Enabling technological transformation

The persistence of commodity dependence, as shown in chapter 2, has contributed to the recent revival of discussions about industrial policy or at least the debate about its rationale in both academia and policy circles. However, the context prevailing in the 1960s and 1970s, considered as the golden age of a more interventionist approach in economic management, has changed dramatically. Features such as commodity price volatility, limited value addition in commodities production, and pervasive low productivity as identified in chapter 2, have persisted with fluctuating intensity over more than half a century. Additional elements have also emerged and become constraints in most commodity dependent developing countries. Predominant ones are climate change (UNCTAD, 2019a) and associated stranded asset risks, dominant position of corporations in global value chains, and the automation of low skilled tasks and more generally, as discussed in chapter 3, increased exposure to labour saving technological innovations in both tradable and non-tradable sectors.

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