Roumen Georgiev, Vice-president of the International Union of Economists, True member of the International Academy of Management, Doctor of Economic Sciences, Professor „International innovative networks are now need“. A report at the XXIIUE members congress
One of the principles of the strategic Chinese art of victory says that difficulties do not lie in action but in revealing „the emptiness“ which in the future will become „the fullness“ of the inceptive process. And vice versa, when everything has ripened, everybody will see the finalized „fullness“ and since it would be too late to exert any influence on the process itself, much greater efforts will have to be put in. I do think that here at this present congress and under the existing conditions of modern China one of our responsibilities as experts is to define „the emptiness“ on the grounds of the incipient trends of globalization whereas we as International Union of Economists can take on our share in filling that „emptiness“.
In the current situation of global economy we are witnessing right now, the following major contradictions could be differentiated that require a specific joint solution approach:
Firstly, crisis distinctions in potentials for development
The innovative and technological basis of developed economies under circumstances of vigorous globalization has reached critical superior levels and is considerably isolated from that of the Third World countries. This is one of the reasons for the third world countries to keep abreast of all spheres of life. Some developing economies of the so called „newly emerging markets“ have been trying to eliminate the outlined total breaking off of leading countries by means of asymmetric measures in non-economical spheres, most of all in the political and military one. Other countries have been seeking elimination of their falling behind through uncontrollable contraband, counterfeit, transfer, copying and re-sale of technological products. This causes grievous losses to economies.
Terms of frequent use like „digital gap“, „technological fault“ and other of the kind present a good account of reality in certain key domains such as information and communications technologies, yet the said terms do not bear any constructive connotations and their simple replacement with each other does not prompt a solution to the dilemma. Business in underdeveloped countries, their population as well as governmental institutions and structures would hardly agree the catastrophic gap in these domains to be „filled in“ solely at the discretion of developed countries. To a considerable number of countries in the world this signifies a lot more than their mere becoming sources of cheap work force or „raw- materials“ to the advanced economies. This would mean to them to lose their independence, their population to be assimilated and to gradually vanish from the map of the world.
The problem is reduced to the good organization of exchange as well as protection of intellectual potentials, products and knowledge of organizations and countries. The ongoing critical innovative and technological falling behind represents one unacceptable trend not only to the population of the critically underdeveloped countries but also to leading economies and their economic unions now proceeding to the stage bearing the name “ Economies of Knowledge“. As it is well known, at this stage dialogue and interaction between „the explicit“ and „the implicit“ knowledge is of paramount importance to development and security.
The only possible solution lies in the joint and competently guided process and technological progress that includes a well-organized and controlled access to technologies which are to be implemented for the purposes of sustainable development.
One of the successful solutions thus far found consists in the establishment, under various programs, of Innovative Centers on the territory of the European Union, including Bulgaria. The fact that such centers are limited to the bounds of the European Union, however, appears to be a shortcoming. Such Innovative Centers, based upon the public-private partnership of governmental institutions and private, academic, educational, professional, etc. entities, could attach a considerably more precise and useful meaning to technological and economical cooperation even on the territory of the bigger continent of Eurasia.
It would be of much expedience if the International Union of Economists could draw the attention of high business circles and policy makers in Eurasian countries to this idea, why not to those from other continents, so as progress to be achieved. I venture to think that interest would be displayed since the unsoundness of actions thus taken already becomes apparent, judging by the reaction of voters in quite a lot of countries.
Secondly, Global Techno-Genetic Phenomena
The impact of irresponsible technological process over global environment and related to it unwanted phenomena like global warming and resulting climatic changes in particular until recently was being denied in the public sphere or it was being inadequately admitted. Lately it was admitted that such a problem existed but now it seems as if it starts to be magnified.
The course of action to be undertaken comprises in objective research work, even though only to determine whether climatic changes observed in different parts of the world represent a techno-genetic problem at all. Research work, though, confronts with lack of developed technologies and drastic shortage of funds and infrastructure in quite a lot of regions on the planet. Typical examples of this trend are the catastrophic destruction and floods caused by tsunami waves in recent years in some countries in South Asia as well as in the basin of the Indian Ocean. However, the existing special economic zones in those cases did not give evidence of being leading factors for problem solving.
Considering the integrity of technological process that has to do with determining and also preventing severe environmental crises and catastrophes, the role of a well-organized network of Innovative Centers could be of paramount importance. Moreover, sharing technologies and – innovative solutions in this sphere is of critical importance even to the most developed countries which during the last 1 or 2 years indicated that they, too, are appreciably vulnerable.
As a matter of fact, since 2004 Bulgaria has been suffering periodically Acts of God that caused dramatic damages without any comparatively adequate counteractions whatsoever to be found.
