DSA2016: Politics in Development
The panel focuses on the nature, dynamics and impact of technological change and its governance in the Global South. Contributions integrating and challenging both innovation system paradigms and political economy perspectives are invited.
The nature, dynamics and impacts of technological change in developing countries have increasingly received policy interest in the international development community. Many developing countries have adopted industrial and innovation policies as vehicles to improve structural transformation. The United Nations through its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has put some emphasis on science and technology (S&T), proposing a 'technology facilitation mechanism' (TFM) that likens itself to outmoded models on technological development. Meanwhile, fast industrialisers like China have made significant strides by both investing in domestic capabilities and institution building, while integrating foreign technologies to improve their industrial and innovation performances. Such countries have flipped on its head extant popular 'technology transfer' and 'diffusion models' of innovation. The 'innovation systems' concept has been the dominant paradigm to understand innovation processes across countries since the 1980s. However important contradictions and theoretical gaps remain when juxtaposed with the empirical evidence, and insights from development studies and approaches in the political economy of development. Its assumptions and organising logics present important limitations in taking account of the structural, technical, institutional and political drivers of innovation for sustainable development. The Panel thus invites submissions that explore some of these tensions, and challenge the conventional innovation systems paradigm to advance theoretical frameworks, policy paradigms and tools.
The Panel's guiding question is:
What can we learn about technological change and sustainability challenges in the Global South by integrating political economy perspectives with, as well as challenging innovation systems frameworks?
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.
Governing from behind the market: examining the impact of donor rents on state capacity and technological development in Trinidad and Tobago
The paper centres on the role of multilateral institutions in the formulation of science, technology and innovation policies in Trinidad and Tobago. It advances that their relative dominance has undermined the state's effectiveness in fostering developmental coalitions for technological development.
Over the past two decades, a compelling myth about private sector development (PSD) has occupied the attention of policy-makers in developing countries. Popularised through the Global Competitiveness Index and World Bank's indicators, it signals that improved productivity, technological capabilities and competitiveness can only be achieved through market-friendly policies. The state is therefore mythologised to 'govern' from behind, by ensuring capital has the operating space to allocate resources more 'efficiently'. This paper challenges this circumscribed view of the state, as it has had little impact on improving conditions for technological development. It further interrogates the increased role of multilateral governance institutions as a protagonist in the policy process in Trinidad and Tobago. Through their stories about good governance and providing financing to critical agencies, they have effectively reshaped the balance of power. Consequently, it has reduced the state's capacity to frame problems, design instruments, and take action. Constrained by its own limited resources, technical capabilities and internal power struggles, policy-makers have relinquished certain autonomy. While declining institutional performance helps boost its main argument, historical evidence of strategic and flexible state intervention suggests that public organisations can potentially crowd in private investment, prove successful for generating indigenous knowledge and enhance technological capability. In order to re-balance the unequal terms of engagement, greater attention needs to be paid to domestic resources, indigenous efforts, developing institutional capacity and past experiences.
Sustainability implications of spatial shift in the global capitalist economy for development paradigms
This paper will examine the sustainability implications of spatial shift that is taking place in the global capitalist economy with the rise of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) economies and its further implications for the comparative development paradigms.
The current crisis of global capitalism is the result of interlocking of crises in the financial markets, agricultural markets and the energy markets. Coupled with this three pronged nature of the global capitalist crisis is the spatial shift that is taking place in the global capitalist economy with the rise of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) economies in the 'developing world'. This paper would explore the link between the current global crisis and this spatial shift. Further, this paper would interrogate the meanings being ascribed to this shift namely reverse dependency and the emergence of a just global economic order. The paper would focus on the sustainability implications of this spatial shift and would argue from that perspective that the emergence of BRICS economies does not deserve to be celebrated as some sort of just restructuring of the global economy. In stead the argument of the paper would be that new models of development that embed sustainability as the key feature of development need to be imagined and practiced. This argument of the paper will be the over-arching framework for a critical evaluation of the neo-classical, Marxian and Green perspectives on the current global crisis and its sustainability implications. Some examples of sustainability initiatives would also be provided to argue the case for ecologically informed models of development
Regional developmentalism in West Africa: the case for commodity-based industrialisation through regional cooperation in the cocoa-chocolate production
The paper argues for industrialisation through sectoral integration and better governance of regional markets through creation of comparative advantage. On the example of the West African cocoa sector the feasibility of commodity-based industrialisation through sectoral integration is assessed.
The paper uncovers extensive shortcomings of the current model of regional integration and, on the basis of this critique, highlights the need for a new paradigm of regionalism which emphasises industrialisation through sectoral integration/cooperation and a better governance of regional markets through the creation of comparative advantages. The focus is hence on capacity-building and sustainable development. This new paradigm is dubbed 'regional developmentalism'.
By taking the West African cocoa sector as an example, it is argued that, despite the various structural and institutional challenges faced by most economies in the region, commodity-based industrialisation can be achieved through sectoral integration. Towards this aim the reduction of tariffs and non-tariff barriers is insufficient. Rather, there is a need for suitable regional industrial policies, which could include sectoral integration schemes targeting industries with great potential and are geared towards capacity-building and the creation of forward and backward linkages.
The feasibility of such an approach is carefully assessed by analysing the legal and institutional conditions in West Africa and the political economy of regional cooperation and sectoral integration. Insights from the West African cocoa-chocolate sector case study are compared against ongoing cases of sectoral integration—cotton and leather industry in East Africa.
Industrialization in times of China: understanding the demand-side dynamics of manufacturing sector development in Angola
Emerging manufacturing production in Angola comes out of a growing domestic demand base, supported by economic engagement with China and a growing consumer demand base. Yet the growth of the domestic demand base faces the vicissitudes of the global economic slowdown and political economy dynamics.
This paper investigates patterns of manufacturing sector development in Angola since the turn of the century and shows that emerging forms of manufacturing production in Angola come out of a process of domestic market formation, i.e. an increase in domestic demand. Domestic market formation is partially supported by economic engagement with China because Chinese construction projects increase demand for building materials, while increased export demand from China allows for higher volumes of capital goods imports. In addition, an emerging consumer demand base attracts increasing volumes of foreign and domestic investment, in particular into the food and beverages sectors. This shows that China's impact on manufacturing sector development goes beyond export-oriented light manufacturing, but it also reveals broader challenges in late-industrialization. At face value, statistics seem to suggest some progress in terms of manufacturing sector growth, even if it remains in the shadow of the much larger mining sector. Yet, the Angolan case also illustrates the importance and difficulty of maintaining a growing domestic demand base. The building materials sector relies on government spending on construction, the scope for which is reduced given the slow-down of the world economy and falling oil prices. Demand growth for consumer goods will depend on improvements in income equality.
This panel is closed to new paper proposals.