Las dos economías de la innovación

HONG KONG – Durante 250 años la innovación tecnológica ha sido el motor del desarrollo económico. Sin embargo, la economía de la innovación es muy distinta para aquellos que están en la vanguardia y para aquellos que tratan de alcanzarlos.

En el caso de quienes llevan la delantera, la economía de la innovación empieza con el descubrimiento y culmina en la especulación. Desde la investigación científica hasta la identificación de aplicaciones comerciales de nuevas tecnologías, el progreso se ha logrado mediante prueba y error. Las tecnologías estratégicas que repetidamente han transformado la economía de mercado –desde los ferrocarriles hasta Internet– han requerido la construcción de redes cuyo valor de uso no se podía conocer cuando se instalaron por primera vez.

En consecuencia, la innovación en los lugares que van adelante depende de fuentes de financiamiento desvinculadas de las preocupaciones sobre el valor económico; por ende, no se puede reducir a la asignación óptima de recursos. La función de producción convencional de la economía neoclásica ofrece un enfoque peligrosamente engañoso para interpretar los procesos de la innovación de vanguardia.

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