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Appropriate Technology: Revisiting the Movement in Developing Countries for Sustainability

Authors: Jayshree Patnaik, Bhaskar Bhowmick


The economic growth of any nation is steered and dependent on innovation in technology. It can be preferably argued that technology has enhanced the quality of life. Technology is linked both with an economic and a social structure. But there are some parts of the world or communities which are yet to reap the benefits of technological innovation. Business and organizations are now well equipped with cutting-edge innovations that improve the firm performance and provide them with a competitive edge, but rarely does it have a positive impact on any community which is weak and marginalized. In recent times, it is observed that communities are actively handling social or ecological issues with the help of indigenous technologies. Thus, "Appropriate Technology" comes into the discussion, which is quite prevalent in the rural third world. Appropriate technology grew as a movement in the mid-1970s during the energy crisis, but it lost its stance in the following years when people started it to describe it as an inferior technology or dead technology. Basically, there is no such technology which is inferior or sophisticated for a particular region. The relevance of appropriate technology lies in penetrating technology into a larger and weaker section of community where the “Bottom of the pyramid” can pay for technology if they find the price is affordable. This is a theoretical paper which primarily revolves around how appropriate technology has faded and again evolved in both developed and developing countries. The paper will try to focus on the various concepts, history and challenges faced by the appropriate technology over the years. Appropriate technology follows a documented approach but lags in overall design and diffusion. Diffusion of technology into the poorer sections of community remains unanswered until the present time. Appropriate technology is multi-disciplinary in nature; therefore, this openness allows having a varied working model for different problems. Appropriate technology is a friendly technology that seeks to improve the lives of people in a constraint environment by providing an affordable and sustainable solution. Appropriate technology needs to be defined in the era of modern technological advancement for sustainability.

Keywords: Appropriate technology, community, developing country, sustainability.

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