TECHNO FIX: The Technology Gap

  • The division of labour
  • R&D
  • Patents
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  • Created by: Max123
  • Created on: 19-03-13 21:57
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The Technology Gap
Developed world economies are increasingly knowledge based which has been
prompted by information's/communications technology, networking using
internet technology and hitech products and services ­ this has created the
"hyperconnected triad" (North America, Eurasia and Australasia).
However much of the developing world is still industrial or "switched off"
completely. Much of the developing world is left to suffer from environmental
determinism e.g. Haiti and Bangladesh. These countries are extremely vulnerable to
natural hazards e.g. droughts especially subsistence farmers who simply don't have
the technology e.g. irrigation and fertilisers to reduce risk and vulnerability.
The division of labour
Most industrial products have their complex components made in Japan and NIC's and
the less complex assembly is completed in China. The least developed world e.g.
SubSaharan Sahel regions play absolutely no role in manufacture and trade flows.
Many profits will then leak back the source country in the "hyperconnected" triad.
R&D and Patents
This is one explanation for the technology gap globally about $1 trillion is spent every
year on R&D and one third of this is spent in the USA. In the developed world there
are 2,0005,000 research personnel for every million people but only 1050 in the least
developed countries.
R&D allows the technologically developed to stay that way. Most technological
innovations, as measured by patents granted, originate in the developed world. In
2007, 51% of all new world patents originated from the USA, 20% from Japan and
16% from the EU. Patents gain royalties and license fees ­ hugely benefiting the rich
world. E.g. GlaxoSmithKline ­ retroviral drugs for AIDs.
Developed world governments and TNC's invest huge sums in R&D, and high rates of
funding for universities ensure a steady stream of skilled graduates who can carry
out yet more R&D.
Technological Leapfrogging:
this is when a technology is adopted without a precursor technology and could be a
way of overcoming some of the barriers to development.
For example, mobile phones have enabled developing countries to skip the fixedline
technology of the 20th century and move straight to the mobile technology of the
It works using radio ­ there is no need to rely on physical infrastructure e.g.
roads and phone wires.
Base stations can be powered by their own generators in places where there
is no electrical grid.

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You don't have to be literate to use a phone.
Other examples include laptops and wifi (without a costly hardwired network stage),
solar panels and micro HEP (without a complex electricity transmission grid), and the
$3 "life straw" (leapfrogging mains water technology).
GM crops have brought many positive socioeconomic impacts to developing
countries it has increased yields dramatically therefore increasing food security and it
has also improved peoples health and diet.…read more


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