping the decision to
abandon integrated rural development?
The first possibility is that the dismissal of integrated rural development
was simply premature; the broad assessment that it was a problematic approach could only be substantiated later. But certainly more systematic evaluations could have been done earlier. Therefore a second possibility becomes
plausible: an earlier diagnosis could have revealed that the failure, in considerable degree, lay in the World Bank's own remediable approach of dealing
predominantly with central governments rather than sub-national units.
While it is easy to say that the coordination of multiple agencies and ministries engaging in top-down planning and top-down delivery of multiple development inputs is simply infeasible, this convenient dismissal of integrated
development projects ignores the fact that the responsibility should not rest
with centralized ministries in the first place. The integrated rural development
concept implies greater community involvement, in so far as the local community is the only practical locus for planning multiple inputs. In contrast to
the traditional pattern of funding single-input programs through the centralized ministries, leaving them to decide where the inputs (e.g., health, education, agricultural credit) will be targeted, the new strategy would have to
depend on the local communities to decide what mix of multiple inputs each
community would need (Ruttan, 1984). Montague Yudelman, the World
Bank's director for rural development and one of the few top-level Bank staff
to continue to express support for integrated rural development, argued in
1977 that:
The experience of the Bank with the range of projects in which it has participated has led to several conclusions. A major conclusion is that it is

possible to design projects that will assist large numbers of the rural poor
to expand production and increase their incomes; there are significant
qualifications, however... Another issue is that of local participation. In
practice, villagers are rarely consulted at either the initial stage of a rural
development project of during its implementation (Yudelman, 1977: 18).
Similarly, Venon Ruttan notes:
Some burden of responsibility for this failure has been due to the failure of
assistance agency personnel to understand the difference between decentralized administration and decentralized governance - between locating
the administrative offices of centre ministries at the provincial or district
level and the strengthening of the fiscal and administrative capacity of local
government (Ruttan, 1984: 395-397).
Yet we would challange whether this bias is simply a matter of 'failure to
understand.' It is institutionally inconvenient and perhaps professionally less
rewarding for international organization experts to work directly with local
communities or to plan projects that require control by local communities.
The reliance on working through central government betrays a seriously
flawed technocratic orientation toward centralization; confining its efforts
largely to interacting with central governments advances the Bank's institutional power and efficiency, since it can negotiate with national-level ministries and avoid having the planning function drawn down to subnational
levels. Individual staff can continue to deal with the more professionally and
career rewarding 'big issues.'
Modernizing intellectuals are often at a particular advantage in certain
aspects of the appraisal process. When the assessment of performance is
complicated by complex causal relationships, or when the rating of performance itself is arguable, then outcomes alone cannot be directly translated
into judgments of performance without invoking theories of causation and
optimal performance,a~ When experts evaluate whether development approaches have worked or can work, they tend to dominate the field, and they
can decide when systematic appraisal is to be undertaken and when an approach is to be killed through impressionistic evaluation. Responsibility to
other actors, who typically presume that experts' judgments are based on
thorough appraisal, is again compromised.21

US. civil space program

The U.S. civil space program is a monument to NASA's persistance on behalf

of the grand vision of human exploration and eventually colonization of space
despite persistent opposition to the vision on practical grounds. 2e In September, 1969, in its report to the President on The Post-Apollo Space Pro-

