translated from Spanish: Why should Argentina invest in science?

how long telling us “developing country”? A lot. Have we developed ourselves? No is a matter of time? No, we are not in way of development. Recently we were given with another label, the “emerging economy”. However, it is in view of anyone that our economy does not “emerge”, rather is immersed, with Plumb and without oxygen. This year, for the third consecutive time, resonates an important part of public opinion the disproportionately low level of income to the career of the scientific researcher of CONICET. The spread of this problem is a healthy sign. Our society perceives that it is something not working properly. But see, in particular, what happens. CONICET, afloat, the State, through universities and CONICET, devotes resources to train scientists and technologists, professionals highly specialized in different branches of knowledge which, at the end of his long training, cannot find a job, not they have a role in our society and our economy. This happens because the current Government’s agenda does not include at their core the domain of any proprietary technology. In its paradigm, science is a cultural asset, and technology is purchased abroad, where it is generated and advances. In this plan, both the CONICET and the other institutions of the national system of science and technology, either they are or are oversized. And, in fact, materialized a strong dismantling of the National Institute of agricultural technology (INTA), for example. But these ideas have no majority support in Argentina, in the population or in political leadership. Due to greater public awareness of the situation, at the CONICET not could move much; in fact, there was no actual layoffs, as other agencies there were many. The question of income to CONICET reveals the conflict between the objective and the practical possibility of the current Government’s policy: stays at the CONICET minimally afloat because its dismantling is deprecated by most of society, but its product, i.e., the knowledge generated and the highly qualified professionals have no role and destiny in this project for a country. Investment in science for economic development and what is the downside? Can we not have a prosperous country without science and proprietary technologies? The factual reality shows us that not. Why? Because all economic activities lose value over time. Either because the offer multiplies, because its production is made easier or is a new technology that makes obsolete the original activity. Consequently, it is of vital necessity constantly update the economic activities incorporating knowledge, science and technology. In fact, all countries do it. All, without exception. The difference between them, which mark the evolution of their competitiveness, is the rhythm that made it and if they are generating their own knowledge and technology or not. If the update of economic activities makes assimilating technologies that were developed entirely abroad, the advancement is concrete obviously delay. How much delay? It will depend on the degree of importance that the owners of technology assigned to their competitiveness future. In short: nobody gives competitiveness and a lie that you can buy any technology. It’s a global race, where the rhythm make it developed countries. Developing countries start below but going faster than the developed and thus climbing positions, “develop” and improve their relative well-being. Countries lagging as Argentina go slower, and therefore lose positions and their relative well-being decreases with time. Science, culture and underdevelopment conceive of as a purely cultural commodity Science (something good, nice and neutral that we do have to look at and show from time to time), and technology as a commodity that you can purchase abroad is not only the position of the Government current but that has been the dominant position in the Argentine political scene throughout our history. Only in a few isolated periods it changed paradigm, and promoted the development of science, technology and knowledge as drivers of development. The last period of this kind was between 2003 and 2015. Discourse and political decisions put to science and the technologies at the heart of the country project. But unfortunately not he promoted it is the required size. Between 2003 and 2015 global Argentina (public and private) investment in science and technology increased from 0.4% to 0.6% of GDP; an average rate of 0.016% GDP per year. The world not only developed reinvests fractions much greater of their GDP on Science and technology (between 1.5 to 4.2% of GDP), but that increase it every year at an average rate of 0.03% GDP per year, i.e. twice the speed than what did Argentina in the period 2003-2015.Lo s developing countries do so at even greater rates. China, for example, makes it at a rate of 0.08% GDP per year for at least 25 years. The same Pablo (Brazil), some with growth rates of investment in science and technology up to 0.3% was promptly other States which boosted development processes such as Korea of the South, Israel, Finland and the State of San GDP per year. The results are striking: since 1980 China multiplied its GDP per capita by 45, while Argentina only by 5. South Korea, multiplied its per capita GDP by 100 since 1970.

The chart compares the increase in the investment in r & d in different countries. As you can see, Argentina is far behind.

During the past three years, total investment in science and technology was reduced, 0.6% GDP to 0.5% GDP. Not only was reduced public investment but also private. The financial, speculative and short-term private investment is only stimulated. At the same time, no efficient incentive for productive private investment, and even less for investments in scientific and technological developments coupled to production have not been implemented. In short, go slow but in the direction of development, we will go at full speed in the direction of underdevelopment. I stress that all data are expressed in percentages of the product, and not in nominal values that could find excuses in momentary crisis that reduces the gross product. These data expressed policies, priorities and visions of the future (or past). * researcher CONICET – Experimental Physics Prof., Faculty of exact and natural sciences, University of Buenos Aires. On Twitter is @FernaStefani.En this note:

Original source in Spanish

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