The Sisyphus Challenge: Knowledge, Innovation and the Human Condition in the 21st Century

to appear in Globalization and Governance

Francisco Sagasti

Published: February 2003

Keywords: Sisyphus, knowledge, innovation, human condition, science, technology, developing, global, Technology and Capacity Development, Poverty Reduction


Efforts to build domestic capabilities to generate, acquire and utilize knowledge are crucial for attempts to improve the human condition. Building science and technology capabilities in developing countries appears to be a Sisyphean task, however. Time and again investments are made, people are trained, institutions are built, and policies are designed and implemented only to see them fall apart and disappear without trace. The main argument is that developing countries must judiciously invest scarce resources to build their capacities for creating, acquiring and utilizing scientific and technological knowledge, and this should be done without ignoring their heritage of indigenous knowledge and techniques.

Disciplines: Science and Technology

Publication: TheSisyphusChallenge.pdf