gram, the Space Task Group expressed the vision in an ambitious program
which focused on a manned mission to Mars and included a space station and
a space transportation system based on a shuttle. When the Nixon Administration concluded that the nation had no requirements for such an ambitious
program, supporters of the vision did not set it aside but persevered through a
series of 'next logical steps,' beginning with a manned, reusable Shuttle.
The vision was not sufficient to justify the Shuttle. After hearings on the FY
1971 budget, NASA Administrator Thomas O. Paine (1970: 27) concluded
that 'the current congressional mood was for diversified and practical space
goals pursued at a moderate and economical pace? Consequently, for FY
1972, NASA promoted the Shuttle on the utilitarian grounds of cheaper and
routine access to space. Among other things, cost estimates were reduced to
politically-acceptable levels, and flight rates were set high enough to force
almost all payloads onto the Shuttle (and higher than all projected payloads
required). Hence nearly all projects involving spaceflight were coupled to the
Shuttle, and almost all expendable launch vehicles were phased out, making
the Shuttle the indispensable centerpiece of th e space program. The dependence of many projects on the Shuttle, as well as its large scale and long term,
attracted a large industrial and Congressional constituency with an enduring
stake in defending the Shuttle program.
The tactics successfully employed to promote and defend the first 'logical
step' were adapted for the next, the Space Station, which was first approved
for FY 1985. NASA selected the largest permanently-manned concept
expected to be politically acceptable, promoted it with a low and incomplete
design-to-cost commitment of $8 billion (in 1984 dollars), and coupled it to
the Shuttle and other projects. The Station is entirely dependent on the
Shuttle for assembly and supplies, but the Shuttle also depends on the
Station for a large proportion of its flights. Hence these centerpieces are justified by their mutual dependence, and are further justified by science or
applications projects such as the space telescope that are designed to depend
on them. Promoters of such projects learned to move them from the periphery to the center of the space program by coupling them to the Shuttle or the
While the civil space program is structured to promote and defend each
'next logical step' toward the vision, the structure systematically compromises
project performance relative to the promises made to win project approval.
The program structure is, in the words of former NASA Administrator
James C. Fletcher,

... an integral, interdependent whole - and therefore, vulnerable to serious

dislocation in the face of even small perturbations. The funds being requested do not permit us the luxury of backups, of alternatives, of programmatic robustness. Virtually every element of the program is being pursued on a success schedule... (Fletcher, 1989: 299).

'Success' schedules assume unrealistically that projects will work out as
planned. Perturbations are departures from 'success' schedules, including
technical problems not covered by margins or reserves, personnel turnover,
micro-management, and cuts in NASA's annual budget request. The space
program's vulnerability to serious dislocation is a deterrent to perturbations
by the Administration or Congress and an incentive for them to raise the
annual budget constraint when perturbations of any kind occur.
Perturbations inevitably occur because NASA cannot entirely prevent them
or anticipate them in 'success' oriented plans, and because the large scale of
the centerpieces leaves them especially vulnerable. For example, technical
and managerial problems tend to increase with the number of non-redundant
human, hardware, and software elements that are critical to the success of the
whole program, because every element is subject to failure. Moreover, a program as large as the Space Station invites micro-management because the
high visibility makes problems relatively difficult to ignore; and such a large
program invites budget cuts because there are more alternative uses to which
its budget can be put. Dislocations anywhere tend to ripple throughout this
interdependent structure, forcing capability cutbacks, schedule slips, and cost
overruns in many projects. In short, the civil space program as preseiatly
structured lacks the resilience necessary for projects to perform as promised
despite budget cuts and other perturbations.
The lack of resilience shows up in performance shortfalls. The Shuttle's first
flight in 1981 was delayed three years because of unanticipated technical
problems with rocket engines and thermal tiles. The Shuttle program
achieved only 37 flights through 1990, or 94% fewer than the 580 promised
in 1972. Total Shuttle development and operations costs through 1990 were
$65 billion (in 1990 dollars), or 27% more than the 1972 estimate. The average cost per flight through 1990 was S1.7 billion including development
costs, or 19 times more than promised in 1972 (Pielke and Byerly, 1992). The
Advisory Committee on the Future of the U.S. Space Program (1990: 32)
concluded in December, 1990, that 'the most significant deficiency in the
nation's future civil space program is an insufficiency of reliable, flexible and
efficient space launch capability.'
For the Space Station, permanent manned capability has already slipped
about six years to 2000. Among the capability cutbacks, crew size has been
reduced from 8 to 4, the habitat modules and central truss have been shortened significantly, and many program elements have been deleted, including a
closed life support system, an improved space suit, solar dynamic power, various 'hooks and scars' for attached payloads, and co-orbiting and polar-orbiting platforms. I n March, 1991, the Space Studies Board of the National
Research Council concluded that the redesigned Space Station
... does not meet the basic requirements of the two principal scientific disciplines for which it is intended: (1) life sciences research necessary to support the national objective of long-term human exploration of space, and

