How Developed Are We?

This is a controversial and troubling question for nations and citizens (especially if they are feeling insecure). But daily reality brings more important questions than this: the need to find food, shelter, and preserve or improve one’s health. “Development” in the abstract is a little distracting if it doesn’t speak directly to these essential concerns. Are developed societies those with healthy citizens and residents?

Development is often equated with technological capabilities and intimately tied to our idea of progress. This is because we equate technological ability with being better able to feed, clothe, shelter, and keep ourselves healthy. In “Market Menagerie: Health and Development in Late Industrial States”, which Stanford University Press published a little while ago, I took the question of technological advance and posed it in terms of whether those more technologically sophisticated countries were better able to provide healthcare to their citizens. (More on this theme soon).

On Feb 4th 2013, TCLab has organized a distinguished panel (see the full details at http://www.gsappevents.org/event/narrate-market-menagerie-health-and-development-in-late-industrial-states), of journalists, emergency and aid advocacy leaders, academics and practitioners in urban design and planning, and photojournalists. Our goal? To understand the question of health and development by discussing the complexities of narrative in health. We aim to bring together different professional communities and the public in dealing with essential life and death questions. I urge you all to attend in person or view this in live-streaming video at the website.

We all need health care in some form, and we came into the world dependent on basic or more sophisticated health systems. Under what conditions can technologies in healthcare help us? How do we ensure that all people have access to essential medicines, vaccines, and surgeries? Why are the costs of basic health care so high? How can we best narrate the complexities of access to healthcare, and suggest more direct paths to it?

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This past three years, TCLab-related research has expanded, especially on the economics of innovation and technological learning in agriculture, the health industry, and in urbanization.

In 2014, TCLab research was presented by TCLab Visiting Fellow Jose Eustaquio Vieira Filho at the Globelics conference on the economics of innovation in Addis Ababa.

In 2015, Srinivas and TCLab Visiting Fellow Filho's early paper was published by IPEA, the Institute for Applied Economics Research

The Economic Times reporting on an industry analysis study, estimates that Making locally in the mobile handset industry might be almost entirely domestic by 2020. Whether or not this is a good thing deserves debate, at a time when various studies point to an ecological nightmare in tech-intensive cities and countries, India high among them. These cities are drowning in waste, and toxic electronic waste at that (see The Guardian report ).

Farm versus Firm? Analyzing the institutional questions of Arthur Lewis (shown) and Hayami and Ruttan (1985) at Globelics 2014, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

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.

Countries are unlikely to solve a particular problem unless they have some level of research invested in the effort. The approach in this paper is to use malaria research as a proxy for effective exploitation of local scientific knowledge. We study the malaria-related research output in two countries, Brazil and India, with among the most advanced science and pharmaceutical capabilities in the developing world. We assess local relevance of science and also its integration with international research by looking at almost 60 years of scientific publications on malaria between 1945-2003.