Inadequate structures to coordinate and assign research responsibilities inhibit the establishment of corporate priorities in a global context. Research is thus not accountable to society's total needs but to the popularity of the subjects being investigated, so that breakthroughs in technology are restricted to certain areas, resulting in unnecessary duplication and benefits which are not shared globally.
Alternative energy research is an example of excessive effort with little to show after a decade of intensive investigations and pilot projects. The continuing presence of the internal combustion engine in automobiles is one of many indications of failure to achieve results. Building a better computer has been the modern equivalent to building a better mouse-trap. The resources consumed in meaningless competitive computer research have been diverted from technologies having direct social benefit. A particular problem in imbalanced research activity is exemplified in biotechnological areas where the bias is towards applications in the developed countries.