(2) microgravity research and applications (National Research Council,
1991: 1).
Meanwhile, despite these cutbacks in capabilities, estimated total development costs have approximately quadrupled from the 1984 design-to-cost
commitment of $8 billion to about $32 billion in 1984 dollars, or $40 billion
in 1991 dollars. 23
The disruption of other projects through the ripple effect is easily illustrated. In 1981, the Shuttle program was behind schedule and urgently needed
for operations, so funds were diverted from other projects to the Shuttle.
James Van Allen (1986: 27) called the widespread disruption of space science projects 'the slaughter of the innocent" In 1986, the Challengeraccident
grounded the remainder of the Shuttle fleet for more than two and a half
years, disrupting all projects that depended on the Shuttle for launch services. 24 In 1991, the Space Station program was rescued from termination by
diversion of more than a half billion dollars from space science and applications projects. Each project disrupted incurs capability cutbacks, schedule
slips, and/or cost overruns. Such disruptions waste between a quarter and a
hal of the space science budget according to informal estimates.
Such performance shortfalls reflect a rigid commitment to the vision and
certain failures in the decision process that frustrate accountability. NASA
controls the process of technical design, and uses that control to lock-in the
centerpieces. The smaller, quicker, cheaper and decoupled projects that
could provide the basis for a resilient program tend to be eliminated before
the elected representatives of the public have the opportunity to consider
them. When insiders know that the performance 'promises' made at the time
of project approval are not enforceable or expected to be enforced, then the
'promises' become fig leaves of respectability to disguise special interests that
cannot survive public scrutiny. For example, project managers can choose to
underestimate schedules and costs and exaggerate capabilities as necessary to
sell a project. Headquarters can choose to tolerate or encourage the practice
in order to help the agency survive and prosper relative to other agencies in
the current budget cycle. When shortfalls in performance materialize, space
scientists and engineers who want to work in the civil space program tend to
mute their criticism. Elected off
can choose to look the other way, despite their oversight responsibilities. They tend to do so because the space
program is a useful pawn in playing Washington power games, in associating
with popular sentiments about exploring the final frontier, and in delivering
money and jobs to their constituents. Outsiders can know little about the
situation, and do less, even with an extraordinary investment of time and
The vision of human space exploration was not and is not sufficient to justify in public the Shuttle, the Station, or the proposed manned mission to the
Moon and Mars. Nevertheless, the technocratic keepers of the vision and
their political allies have been able to lock-in two of the 'next logical steps"

despite the waste of time, talent, and funds that otherwise could have been
invested more productively. Moreover, promising a certain capability, schedule, and cost, delivering something less, later, and at higher costs - and consistently getting away with it in project after project - exploits the society that
pays the bills and evades responsibility and accountability to the public.

Global warming
Scientific claims and record-high temperatures in recent years have heightened public concern about global warming, among other global changes and
their human impacts. The Bush Administration defined the primary policy
problem as scientific uncertainty and made scientific research a prerequisite
for policy.25 According to testimony by the President's science advisor in late
1989, 'we should not move forward on major programs until we have a reasonable understanding of the scientific and economic consequences of those
programs "26 Early in 1990, in a letter introducing a report to Congress on the
U.S. Global Change Research Program, he wrote that
The research program presented here is a key component of the President's
overall approach to the global change issue. The approach has, as its central goal, the provision of a sound scientific basis for developing national
and international policy on global change (Committee on Earth Sciences,

