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Socio-Economic Implications of Nanotechnology Applications: A Case of Copper and Copper Dependent Countries
Volume 6, Issue 2

Shilpanjali Deshpande Sarma, TERI, New Delhi
Saswata Chaudhury, TERI, New Delhi

This paper considers an interdisciplinary approach to assess the socio-economic impacts of nanotechnology based applications on commodities with a specific focus on copper. Setting in context the emerging debate on nanotechnologies and commodities, the study delves into understanding the various dimensions that could govern the implications of nanotechnology for commodity dependent countries. The study identifies and assesses the feasibility of various nano-applications to displace the use of copper in various sectors. The patterns of copper consumption that the likely substitution might be impact are also explored. Further, the possible socio-economic impacts of a nanotechnology induced shift in copper trade are examined by taking two copper dependent countries, Chile and Zambia, in consideration. Strategies that might help assuage a likely negative impact as well as exploit the opportunity nanotechnology poses to commodity dependent countries are identified. It emerges from the study that the nature and scope of the implications of nanotechnology on commodity trade, is influenced by interplay of factors in the technology as well as socioeconomic and trade realms, the latter being specific to individual commodity dependent countries. The dynamic and uncertain nature of the developments in nanotechnology, copper consumption as well as copper trade would entail that the implications might vary in space (for different countries) and time.

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