Presentation on theme: "Innovation Processes in Developing Countries Specificities and Policy Issues for Inclusive Development Second session Judith Sutz, Universidad de la República,"— Presentation transcript:
Innovation Processes in Developing Countries Specificities and Policy Issues for Inclusive Development Second session Judith Sutz, Universidad de la República, Uruguay EULAKS Summer School The role of social sciences in the construction of knowledge based societies: Latin American and European perspectives
Summing-up from the first session It is useful to ask ourselves what do we understand by knowledge society It is useful to distinguish between knowledge society and capitalist knowledge society If we agree that knowledge society means that knowledge plays a structural role in the economy, the culture, the personal development of people, etc., we can refine our question in the following way: Is the knowledge society a universal phenomenon, or is it a trend that can be observed in some societies while it seems not to be so clearly present in other societies? Again, it depends on how we define knowledge society
We need a way of characterizing knowledge society that is useful to better understand development (and underdevelopment) today We posit that such a characterization needs to put in a central place the process of learning Learning is a process with two legs: one is the leg of acquiring and producing knowledge, learning by studying; the second is the leg of aplying creatively the acquired knowledge to solve problems learning by solving (but remember the imptant remark made by Maria yesterday: what makes a problem a problem?) If we map each country in a systems of Cartesian co- rodinates according with the values attached to each leg (by a given proxy), we find, for the latest data available
We agree to call the red line the learning divide Now we can suggest that those countries that are above the learning divide are those that we use as proxies to the concept of knowledge society Warning! Society is a too broad concept. There are people below the line in knowledge societies and people above the line in societies that as a whole are below the line But we have grasped a possible dynamic: advancing towards knowledge societies means crossing, as nations and not only as individuals, the learning divide For that we must have more knowledgeable people and more local demand for their creativity
This is not a complain: it is just an attempt at understanding Furthermore, they were not the developing countries of today(Africa, South-Asia, Latin America) that start comparing and complaining: it was Germany in the XIX Century, through Friedricht List, who famously coined the expression kicking away the ladders answering to Adam Smith: Any nation that by means of protective duties and restrictions on navigation has raised her manufacturing power and her navigation to such a degree of development that no other nation can sustain free competition with her, can do nothing wiser than to throw away the ladders of her greatness and to preach to other nations the benefit of free trade… Kicking away the ladders: development strategy in historical perspective, Ha-Joon Chang, 2002
Has the knowledge society concept a normative turn, or is it only a descriptive concept? If the concept has a normative turn, what would it imply?
Lets come again to theory, and to a concept proposed by Fernando Fanjzylber in 1990: the empty box of Latin American development
Which of the societies depicted in Fanjzylbers matrix can be termed knowledge societies?
Can we agree that the issue of inequality is somehow related to the characterization and, moreover, the dynamic, of knowledge societies? If yes: Why is inequality important, and not only poverty? Moreover: Do we know countries extremely unequal which economies are knowledge-based and innovation-driven? If not: What can we conclude?
Why is inequality important, and not only poverty? Albert Hirschman observation: Tolerance to inequality is like a credit that has an expiration date. Because inequality have beed found as the main reason of divergence in development paths (South America and Scandinavia) To be excluded from common facilities or benefits that others have can certainly be a significant handicap that impoverishes the lives that individuals can enjoy. No concept of poverty can be satisfactory if it does not take adequate note of the disadvantages that arise from being excluded from shared opportunities enjoyed by others. (Amartya Sen)
Do we know countries extremely unequal which economies are knowledge-based and innovation-driven? Lets look to the following map
We already know what does not work: conceiving equality problems exclusively as poverty problems and then bettingon the trickle-down effect of economic growth (Innovation) Competitiveness Economic growth Fiscal surplus to finance health policies Economic catch-up Safety nest for those outside general improvement of equity the system
The Gini map shows that the question about what kind of science, technology and innovation are needed to foster development and to build knowledge societies in unequal societies deserves attention Why has been this so elusive? A question of agendas (the 90/10 gap) A question of lack of adequacy A way to look into this problems
To minimize the impact of the kicking away the ladder effect, theory is not sufficient, but it is indeed necessary The NIS approach seems particularly useful to grasp the dynamics of technical change, but would it be useful if mechanically applied to a very different context than that where it was conceived? NIS in the South is an exante concept, rather than an expost concept It has a normative weight Moreover, it is relational It deals centrally with policies (it is a purposeful concept besides being a descriptive concept) It takes into account conflicts
This way of reasoning leads to ask what the new concepts that are proposed to grasp the dynamics of change mean when observed from the South Knowledge economy/knowledge society Learning economy/learning society New types of divides (between whom?)
Some questions Is inequality important at world level? Is inequality a problem in terms of policy Is inequality a problem at all, or the real problem is poverty? How are STI related to the overcoming of inequality?