According to the report, a sound scientific basis for policy would be ~ n

improved predictive model of the integrated Earth system and a better understanding of human interactions with this system...' (Committee on Earth
Sciences, 1990: 1). Such justifications have served to divert concern and
demands for action into research, and to support the President's request of
S 1.37 billion for global change research in FY 1993, up 24% over the FY
1992 budget.
The policy (as opposed to scientific)justifications for public investments in
global change research are questionable on grounds of rationality. First, a predictive model of the integrated Earth system is not sufficient for policy purposes. Clarifying the probable consequences of alternatives (by predictive
model or other means) is only one task in a rational decision process. Other
tasks include clarifying goals, evaluating action alternatives, and reconciling
inevitable differences on substantive issues through the political process.
Second, a predictive model is not necessary for policy purposes. It is procedurally rational to act despite uncertainties, ambiguities, and the limitations
of present scientific models, provided the actions are modest and designed (in
part) to discover what works through trial and error in the field. For example,
prototype programs to reduce CO2 emissions could be field-tested in diverse
localities, and the more cost-effective alternatives could then be selected and

adapted to other localities. Finally, for policy purposes, a predictive model of
the integrated Earth system is empiricallylesspromising than another alternative. Model advocates have not yet specified criteria for certifying when a predictive model is 'operational' for specific policy purposes; however, chaos
theory (Glieck, 1987) and experience with complex forecasting models
(Ascher, 1981) suggest that it will be difficult if not impossible to meet the criteria implied in the model's policy justification. Meanwhile, model advocates
discount or ignore a decentralized, trial-and-error alternative for reducing
CO 2 emissions that was unwittingly field-tested following the 1973-74 oil
At that time national energy policy focused on increasing supplies of energy
through expansion of centralized production and distribution facilities, and
through demonstration of centralized supply technologies for the future. At
the periphery were efforts to reduce energy consumption through conservation and efficiency, and to begin a transition toward renewable energy resources (such as solar and low-head hydro) as long-term substitutes for fossil
fuels and nuclear power. The peripheral technologies are typically easier for
households, businesses, and municipal, county, and state officials to understand and adapt to their diverse needs and circumstances. If these people
share and compare dependable information on their program experiences,
they can evolve more effective programs though trial and error (Brunner,
Millions of decentralized decisions combined with the peripheral elements
of national policy made the most positive difference in the decade or so following the 1973-74 oil embargo. According to various estimates (Iott, 1992),
savings in energy consumption through conservation and efficiency contributed more than additions to energy supply in meeting national needs.
Among the additions to energy supply, the development of renewable resources contributed more than fossil fuels. While nuclear power was a major
factor in additions to energy supply, the nuclear power industry scaled back
its total planned and installed capacity by a factor of two over this period. The
nuclear industry is holding on, but the demonstration projects for a breeder
reactor, synthetic fuels, and shale oil production are either moribund or terminated.
Reducing CO 2 emissions through a decentralized energy strategy is only
one response to the threat of global warming, but as an initial response it has
many advantages over a predictive model intended to be used as a basis for
comprehensive national and international decisions. A decentralized strategy
is more realistic and worthwhile within the democratic aspirations and the
institutional fragmentation (functional and federal) prescribed by the U.S.
Constitution. Recall that the 'comprehensive' and 'carefully balanced' National Energy Plan developed by the White House planning staff in 1977 was
taken apart by Congress, which then considered most of the proposals more
or less independently. A decentralized strategy proved to be the least-cost
alternative for meeting the nation's energy needs by the test of experience, not

