The link between the strategic development of science and technology and societal development
The paper offers a scientific approach to the problematic link between strategic development of STI (Science, Technology and Innovation) and social development policy. All schools of economic thought agree that global technological progress has fundamentally changed social structure, welfare, productivity and other economic achievements of modern societies. Since the industrial revolution, the link between technological development and socio-economic development has been studied by social scientists and the attempts to control and harness it for the smoothest possible development and prosperity of societies have become the task of practical policy-making. Technological progress contributes to socio-economic progress in a number of ways. It enables the use of new and existing resources, export growth, development of import alternatives and infrastructure growth, helps improving the efficiency of human resources, promoting industrialisation, capital growth, access to foreign capital, agricultural development and, ultimately, leads to positive changes in the socio-economic structure. This paper analyses the link between the strategic development of STI and societal development. The paper combines scientific and political approaches to analyse the relation between the strategic development of science and technology, on the one hand, and socio-economic development, on the other. The introduction part covers theoretical and practical (political) aspects of the interaction between science, technology and innovation (STI) policy, on the one hand, and socio-economic development of states, on the other. Next, the paper goes on to cover case-studies on the interaction between STI policies and socio-economic development of the following countries: Australia, Estonia, Israel, USA, Japan, Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland. The selection of the countries was based on the level of STI achievement rated as high and very high, as well as on the criteria of geographical diversity. The country-specific cases are presented on the basis of an analysis of their respective indicators of socio-economic development and STI. This paper makes a distinction among liberal, social and exclusively national (or regional) models of STI policy development and summarises the socio-economic development indicators of selected countries based on international long-term comparative tools for measuring social and economic well-being, such as the Social Progress Index (SPI); the Gross Domestic Product (GDP); the Human Development Index (HDI); the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Indicators (SDGs); and the Gini coefficient, which measures the inequality of distribution of income. STI policies are measured against the Global Innovation Index, the European Innovation Scoreboard and other STI indicators, as well as against the national STI priorities and strategic directions for STI development. The Lithuanian case is also analysed in the context of the above-mentioned countries. Since Lithuania ranks among the countries lagging behind in STI achievement in the EU and worldwide, and lags behind from the global leaders in terms of both STI and socio-economic well-being, the paper provides UN recommendations relevant for the development of Lithuanian STI.
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Committee for the Future of the Seimas (CFF-Lith)