The Hale Podcast interviews Kathryn Ibata-Arens, Vincent de Paul Professor of Political Science & Director of the Global Asian Studies Program at DePaul University. Her new book, Beyond Technonationalism, Biomedical Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Asia is published by Stanford University Press. An expert in Japan, she spent six years researching entrepreneurship in four countries, Japan, China, India and Singapore. Among her conclusions, just the right amount of protection and openness, combined with size and distance to internal and external markets, leads to the successful competition in biomedical markets. She calls this theory of state Networked Technonationalism or NTN.
By contrast, the United States has been the greatest proponent of technoglobalism, fully open borders but now something has changed. In a stunning reversal of trends, China is now defending its use of technologies developed elsewhere in the world as belonging to humanity, and the US is fighting hard to protect its technologies. Perhaps this is important to maintaining its pole position. Ibata-Arens uses a non-Asian metaphor to describe the optimal mix of openness and protection.
Janus is the Roman god of beginnings, openings, and doors. Open to the outside, closed and protective to the inside, the Temple of Janus was open only during times of war. Likewise, Asian countries seeing to improve their innovative and entrepreneurial potential have been compelled to open to the outside world, despite the risks to the domestic economy… This dilemma—open and exposed or closed and left behind—presents a challenge to national governments and is the central problematique of this book.