Latin American presidents should take a close look at the latest U.S. technological innovation figures: They show that, despite signs of progress in several countries, the gap between Asian and Latin American countries keeps widening.
New figures from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office show that Asian countries increased their number of patent registrations by 73 percent over the past 10 years, while Latin American countries increased their registrations by only 34 percent.
In overall numbers, the gap is staggering: Asian countries registered 76,000 patents of new products in
"The difference is abysmal," says
Granted, several Latin American countries are moving in the right direction.
But experts agree there are five main reasons why Asian countries are advancing more rapidly, which has helped their economies grow more and reduce poverty faster.
First, Asian countries invest more in research and development of new products. While
That's important because private companies are closer to the markets, and usually invent products that are easier to sell at home and abroad.
Third, Asian universities are producing large numbers of engineers and scientists, while Latin American universities are producing mostly graduates in social sciences and humanities. Last time I counted, the giant state-run
Fourth, Asian countries provide more incentives for companies to invest in research and development, as well as more rewards for university researchers who patent inventions.
"We need a system that rewards researchers not only when they produce a paper, but also when they register a patent," says
Fifth, Asian universities are much more internationalized than
My opinion: The underlying reason why Asian countries are advancing more rapidly in scientific innovation is that their societies have an obsession with education that is still missing in most of
Asian students spend more time in school --
Some Latin American countries, like
But the latest figures from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office show that they have to move faster, because the gap with developed countries and emerging Asian nations keeps growing.
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