Thirdly, Pandemic Threats
Since the beginning of the past XX century, after the widely spread flu epidemic that took almost 40 million human lives, countries are periodically confronted with pandemic threats (global epidemics) and Europe and Asia are obviously afflicted with them the most.
Most recent examples are the SARS outbreak in Asia, intercepted with the help of energetic and decisive actions, and the gradually subsiding spread of the so called „Bird Flu“ due to radical measures taken on governmental and global levels.
It is doubtful, however, that anybody could guarantee non-occurrence of other future threats that would not be as effectively neutralized.
It becomes quite obvious that the situation necessitates large scale sharing and dissemination of medical knowledge and most of all of adequate technologies, medicinal and information products for the purpose of which the network of Innovative Centers and entities that I propose could be of exceptional benefit.
Fourthly, Techno-Genetic Chaos and Marginal Social Strata
Hyper-competition under the conditions of vigorous globalization, together with low level of transfer organizing and acquiring of new ideas and technologies, leads to chaos and rapid growth of the significance of marginal strata in social structures. One of the most vivid examples can be related to the use of dramatic proportions of the Internet and modern information- communications technologies for purposes of carrying on trade with pornographic and pedophilic materials, for purposes of undisguised prostitution, contraband, delivery of counterfeit products, etc. as well as for dissemination of ideas that overtly contradict values of democracy and moral having been preached by world philosophic and religious systems for millennia.
Countries have been acting against these phenomena by making use of law-enforcement general restrictive and punitive-preventive measures predominantly. Most surveys already show unconvincing results.
The better choice in this case is to make possible at least part of this enormous potential of energy and creativity, used up by young people mostly to the detriment of steady economic growth, through total measures to be directed towards some useful activities within the scope of innovative business and the social sphere. Innovations and based on them entities, established by young people, it is a proven fact that they could be part of those total measures. In this sense, the network of Innovative Centers would not be „the panacea“ but it would be included in the combination of „medicines“.
Fifthly, Education/Training of Poor Quality Particularly in Countries with Pre-Industrial and Industrial Economy
Quite a number of experts forecast for the near future increasing demand in business spheres for specialists of high qualifications in all different business fields and this also applies for leading developed countries.
Acquiring necessary knowledge, its transformation into specific services and products and subsequent self-accumulation of personal knowledge with regards to business, tends to increasingly become the most important requirement for success. In countries with pre-industrial and industrial economy one narrow purpose would not be so much the presentation of so called „program studies“ than “ the teaching through action“ how problems of development and utilization of technological managerial and other types of innovations and ideas should be resolved. It is impossible to render assistance in organizing this process in dropping behind countries without networks and alliances having been established for the purpose of propagating, presenting, implementing and protecting innovations like patents, know-how, etc. Of course, these networks are characterized as informative, especially in the beginning.
The presentation of the above, together with the topic of today’s meeting of the International Union of Economists, i.e. „World Experience in Developing Special Economic Zones“, suggests the idea to consider the options as to how to commence establishing Special technological spheres for development that would be formed about information networks, Innovative Centres and entities regardless of their limited number at the beginning. Networks and centres should not be regarded as a priority by certain political and economical unions only. They should be viewed as bridges between all interested in them countries, regions and organizations.
Suggested special technological spheres for development are not and can not be regarded as bearers or instruments of ulterior motives and concealed purposes. Management of such networks should be carried on according to the principles of legality and transparency that comply with the regulations of legislation in all participating countries including the European Union which Bulgaria joined in January 2007. Such an Innovative Center on the territory of Bulgaria could have the following functions:
A) Dissemination of innovations, analyses, normative documentation, specific scientific research work and methods of teaching by means of activities based on established by the Innovative Center demands of the Bulgarian and European market;
B) Representing and upholding the interests of its foreign partners in the field of intellectual property (patents, know-how, etc.) on the Bulgarian and European market;
C) Organizing and ensuring joint participation of its Bulgarian and foreign partners in European programs for financing of innovative projects.
It stands to reason that „mirror image“ structures of the Center in other countries would have identical functions only on different national and regional markets.
I do hereby place the project: „International Information Network for Innovations“ at the disposal of the International Union of Economists on the grounds of which, after nominating the partners, a detailed business plan to be developed referring to its implementation and establishment of Innovative Centers in countries taking interest in it. I can affirm that a number of leading Bulgarian financial and investment companies and funds have already realized the possibilities for innovative cooperation not only in Europe but also beyond its bounds as their strategic resource and they express readiness for such a partnership.
As they say here in the host country of China: you can walk even a one-thousand-mile road by taking the first small step.
Статията е тема на броя на сп. Econom, бр. 1, 2007 г., Издаван от Международния съюз на икономистите (IUE)