How to Make the World's Poor $500 Billion Richer
Time.com has published an op-ed article by Bjorn Lomborg in which he discuesses the role of Science and Technology in the post-2015 development agenda. In the article Lomborg highlights the key findings from set of research papers written for the Post-2015 Consensus.
Professor Keith E. Maskus from the University of Colorado has written an extensive paper on what works and how much good it will do. As he rightly points out, the UN’s technology-related targets are simply too general and bland. Instead, using the economic literature, he puts forward two proposals.
The first proposal is straight-forward: if our goal is to get more technology available for the poor, maybe we should simply increase investment in research and development (R&D), especially in the developing world.
The point is the benefits from R&D do not just go to the company doing it; there are also broader societal benefits as productivity gains occur elsewhere in the economy and other people learn on the job or see the possibility for more innovation. After Apple produced an innovative touch screen on its first iPhone, the knowledge is now available to lots of products in many different areas.
This broader benefit justifies governments supporting research, either through tax credits or direct government spending on research in public institutions. Right now, the developing countries spend just 0.2% of their GDP on R&D and perhaps 0.3% in 2030. If we instead aim at 0.5% of GDP by 2030, this would naturally increase the direct government costs, but it would also increase the long-run technological innovation and capabilities. "
Click here to read the entire article on time.com