Neostructural innovation and directionality in Chilean salmon aquaculture
The recent work of Mariana Mazzucato on the role of public funding in economic development seeks to rebalance debates on innovation to highlight the role of the State, as opposed to the dominant narrative of unregulated private initiative. This is particularly relevant for the case of the Chilean salmon industry where, besides the diffusion of technology and management practices by a combination of international agencies and private initiatives, its boom has been supported by considerable national public funding since the 1970s and especially after the transition to democracy in 1990. In this regard, the main argument of this paper is that the innovation system of the Chilean salmon industry should be understood within a neostructural model of economic development. However, although the State has had an essential role in financing and promoting innovation, we found that it has not served as a guiding entity (directionality) for how innovation should be undertaken. This is important to recognise since it helps to explain why the Chilean salmon industry has been able to direct innovation towards its own economic interests without attending to broader social issues related to its operations, despite this public expenditure. The main conclusion is that, due to the type of knowledge developed and how innovations are valued within the sector's innovation system, the goal is to increase volume, reduce costs, and marginally mitigate negative socio-ecological externalities.
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