Depending on the decade, different criteria have provided the basis for judging the appropriateness of technology in developing countries. In the 1950s and 1960s, debate centred on whether the choice of technique ought to be guided by the objective of maximizing the growth rate, rather than the level, of output. In the 1970s, the maximand became employment. There was a surge in articles on employment creation through income redistribution and on the merits, more in theory than in practice, of alternative technology life-styles. Soon after, what was considered to be appropriate came once again to mean a competitive market outcome. So defined, the term ‘appropriate technology’ served no distinct purpose and dropped out of use.
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