TECHNO FIX: Technological Leapfrogging (Costs & benefits)

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  • Created on: 19-03-13 21:55
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Technological Leapfrogging:
this is when a technology is adopted without a precursor technology.
For example, mobile phones have enabled developing countries to skip the fixedline
technology of the 20th century and move straight to the mobile technology of the
It works using radio ­ there is no need to rely on physical infrastructure e.g.
roads and phone wires.
Base stations can be powered by their own generators in places where there
is no electrical grid.
You don't have to be literate to use a phone.
Other examples include laptops and wifi (without a costly hardwired network stage),
solar panels and micro HEP (without a complex electricity transmission grid), and the
$3 "life straw" (leapfrogging mains water technology).
GM crops have brought many positive socioeconomic impacts to developing
countries it has increased yields dramatically therefore increasing food security and it
has also improved peoples health and diet.
One criticism of mobile phones, laptops, GM crops etc is their developed world
origins. This means that developed world companies collect royalties and
profits from the developing world ­ the very people that need the technology
most, but can't afford it. E.g. GlaxoSmithKline ­ retroviral drugs for AIDs.
A report by the World Bank suggests that it is the presence of a "solid
foundation of intermediate technology that determines whether the latest
technologies become widely diffused."
In the developed world the 21st century's technologies are underpinned by
infrastructure that often dates back to the 20th century.
For example, computers and broadband links are not much use without a
reliable electricity supply
A project to provide every hospital in Ethiopia with an internet connection was
abandoned a couple of years ago when it became apparent that the lack of
internet access was the least of the hospitals worries!
And despite the clever technical design of the $100 laptop, which is intended to
bring computing within the reach of the world's poorest children, sceptics
wonder whether the money will be better spent on classrooms, teacher
training and books. "INNAPROPRIATE TECHNOLOGY" Even low costs can prove
too high in some locations i.e. there are 1.1. Billion people living on less than
$1 a day.
GM crops have created many socioeconomic and environmental externalities
e.g. the introduction of machinery has lead to unemployment and increases
ruralurban migration. Only relatively well off farmers can afford the
technology. Environmental impacts include nutrient rich run off and

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eutrophication caused by fertilisers. Pesticide overspray also damages
biodiversity.…read more


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