Opportunities for measuring technological progress in agriculture
Szûcs, István – Galli, Szilvia – Széles, Zsuzsanna
Keywords: knowledge, trends in agricultural research, R&D costs, technological development, production factors
The knowledge and the experience underlying technical development have always exploited the achievements of scientific research. These new achievements have also promoted the development of science, as researchers have been driven to understand and analyse these phenomena more thoroughly. Almost all of the accomplishments of the scientific and technical revolution have come to light in the research laboratories. This research is becoming more and more expensive. The same can be said about the area of social science research, where the procurement and the processing of basic information have become more and more costly over the years. In the last couple of decades the number of people employed in research has also rapidly increased.
The heart of economic growth is continuous technical and economic renewal, innovation that can be based on high-level basic and practical research. The ecological conditions of Hungarian agriculture are good, they are a lot more favourable then those of surrounding and other EU countries. It is in our fundamental interests to be able to realise the rent-type incomes offered by favourable ecological conditions. In order to realise these permanent (rent-type) incomes, we need to combine better ecological conditions with higher-level technological methods. Otherwise, due to technological backwardness, we may loose the advantages arising from the favourable ecological conditions. Examining the stage of development and R&D activity of the world’s countries it can be said that there is a close (r=0,70) exponential-type correlation between the level of GDP per capita and the ratio of R&D costs to GDP.
According to the function’s parameters, in countries where the index-number indicating the stage of development has a value in excess of 1000 euros per capita, the ratio of R&D-related expenditures to GDP is 5,2 percent higher than average.
Thesis: The stronger the economy of a country is, the more it spends on maintaining and developing its technical level.
First of all it is the sponsor who decides how the results of the basic research will be used. The customer (that can be the state, a company or a private individual) carries over basic research results into practical research or makes them public property (which means that they are available for anyone, having been directly purchased or published).
Regarding the subsidies and direct payments, we can only hope that phasing in, i.e. the continuous growth of direct support until 2013, will be realised and that digressiveness will not apply to new member States until such time as their support reaches the level of EU support valid on April 30th 2004.
It is almost certain that in the next few years EU export subsidies will further decrease and will end with the conclusion of the Doha Round.
We can expect a tightening of the eligibility requirements for support, if only because following the transitional period, cross-compliance will also apply to Hungary.
It is also useful to bear in mind that we cannot expect any significant increase in support, if only as a result of EU budgetary constraints. It is not inconceivable, however, that the EU will exhibit a greater willingness in regard to covert re-nationalisation, that is, it won’t oppose agricultural financing from national budgets. This willingness was already in evidence during the accession negotiations in the form of a possible 30% topping up. In so far as the ratio of national financing increases, we can also expect an expansion in the national sphere of authority and scope for action, though coupled with continued national responsibility.