The Latin American Experience
Edited by Gabriela Dutrénit and Judith Sutz
Chapter 13: The possible dynamic role of natural resource-based networks in Latin American development strategies
The success of the four Asian Tigers in catching up in development and the major growth leaps of China and India have posed a double challenge to Latin American countries. It demonstrates that development is achievable; however, the window of opportunity used by the Asian countries is no longer available to newcomers. It is therefore necessary to identify a viable technological opportunity space and to develop an adequate strategy for taking advantage of it. Given the rich endowment of natural resources enjoyed by the region, and the accumulated experience in the exploitation of these resources, this chapter approaches the question of whether natural resource (NR)-based industries, together with the processing industries, can provide such a space for innovation, in which case, they could serve as a platform for successful development strategies. In line with the neo-Schumpeterian and evolutionary tradition, we start from the idea that some industries offer more opportunities for innovation and dynamism than others, and that in the past, NR industries have not been on the list of industries with higher opportunities. However, we believe that the reasons for this view are largely historical, that is, they are mostly linked to the manner in which these industries developed since the 1920s (within the mass production paradigm) and to the typical behaviour of multinational corporations (MNCs) active in the raw materials sector during the twentieth century.
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