Wednesday, March 31, 2004

San Francisco Chronicle - March 29 2004 - "Innovate - Or get used to a lower standard of living" An interesting article here by Burton Richter and Jerry Jasinowski talks about the way the US is falling behind the continuing race for global economic leadership - and blame a large part of that on the weakening of the US's ability to innovate - shown, in part, by the declining number of scientific discoveries, the increasing number of US patents being filed by foreigners - who incidentally also dominate modern scientific literature, and the decreasing number of Americans pursuing science-based careers.

The authors believe that with the decline in the number of American-originating inventions and the shrinking of the US manufacturing base via outsourcing and other reasons; that the manufacturing innovation process will eventually shift to other countries - leading in turn to a decline in the US standard of living.

To overcome all this, the US - and US companies specifically - need to strive to maintain their position as the most innovative nation in the world. To do so, the authors list these 4 steps:

1) All Industries - not just those based in science - must maintain healthy invetments in applied R&D.

2) Companies also need to invest more in training to develop the skills of their workforce

3) The Fed. needs to maintain a healthy diversity in its long term research portfolio

and 4) Policy makers need to examine all aspects of global cost competition to find out how they are achieved

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