Los Grobo in the Media

February 06, 2020
Fear of progress, brakes to the future
Analysis on the cross between technologies and politics in the light of the Law of Knowledge Economy.

José María Rosa says, in the first volume of his Argentine history, that the Spanish character, and by extension the Latin American character, was forged in the almost eight hundred years of struggle against the Arabs. At that time, the most valuable man was the one who left everything to surrender to war. In contrast, those who managed to get rich, as bourgeois and merchants, were despised. If they prospered it was because they had refused to fight.

This contempt is the trait that Latin Americans drag, to the point of becoming almost a tare. When someone is doing well, we immediately suspect that it is because he did something wrong. And that consequently you have to punish him. In our eyes, it is not that the rich have a social responsibility, as they should have, but rather a debt to society. This perspective is a huge brake on progress.

This Tuesday, in a talk with former legislators, Gustavo Grobocopatel, put the emphasis on the insertion of Africa into the food industry. The world now looks at this region, where so many people live as in China, and that promises accelerated economic growth. But to develop industries such as agriculture, we need human resources that the continent does not possess; consequently, those who aim to do so should look a little further.

To put it in context, Algeria 2382000 km², Congo 2345000 km², Sudan 1885000 km², Niger 1267000 km², Angola 1247000 km², (if that were developed together for world agriculture it would be a new barn in the world). For reference in Argentina we have 3761274km². In Ghana at least 1 million to 2 million hectares could be put into production in "competitive and sustainable agriculture in the coming years."

Conquering a new market is not only about applying the same methods in a new scenario, but knowing the local scenario and idiosyncrasies, but also having innovative teams. In Africa today we talk about robotizing agriculture, so that most of the processes are automated and employ a minimum of labor. Technological development is more profitable than training.

Talking about these issues in Argentina, with our distrust of progress, seems impossible. We prefer to think that these are science fiction issues, and that the only way to get ahead is through a greater state investment. We had another sample of this very limited vision with the suspension of the Knowledge Economy Law, a few weeks ago. This Law proposed to grant benefits to a total of 11 thousand companies in the knowledge-based services sector, including business, audiovisual and technology companies. This sector represents 9% of Argentine exports, a total of almost US $ 3400 million.

The initiative, proposed by the government of Mauricio Macri, sought to favor the growth of the sector and increase profits. Today, however, he has backed out with her. The reasons given are several, but they start from the same suspicion as always; Why give a benefit to the richest, when there are people who are having a hard time? Shouldn't the rich give more instead of asking for more?

This linear reading loses sight of the fact that the income generated by the sector, in terms of employment, production and wealth, would far exceed the loss that would be the benefit that it was intended to give them. This is not the spill theory, but a development theory. If this sector grows, Argentina does well, not only the owners and CEOs. But we live in a country that has a hard time understanding this truth.

On the other hand, it is undeniable that this sector now constitutes the spearhead of growth in the world. Today they are not, as in the past, the companies of material goods that dominate the markets. Automotive giants have given way to digital, and software has become more important than hardware. This means that boosting this sector is a new opportunity for Argentina - an opportunity to enter the market on time and not be late as it always happened. But it also seems a very easy opportunity to miss.

We are just talking about robotics with Grobocopatel, which includes Robocop in its last name and that will be another sign.

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