just theory, and reduced C O 2 emissions as a positive externality. Moreover,
the potential for further progress through a decentralized energy strategy in
the U.S. is still vast, according to the standards set by the most energy-efficient
industrial nations and to engineering estimates (Rosenfeld and Hafemeister,
1988). Finally, a decentralized strategy leaves us with a more energy-efficient
and competitive economy and no regrets if global warming turns out to be
less than a serious problem. Otherwise, a decentralized strategy helps us mitigate the magnitude of the problem and learn how to cope with the diverse
local and regional manifestations of global warming through decentralized
Why is the Global Change Research Program evidently misjustified on policy grounds? More intensive research may confirm that the justification is a
rationalization that diverts public attention from the special interests served
by the Program. For some, the Program and its policy justification may be
convenient means of avoiding action and explanations for inaction while
appearing to address public concerns. Various others may support the Program primarily as a means to advance or defend other interests - for example, interests in sustaining certain scientific facilities, in profiting from R & D
contracts, or in shaping policy decisions. More fundamentally, a predictive
model to be used as a basis for comprehensive decisions both reflects and
reinforces established structures of power. Besides moving money beyond the
Beltway that encircles Washington, policy decisions based on an integrated
model of the Earth system would keep technocrats in Washington in the center of the action. The technocratic propensity toward concentration of power
through centralized and comprehensive policies cuts across conventional
distinctions between Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives,
or environmentalists and others.
The policy justification is effective in obscuring these interests and expanding the Program because it appeals to certain presumptions of modern, especially American, culture and because mechanisms of accountability evidently
have failed. Americans tend to presume that big problems like global warming require big (centralized and comprehensive) solutions; that accurate
scientific predictions over the relevant future of such big problems are both
feasible and necessary if not sufficient for rational policy decisions; and that
the origins and impacts of scientific research are politically and ethically neutral. Those who are in a position to know better and who have a direct stake in
the Program are not likely to challenge these presumptions in public. Most
others lack the knowledge, motivation, or power to challenge these presumptions effectively in public. Unless they divide among themselves on the major
issues and appeal to the public, the experts are effectively unaccountable.
It is true that appropriations in excess of a billion dollars a year can support
many worthy scientists and scientific projects. But if the Program does not
meet the expectations established by the policy justification, public support
for the Program will be jeopardized sooner or later. And it the threat of global
warming turns out to have been grossly exaggerated, the credibility of science

and scientists will be further compromised. Skeptics already wonder what
resulted from earlier crises involving energy, acid precipitation, a new ice age,
and nuclear winter - other than to raise the visibility of science and transform
it into the political equivalent of public works. Meanwhile, as research continues and society continues to pay the bills, we remain largely unprepared to
mitigate or cope with global warming if it occurs.


Rising levels of social tension appear to be characteristic of the modern era,

in which people around the world have striven for decades to overcome traditional constraints and to industrialize without obvious limits. At least the present heightened tension levels predate the end of the Cold War and extend
will beyond the United States. In any event, rising tension levels are signs of a
growing crisis precipitated by rigidities in perspectives and behavior that
interfere with smooth adaptations to emerging realities. These rising tension
levels increase the vulnerability of the ruling elite to seizures of mass outrage.
Hence scientists, as increasingly visible members of the ruling elite, have a
stake in reconsidering their own roles in broader perspective than peer approval, agency interests, or research funding.
Scientists can begin by comparing positivist presumptions about science in
political and social context with non-conventional alternatives that may turn
out to be more adaptive under late-modern if not post-modern circumstances. A review of epistemology, science in the modern era, as well as contemporary cases in international development, civil space, and global warming policy suggests some points of departure. First, the purpose of science in
human affairs is not prediction on the Newtonian model, but freedom through
insight. Moreover, the potential to predict with more precision, scope, and
accuracy is quite limited in human affairs, especially compared to the potential to choose more intelligently. Second, science, as knowledge of fundamental principles of nature, is not a prerequisite for ameliorating particular policy
problems, nor are experts in command of such knowledge the only qualified
participants in policy processes. Using what knowledge is available, we can
proceed on a trial-and-error basis with non-experts involved in evaluating
what works and what does not. Third, objectivity, a worthy aspiration in the
conduct of research, does not mean that the selection of research problems or
the consequences of research are value-neutral. Nor does objectivity mean
that there is only one reality, independent of the researcher's perspective, to
discover and verify.
There are alternatives to objectivity as a cloak to conceal the actual and
potential roles of scientists. For example, one can be explicit about the identifications, expectations, and value preferences that one brings to bear on the
selection of research problems and the evaluation of research consequences.
These perspectives are an important part of the context of one's own research.

