(HV) Unit 5.2

Q.10. What do you understand by Holistic Technology? Briefly explain.     (2009 - 10)
Related Questions -
Q.         How will you evaluate technologies holistically?                               (2013 - 14)  
Ans. According to Ursula Franklin, technology is not a set of neutral tools, methods or practices. She asserts that various categories of technology have markedly different social and political effects. She distinguishes for example, between work-related and control-related technologies. Work-related technologies, such as electric typewriters, are designed to make tasks easier. Computerized word processing makes typing easier still. But when computers are linked into work stations—part of a system—word processing becomes a control-related technology. “Now workers can be timed,” Franklin writes, “assignments can be broken up, and the interaction between the operators can be monitored.”
Franklin extends the distinction between work and control-related technologies to the larger concept of holistic and prescriptive ones. This enables her to consider the social implications of how work is performed. She writes that holistic technologies are usually associated with craft work. “Artisans, be they potters, weavers, metal-smiths, or cooks, control the process of their own work from beginning to finish.” Artisans may specialize in a particular kind of product, but they are always in total control of the process of production and each thing they make or create is unique. Prescriptive technologies, on the other hand, break work down into a series of discrete, standardized steps. “Each step is carried out by a separate worker, or group of workers, who need to be familiar only with the skills of performing that one step.”
Although the division of labour inherent in prescriptive technologies is usually associated with the industrial revolution, Franklin points out that such production methods have been used since ancient times. Chinese bronze casting before 1200 BC for example, required a tightly-controlled and closely-supervised production process as well as a strict division of labour. Franklin writes that when she studied Chinese bronze casting as a metallurgist, “the extraordinary social meaning of prescriptive technologies dawned on me. I began to understand what they meant, not just in terms of casting bronze but in terms of discipline and planning, of organization and command.”

Q.11. How do the current world views lead to contradictions and dilemmas in professional life? Explain.                                                                            (2009 - 10)  
Ans. We can understand more clearly through examples how the contradictions and dilemmas are inherently generated by the prevailing worldview in which wealth maximization is perceived to be the prime objective. In such a paradigm, ‘your loss is my gain’. Thus the other person’s happiness seems to be in conflict with my happiness. In that case, the other people have to be exploited for one to gain affluence and there is no possibility of mutual fulfillment in a sustainable way. In the same way, exploitation of nature also becomes acceptable as it helps a person to accumulate wealth easily and there is no limit to this.
Let us analyse how such a world view affects the propensity of people in different professions. Take the example of business circles, whenever there is a scarcity of commodity due to say — monsoon failure or other natural disturbances or wars etc, the people in general are in distress and need succor; however in such a situation the businessmen endowed with materialistic world view will feel elated and look at it as an opportunity to make maximum profit. They feel that the market is ‘improving’ and they should take the maximum advantage of it, even accentuate it by hoarding and black marketing to serve their objective. Thus the interest of such businessmen and the consumers in general come in direct conflict. While in reality they are expected to be mutually complementary. In a similar way, unethical practices like adulteration and spurious production etc. are also adopted in an attempt to increase profits-albeit at the cost of greatly endangering public health and safety.
An interesting example of the prevailing dichotomy is evident in the advertisements that we daily come across, particularly in case of various evidently harmful products like cigarettes, pan masala etc. Where on one hand, the use of these products is highly glamorized to attract the consumers and in the end there is an inconspicuous statutory warning indicating that the use of these products is injurious to health. Thus there is clear tendency of making profits by promoting the sale of the products which are injurious to public health. In such a situation the dilemma as to how much importance is to be given to one’s profit and how much to the welfare always remains unresolved.
Similarly, let us highlight the dilemma in any profession which arises when the prime motivation is towards profit maximization. Take the example of practicing medicos with the urge of profit maximization. Supposing there is an epidemic and a large number of people become sick, the doctors endowed with materialistic world view will feel excited as it would give them an opportunity to earn a lot of money. Thus, the degradation in the health of society becomes a welcome opportunity for those whose expected role in the society is to facilitate the health of people. Here again the dilemma always persists whether to give importance to one’s profit or to the welfare of people needing help. Driven by the profit mania one can adopt methods of extreme exploitation of the patients who are already in serious trouble.
We can make similar visualizations for each profession whereby the motivations of profit maximization eventually lead to unethical practices of various dimensions and thwart the very objective of these professions in contributing towards the common good, towards the larger order. With all this, a continuous contradiction persists in the mind of such people as these unethical processes are not naturally acceptable to anyone. They create tension and anxiety at the personal level and one is tempted to adopt dual personality in terms of trying to appear to be ethical and in reality acting differently. There is a need to the nail on the head. The resolution of all these contradictions and dilemmas can only come through right understanding. Thus, the crux of all this discussion is that sincere effort towards building up the ethical competence of human beings in general and professionals in particular through proper value education is the only effective way to safeguard professional ethics.

