National Innovation Systems, Social Inclusion and Development
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National Innovation Systems, Social Inclusion and Development

The Latin American Experience

Edited by Gabriela Dutrénit and Judith Sutz

The book has a strong theoretical foundation with empirical illustrations from diverse Latin American countries. As a whole, it offers a comprehensive exploration of the foundations of the theory of National Innovation Systems. The authors explore the particular problems that many Latin American countries have faced when trying to build innovation systems associated with development strategies, particularly those that take into account social inclusion.
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Chapter 1: Innovation and democratisation of knowledge as a contribution to inclusive development

Rodrigo Arocena and Judith Sutz


For discussion and action to take place, a certain level of basic agreement is required. Regarding development, this basic agreement, in its most stylised expression, is formulated as a description and as a prescription: great disparity is observed in average living conditions between different regions of the world, and it is postulated that we should try to change the situation, especially regarding the most underprivileged human beings. In this way, we can advance towards a synthetic concept: ‘Human development is the expansion of people’s freedoms and capabilities to lead lives that they value and have reason to value’ (UNDP, 2011: 1). This conceptualisation was presented more extensively in the first Human Development Report in 1990: Human development is about the expansion of the opportunities of human beings, among which the three most essential are to enjoy a long and healthy life, acquire knowledge and achieve a decent standard of living. Other opportunities include political freedom, the guarantee of human rights, self-respect, and what Adam Smith called the capacity to interact with others without ‘feeling ashamed to be in public’. (UNDP, 2010: 12) This more extensive characterisation is less satisfactory than the one previously expounded, for various reasons; for example, it could be argued that the ‘guarantee of human rights’ is less essential than ‘acquiring knowledge’. Therefore, we prefer to work based on the synthetic concept of ‘human development’ originated by Sen (1999) and mentioned at the end of the previous paragraph.

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