TECHNO FIX: Intermediate technology Vs Mega projects

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  • Created on: 19-03-13 21:53
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What is the right "type" of technology to aid the development
High tech "topdown"
Intermediate "bottoms up"
Traditionally high tech mega projects were seen as the best option ­ "top
down" development.
There are 85,000 mega dams in world which aim to improve water security for
example, the Three Gorges dam project in China which blocks the Yangtze
River. The dam drains an area of 1.8 million km2 and will supply Shanghai
(population of 13 million) and Chongqing (population of 3 million) with
sufficient supplies of water. It is also the world's largest HEP scheme
(generating 18,000 mega watts) and it also protects 10 million people and
25,000 hectares of farmland from flooding. HOWEVER, there are many negative
socioeconomic and environmental/ecological externalities involved and it is
controversial that is actually helping people to develop. Up to 1.2 million
people, 1,600 enterprises, 140 towns and 4,500 villages have had to be
relocated many of these people still haven't received compensation ­ over $30
million of funds set aside for this has been taken by corrupt local officials.
On the other hand, intermediate "bottomsup" projects are a popular option in
the 21st century. I carried out a SWOT analysis on 15 different innovations that
were in an observer article that could help aid the development process. The
innovation that I felt that would best aid the development process was
portable water pumps these help subSaharan small holder farmers grow
crops out of season. Increase in access to irrigation systems stands to
increase food productivity by up to 50%. Also Tutu vans are being widely used
in South Africa ­ this provides a hightech attitudinal technology providing a
mobile clinic which incorporates screening for TB and HIV ­ helping to
overcome the stigma associated with these diseases.
These technologies have a direct impact on people in developing countries and
they don't have the many negative economic, social and environmental
externalities associated with megaprojects such as dams. Many "bottoms up"
projects are also funded by local people and NGOs therefore donations or
earned income is being recycled back into the community creating a much
more sustainable future.
Development will only occur if basic needs e.g. food, health and education are
met and the aims of `top down' projects are to meet national needs rather

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than trying to directly help the people who are most at need. Therefore I
believe that the best way to help people develop is to have a greater diffusion
of smaller intermediate technologies within LDC's to help them move through
Rostow's model.…read more


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