Resources, Graft and Development: The ‘Real’ Triple Helix of the Developing Economy

The Triple Helix Model of Innovation essentially has three strands: Academia, Government and Industry to foster an innovation economy. This is necessarily true of the industrialized world but the real Triple Helix in Developing Economy is the relationship between resources to be exploited in the emerging markets, the internal private sector with its technological prowess and monetary muscle and the often feeble home administration playing facilitator to the corporate forces and multi lateral agencies.

Development in terms of Infrastructure and access to livelihoods are the main priority of governments in the developing world and often Graft is the negative externality of the process. Corruption eats in to progress, but development is  given more priority. Development normally reduces poverty levels and a middle class grouping emerges. But at a certain inflection point, graft stifles growth. This is the case with India currently with this phase with the skeletons of a scam a day popping out of the closet. Spectrum, Coal and now Thorium, our kids now will know all the name of minerals by heart, all thanks to our present dispensation including the rare metals grouping in the periodic table of elements which hardly anyone remembers beyond grade 10th.

Valuation of extractable resources in developing countries prior to extraction is contestable, but the nexus between politicos and the corporate sector for resources is natural yet un holy. Graft in a queer manner, can speed up the developmental process like in many a country like Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia. Graft in a way can be categorized as an unofficial transactional cost of operating in a developing nation. No one can deny that day to day fact. 

The question which arises here is whether it is the lack of institutions with the teeth to bite can account for accountability in the allocation process. On an even more basic level- what is more precious; power from coal fired plants or a super transparent and super long time time consuming process for resource allocation. I will let the reader decide for himself.

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