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122 Int'l Lab. Rev. 279 (1983)
Macro-Policies for Appropriate Technology: An Introductory Classification

handle is hein.journals/intlr122 and id is 293 raw text is: International Labour Review, Vol. 122, No. 3, May-June 1983

for appropriate technology:
An introductory classification
Frances STEWART*
I. Introduction
Actual decisions about technology are always made at the micro-level,
that is to say, within a productive unit. The latter may be a large organisation
with world-wide activities, such as a multinational corporation, or a very
small unit, such as a family firm or farm. Whatever the size of the unit, the
level of decision-making is defined here as micro, since the decisions are
taken by the units in question in the light of their own objectives and
resources. These decisions are nevertheless strongly influenced by the
external environment in which they are made. Direct government interven-
tions tend to be confined to a small part of total technology decisions,
especially in a mixed economy. Hence a government's greatest potential
influence on technology decisions takes the form of indirectly influencing the
decision-making unit's external environment. Despite this, the appropriate
technology institutions have tended to confine their activities to direct
intervention. In contrast, this article considers government policies to affect
the environment in which micro-decision-making takes place, with a view to
identifying and classifying those likely to promote appropriate technology.
II. Definitions
It is necessary to be as clear as possible about the two main concepts
under discussion-macro-policies and appropriate technology.
Macro-policies: Macro-policies, in the sense used here, are all those
general government policies that influence the environment in which micro-
decision-making units operate. These units consist not only of conventional
private-sector firms but also include public-sector firms, co-operatives, and
* Institute of Commonwealth Studies, Oxford University. This article is based on a paper
prepared for a workshop on macro-policies for appropriate technology, financed by Appropriate
Technology International and held at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, in March 1982
and on the discussions at the workshop. The author wishes to thank participants in the workshop
for many ideas, and especially Mr. Ted Owens of Appropriate Technology International for his
support throughout the project.

Copyright © International Labour Organisation 1983

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