Betting on Biotech: Innovation and the Limits of Asia's Developmental State (Cornell Studies in Political Economy (Hardcover))

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9780801450327: Betting on Biotech: Innovation and the Limits of Asia's Developmental State (Cornell Studies in Political Economy (Hardcover))
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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.

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About the Author:

Joseph Wong is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair in Political Science and Director of the Asian Institute at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto. He is the author of Betting on Biotech: Innovation and the Limits of Asia's Developmental State and Healthy Democracies: Welfare Politics in Taiwan and South Korea, both from Cornell, and coeditor of Political Transitions in Dominant Party Systems: Learning to Lose.

Review:

"Wong deftly evaluates the efforts of three Asian 'tigers'―Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan―to enter the biotechnology sector, seen by leaders in all three places as a vital industry of the future. . . . Compared to developing electronics, developing biotechnology is proving to be much more difficult, and their success in the field is far from assured."―Richard N. Cooper, Foreign Affairs (September/October 2012)



"In this groundbreaking book, Joseph Wong asks the most important question for successful Rapid-Innovation-Based economies―what does the post–Information and Communication Technology (ICT) future hold? In so doing he delves into the essential new tasks facing states wishing to stay 'developmental'―how to handle radical uncertainty and manage the inflated expectations their past success in ICT have created as they now bet their future on biotechnology. Betting on Biotech is a must-read for political scientists and policymakers alike."―Dan Breznitz, Georgia Institute of Technology, author of Innovation and the State and Run of the Red Queen



"Despite Herculean efforts to map success in information technology onto the life sciences sector, Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore have been unable to pick winners, manage risk, or even make ends meet. Joseph Wong has written an important book that forces revision of our view of the developmental state."―William W. Keller, University of Georgia

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