The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

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For a long time economists have warned that abundant natural resources are bad for economic development because their exploitation stunts manufacturing exports, favours rent-seeking activities by politically well-connected people, and generally leads to unsustainable policies for which, as so often, the poor end up paying the price with lost growth and opportunity. But over the last few years the so-called resource curse has been revisited as historically uninformed, theoretically unsatisfactory, empirically incorrect, and largely useless for development policy.

This volume contributes to this debate by focusing on the technological trajectories of firms and research teams in resource-intensive primary sectors of Brazil, Costa Rica, Peru, and South Africa. The authors provide detailed descriptions of both failed and successful attempts at knowledge intensification of resource-based productive activities in countries that are often, incorrectly, lumped into the category of resource-rich underachievers. The contributors who combine in-depth technological expertise with a theoretical grounding in the economics of learning, technological upgrading, and innovation underline that, more than what countries produce, how they go about it is what matters to development practice.

Delivering theoretical insight with practical examples, the chapters make compelling reading for both scholars and development practitioners.

Open Access

Product information

Format : 198mm x 148mm (Soft Cover)
Pages : 272
ISBN 10 : 0-7969-2213-6
ISBN 13 : 978-07969-2213-7
Publish Year : 2008
Rights : World Rights
  1. Knowledge intensification in resource-based economies
  2. The development of a sugar-based plastic in Brazil
    La Velho & Paulo Velho
  3. The manufacture of biodegradable plastics from maize starch: a case of technological migration, adaptation and learning in South Africa
    Marian Walker & Lindelwa Farisani
  4. Cleaning pollution: from mining to environmental remediation
    Juana Kuramoto & Francisco Sagasti
  5. An analysis of hydraulic technologies in South Africas mining sector
    Thomas E. Pogue & Molefe Rampa
  6. From coffee production to machines for optical selection: a case of lateral migration in Costa Rica
    Elisa Giuliani

Are Africa and South America destined to be 'resource-rich underachievers', or can knowledge intensification change all that? In this engaging podcast, Jo Lorentzen provides background to new economic theory around the 'resource curse' and David Cooper adds greater texture on the role of universities and civil society in 'the third capitalist industrial revolution', the era of the knowledge-intensive economy.

Duration: 9 min 38 sec

Dr Jo Lorentzen is a chief research specialist in the Education, Science and Skills Development research programme of the HSRC and honorary research fellow in the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Contributors Include: Lea Velho (University of Campinas, Brazil); Marion Walker, Lindelwa Farisami and Molefe Rampa (University of the Witwatersrand, SA); Juana Kuramoto (Grupo de Analisis pasa el Desarrollo, Peru); Thomas E Pogue (Tshwane University of Technology), Francisco Sagasti (FORO Nacional International, Peru); and Paul Velho

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