Q.12. Give a critical review of the current management model in profession.    (2009 - 10) 
Ans. The management needs to focus at the fulfilment of the people involved in the production system as well the users of the produce and not to profit-mania. The following criteria can be chosen for a humanistic management model:
• The whole unit working as a well-knit family
• Cooperative and motivational
• Targeting employer-employee as well as consumer satisfaction and not profit maximisation
• Sharing of responsibility and participative mode of management
• Continuous value addition of the persons involved
• Effectively integrating individual competencies and complementarity
• Ensuring correct appraisal of human labour.

Q.13. What are the steps of transition from the current state to the holistic alternative at the level of society? Explain.                                                                                (2009-10, 11-12)
Ans.   Major transition steps at the level of society will consist of the following -
(a) Promoting Mass Awareness and Moving towards Humanistic Education
(b) Evolving Holistic Models of Living
(c) Amending Policies, Programs and Social Systems in tune with Comprehensive Human Goal.
(a) Promoting Mass Awareness and Moving Towards Humanistic Education: -
The most crucial step to affect transition in the society is by way of creating mass awareness and motivating people for self-exploration, drawing attention towards ‘what we really want’ and what we are presently embarking on and the consequences thereof. This awareness can be through personal interaction, through popular literature, through formal course inputs, through workshops and seminars and utilizing the powerful network of media. This has to be followed by wide spread introduction of value education at appropriate levels. In the longer run, it will be necessary to revamp the education system towards humanistic education to enable the coming generation to move towards the holistic alternative. A serious effort to carry out research, experimentation and planning to facilitate this development is essential.
(b) Evolving Holistic Models of Living: -
Another important step for bringing about the requisite transition is to provide adequate thrust for carrying out R&D towards evolving holistic models of living which include development of holistic technologies, production systems and management models to actualize the holistic way of life. Presently, the trend in our institutions and research laboratories is largely towards working on various fashionable research areas advocated by those who have pioneered the modern development and whom we have accepted as our ‘role model’. However, after being amply clear that the present model and the present worldview are not sustainable and not conductive to comprehensive human goal, it will be essential to work out new models in the light of right understanding.
(c) Amending Policies, Programs and Social Systems in Tune with Comprehensive Human Goal: -
Presently, all our policies, programs, technologies and professions, as well as the economic, political and social systems have evolved to best cater to the prevailing worldview - which is seriously in error. Therefore, all these will need to be gradually modified to suit the holistic worldview, to suit right understanding and comprehensive human goal. This may be a gradual process and will depend on the extent to which the society is able to imbibe the new ethos.

