Latin America continues to experience significant economic development challenges. Its exports are abundant in raw materials and in low value added products; its imports intense in consumer products and weak in state-of-the-art productivity enhancing capital equipment.
The generation rate of high productivity technology based enterprises is still slow; labor productivity gains are not developing at a minimum reasonable rate, and there are high rates of sub-employment. LATAM's business depth and diversity are insufficient to compete in global markets; which in turns slow down accruing benefits from open markets participation; and makes people unwilling to fully commit to further structural and open market reforms. Only a handful of countries in Latin America have succesfully implemented market reforms; and even these find extremely difficult transitioning into economies defined by higher human productivity activities.
The consequences of not transitioning Latin America's economies output fast enough into products and services associated with higher productivity human activities are evident throughout the region. The United States, Canada, Chile and Argentina all suffer significant levels of unplanned immigration.
Paradoxically, Latin America produces a significant and rapidly growing number of well trained engineers and scientists; while at the same time the scientific and technological output of the region remains extremely low due to insufficient development of technologies and high technology based businesses. Naturally, this local talent is rarely utilized at their full potential within the region and Latin American economies continue to experience talent drain among their most educated people, and low levels of value adding entrepreneurial activity.
There is a need for expanding the role of Latin America as generator and consumer of high technology products. This kind of development thrust will tend to compensate for trade imbalances with developed countries that are now net importers of Latin America's materials and people; by expanding the exports towards Latin America of capital equipment and of scientific research equipment.
We propose openly discussing the establishment of a private foundation, based in the US or anywhere else in the region, whose primary mission would be to promote the emergence of a loosely coordinated network of applied research institutes throughout Latin America. The proposed network of institutes will be founded and seed funded with the assistance of our foundation and chartered for developing specific scientific and technological competences, for collaborating with each other, for cooperating with universities worldwide, for promoting the formation of innovative companies, and for partnering with global corporations. Each of these private non-profit institutes will be asked to be financially self-supporting through local R&D grants, partnerships, spinoffs and licensing.
We envision the effect of the proposed north-south cooperation network across the America's as being an effective mechanism for promoting value creating applied R&D that will result in higher scientific and technological output, increased intra-region trade, higher standards of living, more open markets, strengthened individual freedoms and stronger democracies.
We have established a discussion group for collecting ideas and opinions. We ask you to contact us with expressions of interest about participating in the discussion for developing and establishing the proposed foundation.
I invite people interested in discussing this proposal to write me at:
A d o l f o O. G u t i e r r e z , P h D
g u t i e a "at" i s t r f "dot" o r g
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