Brazil-India-US Technological Learning

TCLab's new postdoctoral scholar Jose Ribiero and Smita Srinivas are building a program on how technological learning is manifested in three countries. We know that economic growth and concerns of employment are both linked to technological learning, but we have some hunches about why economic theory doesn't take us far enough in appreciating why the links between industry and agriculture manifest in particular ways.

The study at the first stage is centered on the machine tools sector. Why machine tools? No country yet has industrialized without some capability in it. At the same time, the technological learning embedded in this sector travels unevenly across industry and agriculture and across urban and rural areas. We know that India, Brazil, and the US -all of which have dynamic machine tools capability-see very different outcomes of its use in agriculture and industry. With the help of M.S. candidates Christine Hui Wen and Jessica George, we are building a composite picture of productivity changes and learning prospects using engines and gear boxes in tractors and irrigation systems for instance to understand how sub-sectors of the economy are changing. Many influential studies have shown us how learning can boost both industry and agriculture. We want to study the mechanisms that connect capabilities and products to sectors and regions.

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What the candidates in India’s general election are ignoring 12/05/14  By Smita Srinivas

India’s manufacturing and agricultural productivity needs serious attention right now. Yet, remarkably, prominent Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) candidates have said precious little about it on their campaign trails.

"For most, the match ends when the Sun goes down, but in the Morro da Mineira favela, in Rio de Janeiro, play can continue long into the night, thanks to lights powered by the players themselves.

The six LED floodlights surrounding the field are powered by 200 kinetic tiles buried under the Astroturf, which capture the energy generated by the players' footsteps.

As players put weight on the tiles beneath the pitch, it causes electric-magnetic induction generators to kick in and generate electricity."

Image copyright PaveGen

 

 

 

The discussion elaborated on themes from Smita Srinivas's Market Menagerie: Health and Development in Late Industrial States—a far-reaching analysis of technological advance and market regulation of the biotech and pharmaceutical industries in India, Brazil, China, Nigeria, and South Africa—as a springboard into the difficult responsibilities of reporting across media and cultural divides.

With some two-thirds of India’s GDP coming from the urban areas, cities are the driving force of the country’s economy. This trend is set to increase as the country undergoes a massive urban transformation where, within a span of thirty years, its urban population is expected to double - from 288 million in 2000 to 590 million by 2030 – making up some 40 percent of India’s people. How India manages this urbanization - the second largest in the world after China’s - will largely determine the shape of the future for its more than a billion people.

 

 

This article argues that the technological innovation is a contextual process whose relevance should be assessed depending on the socio-economic condition it is embedded in. Without this, technology-led economic policies (of Catch-Up varieties) are unlikely to meet the needs of most people, especially in countries where innovation and poverty reside side by side. We analyze micro-level account of the cognitive and socio-economic context within which innovations arise and argue that a process of real importance is being sidelined: the ability to innovate under 'scarcity' conditions.