Q.14. List some of the specific criteria for holistic evaluation of technologies. Critically review the present advancement of technologies on the basis of any two criteria.      (2009-10)
Related Questions -
Q. List some of the specific criteria for holistic evaluation of technologies. Elaborate on any two of them.                                                                                            (2012 - 13)
Q. Critically review the present advancement of technologies on the basis of any two criteria used for holistic evaluation.                                                                                   (2013 - 14)
Ans. There are three broad criteria to guide the development of such technologies and systems, viz.,
(a) Catering to appropriate needs and lifestyles,
(b) People-friendly, and
(c) Eco-friendly.
The specific criteria to judge the appropriateness of technologies may include the following -
Criteria for Holistic Evaluation of Technologies: -
· Catering to real human needs
· Compatible with natural systems and cycles
· Facilitating effective utilization of human body, animals, plants and materials
· Safe, user-friendly and conducive to health
· Producible with local resources and expertise as far as possible
· Promoting the use of renewable energy resources
· Low cost and energy efficient
· Enhancing human interaction and cooperation
· Promoting decentralisation
· Durability and life cycle recyclability of products.
It will be necessary to rely on the local resources as far as possible, such a model will also need attention to augment these resources as well which includes promotion of bio-diversity, cattle, water harvesting, effective utilization of biomass, solar, wind and hydel energy sources etc. This would also involve careful planning of the agriculture, artisanal and agro-industrial activity. The matching of resources and needs will also need to be accomplished. This visualization will enable us to identify, select or develop appropriate technologies, production systems and the methods to organize these activities in a harmonious way. Many technologies and systems have been evolved even though the full scale demonstration of such alternative ways of living are yet to emerge.
In the face of the environmental and other problems aggravating because of the widespread use of fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources, there is an increasing interest throughout the world to evolve alternative renewable technologies and modes of production. However, this is only possible in the light of right understanding, with adoption of appropriate lifestyles and with proper assessment of needs. It will be desirable to get acquainted with these developments by conducting case studies on the salient renewable and eco-friendly technologies and systems. There needs to be an increasing and wide spread thrust to evolve holistic technologies and systems through dedicated R&D efforts working within the framework of right understanding. 

Q.15. What are the reasons of unethical practices in profession today? What is the real solution to the above problems? Give your opinion.                                               (2011-12)
Related Questions -
Q. What are the root causes of unethical practices prevalent in the society.     (2013 - 14)
Ans. The issues in professional ethics are becoming very complex in the current scenario. The unethical practices are rapidly increasing and their impact is also becoming far-reaching. Corruption in multifarious manifestations is afflicting all the professions like a virus. Similarly, other unethical practices are also proliferating and getting out of control. It appears as if human ingenuity is being increasingly harnessed to devise newer and subtler ways to thwart the ethical conduct of profession, to twist the laws and to beat the system. A good number of people have started nurturing the feeling that with money, everything can be accomplished, any person can be ‘purchased’, and any system can be bent to one’s advantage. As a result of this ‘epidemic’ of unethical practices, we are frequently coming across serious scams, major economic offences and kickbacks in large scale purchases. These are also manifesting in the form of hawala and benami transactions, in fact, leading to a parallel black market economy. Lapses on the part of big organizations in ethical conduct of profession have led to large scale disasters, such as Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the Chernobyl Disaster, etc., endangering public life and property, and causing serious degradation to environment.
It is true that the adverse impact of this malaise is being widely felt, and the concern for rectifing the situation is increasing in the society. Many agencies such as the government bodies, professional societies, NGOs, media and professional educators etc. are all trying to devise ways and means to control the situation. However, all the methods being adopted are either of symptomatic nature or punitive measures or crisis management techniques rather than real solutions to the whole problem. For example, the following methods are being increasingly proposed and implemented:
• Promoting awareness about professional ethics by introducing new courses, refresher programs and case studies
• Administering oaths and prescribing codes of ethical conduct for specific professional disciplines
• Setting up mechanisms for intensive audit inspection and monitoring the activities
• Framing more stringent laws and devising harder punishments for offences
• Promoting transparency in working systems through mechanisms like RTI (right to information act), etc.
• Carrying out ‘sting operations’ and widely publicising serious lapses in ethical conduct of profession through media
• Encouraging whistle blowing by individuals or groups
• Setting up vigilance commissions, ethics committees, tribunals, consumer protection forums etc.
• Filing public interest litigations etc.