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Title: Digital telecommunications technology and the Third World : The theory, the challenge, and the evidence from Brazil.
Author: Hobday, M.
ISNI:       0000 0000 3040 3936
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1986
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During the 1970s the rapid diffusion of microelectronic technology profoundly and irrevocably altered the international telecommunications (TC) industry. Competition between the major corporations increased dramatically, and the industry began a process of restructuring around the new technology. Digital techniques brought about the merger of TC technology with computing technology, giving rise to a new range of services and products collectively known as the information fechnology (IT) industries. Very little investigation into the impact of these changes on the Third World has yet been undertaken. The purpose of this thesis is therefore to explore the economic and technological impact of these changes on one major developing country - Brazil. Part 1 begins by reviewing the current theoretical approaches to technology diffusion and the developing countries, and proposes an amalgamation of two, traditionally separate areas of analysis. By combining the empirical and analytical insights of the 'learning' school, with the neo technology 'diffusion' approach, a conceptual framework for the study is proposed. Using the neo technology perspective, Part 2 analyses the technological and industrial upheavals which currently beset the international TC industry. A set of preliminary arguments are offered regarding the prospects facing Third world countries, both from the point of view of installing modern TC :facilities, and from the perspective of locally manufacturing and developing microelectronic systems. Part 3 examines Brazil's attempt to absorb and diffuse digital TC technology. In the mid 1970s the government introduced a deliberate policy of expanding the domestic TC infrastructure, and building up local technological capabilities. measures were introduced to set up a national R&D facility in digital TC, and a strong effort was made to reduce Brazil's dependence on the multinational corporations as well as to foster the development of indigenous industry. In each of these areas economic and technological indicators of Brazil's performance are presented and analysed, both in the light of the stated policy objectives of the government, and in the broader context of microelectronic diffusion and the developing countries. During the empirical research an effort is made to explore the nature of the accumulation process with digital, information technology, by contrasting this new technological form with previous, electromechanical forms of TC. Using the theoretical concepts developed in Part one, the mechanisms by which Brazil acquired and diffused the technology during the learning process are analysed. By these means the study tries to isolate the ways in which digital technology was accumulated at the levels of R&D, firm, sector, government and macroeconomy. While it is recognised that Brazil is a unusual case among the developing countries, special attention is payed to possible issues of relevance to other Third World nations. In terms of technology policy, it is hoped that Brazil's achievements in managing the technology gap will prove useful to other developing nations currently attempting to efficiently absorb the new technology, and avoid the dangers of a widening technology gap.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Labour studies Labor Communication Economics