Accepter la science

Le progrès économique à long terme est surtout permis par l'invention et la diffusion de technologies améliorées. La révolution scientifique a été rendue possible par la presse typographique, la révolution industrielle par la machine à vapeur et si l'Inde échappe à la famine, c'est grâce à l'augmentation des rendements agricoles, ce que l'on appelle la “révolution verte.” L'ère de mondialisation que nous vivons a émergé avec la diffusion des ordinateurs et d'Internet. Ainsi, lorsque nous cherchons des solutions à certains des problèmes mondiaux les plus difficiles, nous pouvons aussi les trouver, du moins en partie, dans les nouvelles technologies susceptibles de résoudre de vieux problèmes apparemment insolubles.

Prenons l'exemple de la pauvreté en Afrique. Toutes les explications possibles ont été avancées, et mettent généralement le doigt sur ce que les Africains font de travers. Mais une visite dans les villages africains fait clairement comprendre que le problème est davantage lié à la lutte pour la survie dans des conditions physiques difficiles qu'à un quelconque autre problème inhérent aux sociétés africaines.

Les fermiers africains produisent environ un tiers (voire moins) de nourriture de moins par hectare que les autres exploitants du monde, ce qui a pour conséquence une famine à grande échelle, exacerbée par le lourd fardeau de la maladie. Le paludisme représente un défi unique en son genre, dû principalement aux espèces de moustiques d'Afrique, particulièrement aptes à transmettre la maladie. D'autres maladies tropicales parasitiques sont des fléaux tout aussi lourds sur le continent. Ajoutez-y la difficulté pratique représentée par les routes en mauvais état et la rareté des voitures et des camions, et l'isolement économique suit. Les défis de la survie sont donc énormes.

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