21st Century Wire says…
IMAGE: Hi-tech and R & D campuses are sprouting up in India, and attracting top US talent.
Despite President Obama’s grandiose speeches and stagecraft, America is now a service and retail economy, and is longer the world’s leader, and will not be tomorrow’s leader either.
Talent will go where the opportunities are.
Traditional US-focused Eurocentric institutions like Davos are still slow to admit in public that Asia has begun to drive R & D markets in many fields that were previous dominated almost exclusively by American and Europe. The main reason for this trend eastward, is that over the last three decades, the west has given away its manufacturing base in exchange for short-term bottom line shareholder profits.
Reversing the migration of skills and production to Asia will be neither easy, nor without considerable socio-economic pain. To reverse that trend, the west could try to implode its economy and devalue its currency, and import more cheap labour from south of its border – but even if a program of shock therapy is implemended, there is no guarantee it would net results anytime soon…
Brain drain: Funding and industry leave America, followed by top minds
The US government spending crisis has caused visible pain for research and innovation in America. Already this year, billions of dollars in federal cuts due to sequestration has affected federal grants for scientific research.
HI-TECH START-UPS: China is attracting global talent, and has the market to drive development.
But this problem is only the tip of a much bigger problem facing the redundant superpower.
Two fundamental building blocks for any modern technological, progressive economy are discovery research and scientific investigation. By their nature, these two pursuits carry a much slower return on the investment. In the past, the US could afford to be patient because its thriving industrial sector was a magnet for the word’s talent and investment – which is why successive governments have routinely placed their dollars there. That engine which used to power the US juggernaut has been disassembled and shipped overseas.
Politicians will certainly blame the current crisis in academia on sequestration and partisan feuds over federal budgets, but that’s only part of the story. Cuts are not only consigned to federal budgets. According to a report by the National Science Foundation, States have also cut funds for public research universities by 20 percent, in constant dollars, between 2002 and 2010. If money is cut back, that means researchers are laid off, programs are frozen, and labs are closed. As a result, talent will begin to look abroad for better opportunities…
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