After World War II, several late-developing countries registered
astonishingly high growth rates under strong state direction,
making use of smart investment strategies, turnkey factories, and
reverse-engineering, and taking advantage of the postwar global
economic boom. Among these economic miracles were postwar Japan
and, in the 1960s and 1970s, the so-called Asian Tigers-Singapore,
South Korea, and Taiwan-whose experiences epitomized the analytic
category of the "developmental state."
In Betting on Biotech, Joseph Wong examines the
emerging biotechnology sector in each of these three industrial
dynamos. They have invested billions of dollars in biotech
industries since the 1990s, but commercial blockbusters and
commensurate profits have not followed. Industrial upgrading at the
cutting edge of technological innovation is vastly different from
the dynamics of earlier practices in established industries.
The profound uncertainties of life-science-based industries such
as biotech have forced these nations to confront a new logic of
industry development, one in which past strategies of picking and
making winners have given way to a new strategy of throwing
resources at what remain very long shots. Betting on Biotech
illuminates a new political economy of industrial technology
innovation in places where one would reasonably expect tremendous
potential-yet where billion-dollar bets in biotech continue to
teeter on the brink of spectacular failure.
Subjects: Political Science
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