One can acknowledge the legitimacy, in principle, of different identifications,
expectations, and value preferences that bear on the selection and evaluation
of research by others. These different perspectives are also an important part
of the context of research. Finally, in sorting out conflicting scientific claims,
one can appeal not only to scientific norms accepted by scientists, but also to
specifications of the most general norm broadly accepted in society, human
dignity for all. The point of these alternatives is to make the special interests
involved in research explicit for purposes of accountability, and to bring those
interests into alignment with common interests. As a first approximation,
common interests can be identified and distinguished as those both used and
accepted as justifications in open public discussion and debate.
In principle, the individual scientist can rethink conventional ideas about
science in social context, and then begin to act in accord with an enlightened
sense of professional responsibility to science and to the basic aspirations of
society generally. Self-discipline is the crucial requisite, because scientists can
frequently use their expertise to avoid accountability to non-experts, and
because more effective accountability mechanisms might will increase the
tendency of science to serve power. In practice, however, self-discipline may
be very expensive under conventional institutional arrangements. Hence
scientists might choose to invest some thought and collective action in adapting the relevant institutions. For example:
1. The availability of funds affects the selection of research problems, especially in the highly capitalized area of science. To what extent can scientists become more independent in the selection of research problems?
Among other possibilities, scientists might lobby against over-investment of public research funds in certain societal needs (e.g., defense)
and under-investment in others. They might also consider copyright and
patent pools to fund themselves.
2. The evaluation of research need not be limited to the number of publications, citations, or grants received. To what extent can scientists bias
institutionalized appraisals of research toward emphasis on contributions to society? Among other possibilities, scientists might consider
how non-experts can be brought into the appraisal process through the
enforcement of promises made to win grants and contracts, through
decentralized prototypes, and other means.
3. The aggregate effects of science and science-based technology on society are worth monitoring to stimulate social responsibility and to revise
scientific priorities accordingly. To what extent can the lessons and legacies of the social indicators movement (Innes, 1990) be adapted for
these purposes? Among other possibilities, case studies might be commissioned to supplement estimates made by comparing aggregate data
on scientific inputs and outputs with aggregate data on the problems of
society over suitable periods of time.
More generally, we need to improve the possibility that scientists will feel free
to express their differences on public issues in public, and to do so at accept-

a b l e cost. D e m o c r a t i c a c c o u n t a b i l i t y in a n i n c r e a s i n g l y c o m p l e x w o r l d
d e p e n d s u p o n t h e e x p e r t s w h o clarify a l t e r n a t i v e s o n t h e m o s t significant
issues f o r t h e p u b l i c ( S c h a t t s c h n e i d e r , 1975 Ch. 8).
D a u n t i n g as such a d a p t a t i o n s m a y seem, t h e p o l i c y s c i e n c e s p r o v i d e intell e c t u a l r e s o u r c e s a d e q u a t e to g u i d e t h e m . W i t h a n o r m a t i v e c o m m i t m e n t to
m a x i m i z i n g h u m a n dignity, t h e p o l i c y s c i e n c e s c a n a v o i d t h e pitfall o f g o a l
s u b s t i t u t i o n that c a t e r s to t h e i n s t i t u t i o n a l a n d p r o f e s s i o n a l i n t e r e s t s o f t h e
scientists t h e m s e l v e s a n d b l i n d l y a d h e r e s to t h e n a r r o w d i c t u m t h a t 'scientific
k n o w l e d g e is g o o d in a n d o f itself.' W i t h its e s c h e w a l o f t h e p o s i t i v i s t e m p h a sis o n f i n d i n g single, s i m p l e , o v e r - a r c h i n g laws, t h e p o l i c y s c i e n c e s c a n d e v e l o p m u l t i p l e m o d e l s to b e t e s t e d t h r o u g h p r o t o t y p e s a n d a d a p t i v e m a n a g e m e n t . W i t h its e m p h a s i s o n t h e p o l i c y m a k i n g p r o c e s s as well as t h e s u b s t a n tive c o n t e n t o f policy, t h e p o l i c y s c i e n c e s c a n d e v e l o p p r o m i s i n g (if as y e t n o t
fully t e s t e d ) m o d e l s f o r b r i n g i n g scientists t o g e t h e r w i t h t h e p u b l i c a n d its
r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s to i n t e g r a t e scientific a n d s o c i e t a l a s p i r a t i o n s . T h e c e n t r a l
q u e s t i o n is w h e t h e r e n o u g h scientists, in c o n t r a s t to rising elites in e a r l i e r
times, will a c h i e v e sufficient insight to u n d e r s t a n d t h e i r o w n l o n g - t e r m i n t e r ests a n d to h a r m o n i z e t h e m with t h e b a s i c a s p i r a t i o n s o f s o c i e t y o n a sustaina b l e basis.

