The Public Interest

II. Of Course the Gap’s Not Really Technological

Robert Gilpin

Summer 1968

THEODORE Levitt’s basic point, that the technology gap between the United States and Europe is really a management gap, brings to mind the polemic of certain Black Power spokesmen that the America’s race problem is really not a Negro problem but a white problem. Of course the gap is managerial. It is also educational, organizational, and attitudinal. But it is even more than all these separate elements which different authors have chosen to stress. The “gap” is one between two very different cultures which for the first time in history have come into very intimate contact. The term “technology gap” is really a symbolic representation of the whole spectrum of challenges posed by a dynamic, expanding, and socially democratic society for conservative societies ruled by traditional elites wanting the power that science and technology can bring, but unwilling to pay the price of a profound social-economic transformation.

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