Guano, gold, silver, rubber, wool and other natural resources currently make up the largest exports of South America. However, due to the instability of natural resources, many economists believe that reversing the deficit in the STEMs (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and focusing on research and development may solve the region’s poverty.
Currently, the average South American country spends 0.7% of gross domestic product on technological research and development. Economist Sebastian Rovira argues that economies based around natural resources without a focus on technological development are not sustainable. This will eventually lead to larger problems for South American economies.
Fortunately, Brazil has been leading the region in tech development with a large increase in patents and academic papers. Brazil intends to continue this development by providing 75,000 students with science and technology scholarships to study at top universities by 2014.
While many governments realize the benefits of South American STEM jobs, Rovira believes the private sector needs to do more to generate tech jobs and facilitate technological growth.
– Pete Grapentien