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Institutional-Structural Impediments to National Innovation Systems in Latin America: A Veblenian Perspective

русская версия

Опубликовано на портале: 31-10-2014
Тематический раздел:
This paper presents a Veblenian-Institutionalist analysis of the evolutionary path of endogenous innovation capacities, emphasizing the current era. While the primary focus is on Latin America, particularly Brazil in recent decades, Veblen’s highly original understanding of “Technik” provides a point of departure. Contemporary contributions to his theory of institutional change inform the analysis of Latin America. Technology is analyzed in as an institution as well as a factor of production. Technological determinism is alien to the Veblenian perspective. National Innovation Systems are complex weavings of institutional strands first emerging in Germany and the U.S. Veblen presented an important proto-analysis of these systems. Neo-Schumpeterians have carried-forward this analysis, but only within a more restricted theoretical framework. Using these theoretical strands to advance the understanding of the political economy of Latin America has not been a focus of the Eurocentric National Innovation Systems research agenda. In Latin America during the Second Technological Revolution (1870-1913), due to its pre-industrial structure, no significant transfers of the massive new technological capacities developed in Germany and the U.S. occurred. With proto¬industrialization and later the onset of the era of Import Substitution Industrialization (1930-1980), Latin America entered its second of three periods of institutional-structural transformation. During this period of shallow industrialization promotion of autonomous innovation capacities was rarely pursued. The third structural transformation, Neoliberalism, has, in many respects, opened the way for adverse path dependent processes, particularly with regard to endogenous technological capabilities. Latin American has shifted further away from the frontiers of science and innovation. Annual Total Factor Productivity growth is near zero, tied with that of Sub-Saharan Africa at the world’s lowest rate. Only Brazil has seriously pursued the construction of a National Innovation System.
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