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Technology and the Search for Progress in Modern Mexico$
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Edward Beatty

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520284890

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520284890.001.0001

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Constraints to Learning

Constraints to Learning

Chapter:
(p.181) Eight Constraints to Learning
Source:
Technology and the Search for Progress in Modern Mexico
Author(s):

Edward Beatty

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520284890.003.0008

The central paradox of modern economic growth in Mexico is the contrast between a tidal wave of technological imports—adopted and sometimes widely diffused—and a stubbornly persistent dependence on foreign know-how and hardware. Technological imports may alter the nature of work, boost productive output, and yield new sets of winners and losers, but they do not necessarily lead to the effective transfer of skills and knowledge. Chapter 8 examines the gap between adoption and assimilation by focusing on those factors that limited learning and the assimilation of technical know-how. In late nineteenth-century Mexico, opportunities for learning and for interacting with and engaging with global technologies were unequally distributed, with predictable results. In the short run, widespread adoption of new technologies made possible a dramatic transformation of the country’s productive potential. In the long run, they did little to contribute to the development of domestic capabilities among Mexico’s engineers, mechanics, and workers.

Keywords:   technological learning, assimilation, technological capabilities, technology gap, technical education, information networks, government policy, knowledge economy

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