lunes, 22 de noviembre de 2010

Brasil innovation: retos, logros e imposible

La columna es de The Economist


"STAND on the observation deck in Embraer’s final-assembly hangar in São José dos Campos and you can see the case for globalisation laid out below you. Five freshly finished aircraft bear the insignia of airlines from across the world. Brazilian technicians wear T-shirts emblazoned with the word “lean” to emphasise their commitment to the principles of Japanese manufacturing. A supervisor boasts about the company’s ranking in an American guide to best places to work."

"Optimists have more than just Embraer on their side. Natura Cosméticos is emerging as a cosmetics giant by dint of clever marketing and borrowing from others. Everything about the company, from its use of recyclable materials in its packaging to its use of ordinary women rather than supermodels in its advertisements, is designed to emphasise the twin themes of naturalness and sustainability. Natura is also a master of what might be dubbed “lean innovation”. About 40% of its revenues come from products introduced in the past two years. But the company has only about 150 research and development staff compared with L’Oréal’s 2,800. Its trick is to form partnerships with foreign universities and to scour the world for products that it can license."


"But throw in the word “innovation” and businessmen become more philosophical. Brazil spends a paltry 1.1% of its GDP on research and development compared with 1.4% in China and 3.4% in Japan. Last year Brazil fell 18 places in Insead’s annual innovation index, from 50th to 68th. Worse still, its ratio of basic-product to manufactured-product exports was the highest since 1978. These figures confront Brazilians with a troubling question. Can their country become an innovator in its own right, or is its recent growth little more than a by-product of China’s appetite for commodities?"


"Yet Brazil suffers from two huge blocks to growth: red tape and gaping inequality. For all its recent commitment to liberalisation the Brazilian government is still a rule-spewing, incumbent-protecting monster. Brazil comes 152nd in the World Bank’s “Doing Business” rankings for the ease of paying taxes (it took the Bank’s hypothetical medium-sized company 2,600 hours a year to comply with the tax code) and 128th on the ease of starting a business. Mexico is business-friendly by comparison."


El Estado, lo mismo en Brasil que en USA o en Mozambique, es sinónimo de contra-innovación, es decir, un Estado hace todo lo que le cabe hacer para que el espíritu innovador salga huyendo allende fronteras. Si USA ha sido la nación más innovadora de todas las épocas durante los últimos 100 años lo ha sido a pesar del Estado, nunca gracias al Estado (claro, si acordamos que las armas y todo el resto de la gigantesca y aterradora parafernalia militar no son propiamente innovación, sino retardación: nos mantienen en lo mismo que venimos desde hace 25 siglos cuando Platón, siguiendo a los espartanos, propuso su "república de guardianes")

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