Showing posts with label Knowledge and Innovativeness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Knowledge and Innovativeness. Show all posts

Friday, August 7, 2009

Knowledge and Innovativeness ..... book review by Rajashekhar Devarai


KNOWLEDGE AND INNOVATION FOR COMPETITIVENESS IN BRAZIL By Alberto Rodriguez with Carl Dahlman and Jamil Salmi .- Washington D.C : The World Bank .- 2008, pp. 247, Rs.1112.00
“Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives”. – James Madison.
The growth and equity have engaged the global intelligentsia through out the history of mankind culminating into major issues, schools theories and perspectives. The third dimension i.e., The Knowledge Dimension (more often spelt out as knowledge and innovation dimension) explicitly stated as a growth driver, a decade ago or so is triggering for a paradigm shift in our thinking. “Knowledge and Innovation for Competitiveness in Brazil” stands out as a timely addition. The work is authored by Alberto Rodriguez, Lead Education Specialist in Human Department for Latin America and the Caribbean Region (LAC) with Carl Dahlman of Georgetown University and Jamil Salmi of the World Bank’s Human Development Network. The ‘Knowledge Dimension of Economic Development is indeed acknowledged in all quarters, ranks and files. This World Bank instituted study is quite timely as a bench mark for Middle Income Countries like Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC). Brazil as a country, eighth largest by population and 5th largest by territory, despite its positive initiatives on debt and inflation management and its much acclaimed glory period of 1960-1980 (known as Brazilian Miracle), as a matter of fact averaged only 2.5 percent per annum over the last 10 years., which is about only half the pace of India and China.
The report acknowledges Brazils’ initiatives to halt hyper inflation and pay down external debts. Though this helped Brazil stabilize its economy for sometime, in the long run Brazil missed out on the front of development and growth. The study used an analytical framework developed by World Bank Institute under the K4D (Knowledge For Development) initiative of the Bank, for evaluating countries’ readiness to successfully integrate into the global knowledge economy. The report beginning with an executive summary is spread out in eight chapters suffixed with approximately stuffed appendices. The report strongly recommends Brazil to undertake a broad systemic reform process for increasing the competitiveness of its economy and to accelerate growth. The specific recommendations depicting, ‘Who Needs To Do What’, are brought out in the chapter on “From Analysis to Action”.
This study on Brazil proposes concrete actions in 6 key areas viz., the Enabling Environment, Knowledge Creation and Commercialization, Acquisition of Foreign Knowledge, Leveraging and Dissemination of Technology use, Basic Education and Skills and Tertiary education. The report briefly outlines Brazil’s trails and concerns to raise its living standards and the much desired course of actions charted out by the authors and the World Bank Team, to bring Brazil to innovation ready level. It indeed is a testimony for all Middle Income and Low Income nations to tighten their belts and get ready to reap the multiplier effect of Knowledge and Innovation initiatives to help play their respective roles in Global Knowledge Economy and Society. It is an event indeed to note that, roughly a month after the publication of this report, the World Bank announced four year US $ 7 billion Country Partnership Strategy (CPS). This country Partnership Strategy would go a long way in addressing the recommendation and guidelines pronounced in the report. What is lacking in the study is its total neglect on the front of Environment and

sustainability with reference to growth and development. Never the less, the contents, policy guidelines and development imperatives spelt out in the report are useful to all policy makers, academics , researchers, business people and all others concerned world over. Academically speaking, the report fills the gap in research with regard to relations between micro economic inputs such as Health and Education and Macro Economic outputs such as Growth and Development in the domains of Global Political Economy. The Knowledge Initiative (so emphatically pursued in this bench marking report) by and large continues to percolate continuously into micro and macro issues and concerns of human life and society locally and globally. Let this review be concluded with the authors own words, “We hope that this volume will contribute to Brazil’s efforts to analyze its strengths and weaknesses and chart an effective way forward, for itself and for other middle-income nations. In taking on this challenge, Brazil leads the way from many countries that might also benefit from a close examination of their capacity to innovate and compete.”

Rajashekhar Devarai (Book Reviewer)
Pp 86-88 IN : Akruti Journal of Infrastructure.- 2(4) ; July 2009. (Akruti Citygold Institute, Mumbai)

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