1. Nationai Science Board (1991: 5). In constant 1982 dollars, the total for France, West Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States increased from approximately
$65.2 billion to $202.9 billion in 1988.
2. OTA (1991: 4). These amounts are expressed in constant 1990 dollars and include the
social and behavioral sciences as well as the natural sciences and engineering.
3. More generally, according to Winner (1989: 106), 'It is not uncommon for the advent of a
new technology to provide an occasion for flights of utopian fancy. During the last two centuries the factory system, railroads, telephone, electricity, automobile, airplane, radio,
television, and nuclear power have all figured prominently in the belief that a new and
glorious age was about to begin.'
4. An influential and representative source on positivism is Friedman (1953). We use 'myth'
in the technical sense of the most basic perspectives used to explain and justify the possession and use of some value - for example, authority in a political arena, truth in a scientific
forum, holiness in a theological court. Experience inside a policy process typically reveals
that the myth is not a literally true description of the facts; however, the literal truth is not
central to the necessary functions of a myth. Politicallysophisticated scientists who use the
myth in policy processes might not accept it personally, just as the rulers in Plato's ideal
Republic might not accept its myth. For an introduction to the theory of political myth see
Lasswell and Kaplan (1950 Ch. 6) and Lasswell, Lerner, and Pool (1970).
5. Brown (1992: 2) quotes Koshland (1992): 'It is the conviction of scientists that more basic
research will profit not only the globe, but also the specific countries in which it is carried
out. The former is essentially obvious.'
6. See, for example, Mayer (1990: 298): 'What makes the [savings and loan] outrage so
important a piece of American history is ... the demonstration of how low our standards
for professional performance have fallen in law, accounting, appraising, banking, and politics - all of them" The allegation is that knowledge and skill were not used for professional
service, but for professional self-service at the expense of the general public.

