The dependency syndrome
The overall scenario in large parts of the Muslim world today is defined by an excessive dependence on foreign military technology, hardware and personnel, on Western technology and technicians, on the massive import of Western goods and services, on Western financial institutions for trade as well as investment, on Western educational and professional institutions, and on foreign ideologies and models. There is a conspicuous absence of a spirit and culture of self-reliance, of concern with developing indigenous technology and invigorating local industries, and an unfortunate dearth of professionalism and entrepreneurship, of vision and long-term strategy.
The Arab Human Development Report 2003 points out that the experience of Arab countries with the transfer and adoption of technology has neither achieved the desired technological advancement nor yielded attractive returns on investments. Importing technology has not led to its adoption and internalization in the host country. The factors responsible for this sorry state of affairs include the absence of an environment conducive for scientific and technological research, dearth of scientific institutions, low investment in research and development, and shortage of professionally trained local personnel.
Edward Said, a sympathetic observer of the Islamic world, once perceptively remarked that the Muslim world in general and the Arab world in particular have become an intellectual, political and cultural satellite of the Western world, particularly the US. Seyyed Hossein Nasr, one of the most distinguished Islamic scholars of today, hardly exaggerates when he says that "we have made ourselves an appendix to Western thought."