Volume 44, Number 172,
January-March 2013
Higher Education and Research for
Productive International Competitiveness
Iris Guevara
GLOBALIZATION AND COMPETITION ( ...continuation )

Applying knowledge to work creates vast potential for productivity. Thus the importance of an educated society, prepared to develop complex tasks. Investing in human capital is a must to avoid falling behind. As such, from now, what will be important is the productivity of non-manual laborers and applying knowledge to knowledge. The traditional production factors have now become secondary.

“Today, knowledge and ability are the only source of competitive advantages in an era of manmade brainpower industries, the global economy is dynamic and always in transition” (Aguilar, 2002: 112).

Throughout the last two decades of the twentieth century, investment in research and development grew in the most advanced economies. According to information from the World Bank, in 2007 the five economies that directed the greatest proportion of gdp towards spending on research and development were:1) South Korea 3.47%,2) Japan 3.45%,3) United States of America 2.67%,4) Germany 2.55%, and5) France, 2.10%, while Mexico only destined 0.50% of its gdp to this area (World bank, 2010).

As previously indicated, major technological changes have come from a profound transformation in the global economy, and the fundamental variables of this transformation are information and knowledge. “The force that turned an industrial society into a knowledge economy is increased productivity. The transition to this new economy is a phenomenon present in highly industrialized countries” (Aguilar, 2002: 110).

Applying knowledge to work creates vast potential for productivity. Thus the importance of an educated society, prepared to develop complex tasks. Investing in human capital is a must to avoid falling behind. As such, from now, what will be important is the productivity of non-manual laborers and applying knowledge to knowledge. The traditional production factors have now become secondary.

Knowledge has become a springboard for growth and economic development, which leads to the need to promote a culture that fosters creativity and the spread of knowledge. Generating new knowledge in Mexico occurs mainly in public institutions of higher education and research centers.

Technological progress is directly linked to scientific research and, as such, the training of scientists and engineers. In general, universities and technological institutes provide this training, while public universities and academic centers are the source of the broad majority of all research in developing countries. In Latin America, most research and development projects are financed or carried out by State institutions (Moreno Brid, 2009: 12).

The majority of productive transformations linked to knowledge advancement in globalization have been generated in developed countries, placing developing countries more and more at a disadvantage.

The market share of high technology manufactures within the manufacturing sector has increased. Their global participation in 1985 was nearly 12%, but by 2005 it reached 19%. Asia was the region that most increased its share, going from 29% to 41% in two decades. But within this continent, China had the greatest increase, going from 2% in the mid-1990s to 16% in 2005. The participation of the European Union in high technology manufactures declined from nearly 25% in the mid-1990s to 16% in 2005. The United States increased its participation in this type of industry, from 17% in the mid-1980s to 24% in 2005 (National Science Board, 2008).

Despite the difficult labor market in recent years, worsened by the 2008 financial crisis, the workers that manage to join the labor market are those that respond to new capital needs —taking into account the type of development achieved by each country— and these are workers closely linked to the changes demanded by new technologies, the best trained and educated; thus the importance of investing in higher education and in science and technology.

Published in Mexico, 2012-2017 © D.R. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 193, April-June 2018 is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
CP 04510, México, D.F. Tel (52 55) 56 23 01 05 and (52 55) 56 24 23 39, fax (52 55) 56 23 00 97, www.probdes.iiec.unam.mx, revprode@unam.mx. Journal Editor: Moritz Cruz. Reservation of rights to exclusive use of the title: 04-2012-070613560300-203, ISSN: pending. Person responsible for the latest update of this issue: Minerva García, Circuito Maestro Mario de la Cueva s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México D.F., latest update: June 27th, 2018.
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