7. Lasswell outlined the basic ideas of the policy sciences in a memorandum on 'Personal
Policy Objectives' dated October 1, 1943, which is included in the Lasswell archive at Yale
University. For an introduction to the policy sciences, see Lasswell (1971). Among the
more recent overviews are Torgerson (1985), Ascher (1987), and Brunner (1991a).
8. Lasswell (1971: 16), with emphasis added. For the simpler forms of life, predispositions
and perceptions are limited by the sensory apparatus and responses to a limited range of
stimuli from the environment are largely instinctive.
9. The plausibility of the postulate is nevertheless apparent when the obverse is considered:
That living forms act in ways that are perceived to leave them worse off. The obverse is
absurd if due allowance is made for the unconscious impulses and inhibitions as well as the
conscious perceptions, incomplete and possibly mistaken, that are overtly expressed in an
act. In our culture, the major alternative is the postulate of positivism that behavior is
determined by impersonal laws of nature that can be discovered through science. The
plausibility of this postulate is questionable even in physics (Horgan, 1992).
10. This is the title of the first chapter in Lippmann (1965), a classic in political science first
published in 1922. For approximately equivalent formulations of the difference, see
Boulding (1961) in economics, Rappaport (1979) in anthropology, and Rorty (1979) in
philosophy. The most influential formulation of the difference is the principle of bounded
rationality, the basis of behavioral theories of rationality for which Herbert Simon earned a
Nobel Prize in economics.
11. As Lippmann (1965: 17) put it, 'The very fact that men theorize at all is proof that their
pseudo-environments, their interior representations of the world, are a determining element in thought, feeling, and action. For if the connection between reality and human
response were direct and immediate, rather than indirect and inferred, indecision and failure would be unknown.. ? See also Simon (1957: 199).
12. Kuhn (1970: Ch. 9) was quite explicit about the nature and necessity of scientific revolutions and their similarity to political revolutions. On the latter, see Lasswell and Kaplan
(1950: Ch. 10) on'Process.'
13. See Ascher (1981, 1982, 1988). Compare Rivlin (1984: 20): 'The poor showing of forecasters is not due to any lack of effort of ingenuity.... The real problem is that the economic system is battered by forces outside itself which are inherently unpredictable, such
as the weather or foreign wars. I doubt we will ever improve the accuracy of forecasting
very much?
14. In molecular biology (Culotta, 1992) and computer science (Holland, 1992), researchers
who employ evolutionary methods report practical achievements with little theoretical
understanding of the particular problems involved.
15. Lasswell (1965b: 86) characterized the unnamed revolution (or the permanent revolution
of modernizing intellectuals) as 'a more specialized version of the broad transformation we
have characterized as "the world revolution of middle-income skill groups."' See also Lasswell (1965b: 92-93) on relationships among the garrison-state, modernizing intellectual,
and other constructs.
16. Compare Lasswell (1941: 459) on the diversification of material and symbolic conditions
in modern societies: 'Concerted action under such conditions depends upon skillfully
guiding the minds of men; hence the enormous importance of symbolic manipulation in
modern society.' For a recent account of the rise of 'symbolic analysts,' whose skills go well
beyond propaganda, see Reich (1991 ).
17. See Section VI of Lasswell (1965b: 94-96) and the Introduction to Lasswell (1965a). See
also Sections II and HI on Production and Evolution, respectively, in Lasswell (1956),
which is titled 'The Political Science of Science: A n Inquiry Into the Possible Reconciliation of Mastery and Freedom? 'Mastery' in the subtitle refers to mastery over nature
through science-based technology.
18. See, for example, Schlesinger (1968) on systems analysis and Easterbrook (1986) on think

19. Lasswell (1970: 119). In the same paragraph, Lasswell compares promise and reality with
other values, in addition to political power.
20. In contrast, in some situations overall performance or competence is often gauged by the
public in a straightforward, directly empirical fashion, and the role of intellectuals in
putting a different 'spin' on the results is quite limited. Thus incumbent presidents are
either lionized or rejected at election time depending on overall economic performance as
indicated by rates of unemployment, economic booms or busts, and inflation.
21. More generally, it can be said that World Bank experts have gained decisionmaking power
vis-a-vis the representatives who could be held accountable by the the member countries,
by increasing the experts' monopoly over information and expertise. Hurni (1980: 83)
points out: 'Because the staff has worked with a project all through the originating and consensus-forming phases, its share in influencing the approval decision is greater than that of
any single Executive Director who often does not hold his seat for a very long time and is,
therefore, less familiar with the project than the operational staff. It appears that, in the
1970s, the technostructure gained in concrete decision-making power; first, because the
projects have become technically more diversified and, secondly, because there are more
of them presented.'
22. This case is documented and developed more fully in Brunner (1992).
23. For appraisals of the Space Station program see Brunner and Byerly (1990); Charles
Bowsher (1991); and the General Accounting Office (1991).
24. For a case in point, see Lerner (1989).
25. For further documentation and development of this case, see Brunner (1991b).
26. D. Allan Bromley as quoted in Brookes (1989: 97).

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