can alter productivity and employment patterns to a much greater degree than the passing of new minimum wage laws can. Broadened global communications and transportation, resulting from technological breakthroughs, can speed up and link the world’s operations far more than trade pacts can. Not only has nuclear weapons technology radically altered the dangers of war, but it dominates negotiations intended to prevent war between the superpowers, and the very awesomeness inherent in the technology has averted such a war, despite the noticeable and continual shortcomings of the political leadership involved.
Technological advance is becoming globally pervasive, and this leads us to another prediction. It is that the totality of advances produced by the international fraternity of nations henceforth will greatly transcend the new technologies generated by any one nation. To be sure, an individual engineer, scientist, corporation, or country may happen upon a great discovery or invention or may successfully focus resources for progress and attain leadership in one area. That entity might then possess an initial superiority—on that one item—exceeding the expertise or output of all the rest of the world put together. But if it is an important advance, then pockets of similar or greater concentration will pop up in many other places around the world almost immediately, and the total will soon dwarf the continued contributions by the source of the breakthrough.
The rapidly growing disparity between the total output of technology from all nations and the contribution of any single nation means that no one country in the future will be strong enough in new science and technology to depend solely on its own intellectual and physical resources to fight the competitive world battle. The prediction, more specifically, is that the effort to achieve technological advances will become so widespread, and engineers and resources to back them up so widely available in the world, that what happens technologically on the outside will become too important for any country to ignore, and a failure on its part to acquire and use external advances will be too penalizing to be tolerated.
Owing to the clear economic potential of technological developments, should we predict that national governments will universally reach agreements in the future for all technological advances to be made available freely to all nations, all peoples, all private entities throughout the world, no matter where the advances originate? Will all new technology be owned by no one exclusively and hence equally by everyone? Will inventions, information, and ideas be breathed in by every group, shared like the atmosphere that surrounds us all? Not quite. There is the certainty of entirely opposite government action, deliberate steps taken to impede the flow of technological advances, policies set up to seek a perceived national advantage. There is also the certainty that private entities in the non-Communist world will continue to have an interest in receiving quid pro quos for accesses to their technologies.