Plateau of progress
There are many fields where the reward of discovering new things are a long time before there is implementation. (Like pure maths, theoretical physics, etc.)
During the colonial era, Europeans gained a significant advantage over other civilizations. One reason was their willingness to accept things that they don’t know and to find ways to understand the world better. 1
The question of scientific progress was as important as anything political.
Though today we live in an era were a lot of scientific progress is made. The increase is because a large number of people are working on the problem. Even if the problems they are trying to solve are trivial (like social media).
The amount of effort required to research in the pre-colonial and colonial era was far greater. This should increase productivity and it does in some sense. But it has lead to a reduction of effort on the human part and therefore the result is the same.
Research gets an entitlement. People think it is hard.
It’s likely how people define it. You just have to work at something. And if you work on it you may discover things that you don’t even know are new.
The reason research gets a bad entitlement of because of ready-made solutions and the things that are already been discovered/made.
We miss the point that all the polished discoveries we see today had humble beginnings.
I would argue that if the discovery you made or a solution you made even is it already exist and you didn’t know about it is still an act of research. You may even find some improvements.
The act of research does not have to be big.
Ready-made solutions - Globalisation
Globalisation has allowed us to take fruits of someone else’s research.
As of 2020, China and the USA dominate technology. We Indians (and many from other countries) are more of a witness to this domination.
There are also different issues to solve. The social issues in India and different than those in developed nations. And therefore globalisation has a faster positive impact compared to research activities.
Sapiens by Yuval Harari ↩