South Asia

Organized Panel Session

1 - Global Markets, State Sovereignty, Local Justice: Inclusive Innovation in Access to and Conservation of Traditional Herbal Medicinals?

Friday, July 6
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Marigold, New Building

The capacity of economies to innovate in high technology sectors including biomedicals is driven in part by government policy such as investments in research and development. Millennia-old traditions including traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), Ayurveda in India and derivations of the same in Japan are not very profitable on a mass-market scale and thus have been neglected under a new techno-nationalist vision. Techno-nationalism is the idea that the national security of a state rests on its ability to build and maintain innovation capacity in key technologies, often referred to as “strategic sectors”. Within a techno-national system, the goal is to develop a national innovation system that has a competitive advantage in frontier technologies.


The paper explores the evolving role of the state in this global market context through an analysis of science and technology policy in China, India, and Japan targeting biomedicals. It examines societal trade-offs between gains in global market share and the potential loss of potential life saving ancient teachings and expertise in the healing arts. It also situates the findings within frameworks including the architecture of innovation, developmental state, and varieties of capitalism. Initial findings, based on fieldwork 2016-2018, indicate a variation in way countries have attempted to protect and conserve herbal medicinal knowledge corpora and plant genomic resources: China as statist, India fragmented localism, and Japan a private sector (corporate social responsibility, CSR) driven approach. The paper concludes with implications of techno-nationalist style innovation policy in biopharmaceuticals for human health and economic growth and development across economies.

Send Email for Kathryn Ibata-Arens


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1 - Global Markets, State Sovereignty, Local Justice: Inclusive Innovation in Access to and Conservation of Traditional Herbal Medicinals?



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