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The Politics Of Science & Technology
Electronic Discussion List (Pol-sci-tech)


Pol-sci-tech is an open list for discussing democratic politics of science and technology. You are welcome to repost or publish this notice anywhere you think appropriate.

Pol-sci-tech List Etiquette

The overwhelming hazard in electronic communication is information-glut. Please:

  • Keep your postings succinct, well-organized, and polite; don't dominate conversations.
  • Include an accurate description in the subject line.
  • Rather than lengthy postings to the entire list, try a short posting that invites people who want more information to contact you directly.
  • If your reply to a posting is unlikely to be of general interest, please send it directly to the person who made the original posting, not to the entire list.
  • Please _do_ print out and share pertinent postings from the list with people and organizations that do not have Internet access.
  • Invite other interested people and organizations to subscribe to Pol-sci-tech (or to its sibling lists, FASTnet and Loka Alerts; see below).


Pol-sci-tech Background

Pol-sci-tech and Loka's other E-mail lists are projects of the broader Technology & Democracy Project (hereinafter "the Project"), an activity of the Loka Institute. The end of the Cold War has opened a little- noticed strategic opportunity to reorganize U.S. science and technology institutions and policies--the best opportunity that has existed since World War II. This puts into play, for example, U.S. government research-and-development (R&D) expenditures of $75 billion/year, plus federal incentives and policies affecting new technology investments and private sector R&D (perhaps another $1 trillion or more per year).

That is the opportunity. The converse danger, with the Nov. 1994 Republican capture of the U.S. Congress, is that science and technology policy will be remilitarized--e.g., by emphasizing elaborate Star Wars nuclear missile defenses--at a time in history when exactly the opposite emphasis is both socially and strategically warranted.

Within this context, the Technology & Democracy Project is promoting a strong grassroots, worker, and public-interest group voice in U.S. science and technology decision making (including at local, state, national, and transnational levels). The Project's initial efforts have been made possible through the generosity of individual donors as well as grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Rockefeller Family Associates, the Foundation for Deep Ecology, and the Menemsha Fund.

Project activities to date have included:

  • Publishing constructive policy critiques (e.g., in the Washington Post and The Chronicle of Higher Education) and the books "Technology for the Common Good" (available from the Institute for Policy Studies, Washington, DC) and "Democracy and Technology" (Guilford Press, 1995)
  • Giving media interviews (e.g., to The New York Times and The MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour)
  • Making public presentations (e.g., to grassroots organizations, U.S. government officials and leaders, and universities)
  • Posting electronic Loka Alerts about democratic politics of science and technology
  • Co-organizing conferences and public forums (such as the first annual conference on "Technology and the African American Experience" at Howard University and "Challenges to Citizenship in an Age of High Technology," a multisite interactive discussion series broadcast live by satellite)
  • Functioning as an informal information clearinghouse for other grassroots and public-interest organizations, journalists, government staff, businesses, trade unions, students and scholars
  • Producing "Technology, Society and Democracy: New Problems and Opportunities," a major report on emerging developments in U.S. technology policy for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Implementing Pol-sci-tech and organizing the Federation of Activists on Science and Technology (FASTnet) are recent Project initiatives.

For those with access to the World Wide Web, Loka's home page at http://www.Loka.org contains information about the mailing lists, other activities of the Loka Institute, and links to sites on the Web relevant to technology and democracy.



There is no charge for subscribing to Pol-sci-tech. However, operating the list and undertaking other Project activities is costly and funding in this area has traditionally been notoriously scarce. Consequently, financial contributions of all sizes are welcome and indeed essential to enabling the Project to continue and expand its work.

The Loka Institute is incorporated as a non-profit corporation and is recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization [Tax I.D. #04-3334217]. To support the Technology & Democracy Project, please write a check drawn in U.S. dollars to "The Loka Insitute." Send it to: The Loka Institute, P.O. Box 355, Amherst, MA 01004-0355, USA. Your contribution is tax deductible. Thank you!


SPECIAL NOTE for those who have their own IGC (Institute for Global Communications) accounts:

If you would rather browse a conference than receive e-mail, FASTnet, Pol-sci-tech, and Loka-L posts are compiled, respectively, in the IGC conferences loka.fastnet, loka.techpol, and loka.alerts. If you need help accessing these conferences, e-mail your questions to support@igc.apc.org or phone IGC support in San Francisco at +(415) 442-0220. (Reminder: you cannot access these three IGC conferences unless you have your own IGC account).

Loka Alerts FASTnet Pol_Sci


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This page last modified: October 14, 2004 The Loka Institute