Posting in Education
A new survey suggests Americans are more pessimistic about the country's role in future innovation than outsiders, but it could be just a matter of time before reality catches up with perception.
For the data junkies among you, Newsweek has just published some research on American innovation that just so happens to be funded by Intel (although the news organization declared independence when choosing the questions and interpreting the results). The article, "The Decline of Western Innovation," and some of its companion pieces are great cases for why it isn't just the healthcare system we should be overhauling and why hacking your R&D budget might look good on the short-term balance sheet. Long term, not so good.
Given all the hooplah this week about the United States and China making all nicey nice, it's interesting to note that the survey base came from 4,800 adults in the States, China, Germany and the United Kingdom. Comparing the perceptions of the Americans and Chinese is especially interesting, so that is of course what Newsweek has done.
Turns out that generally speaking, we are a more pessimistic people than our Chinese counterparts, at least when it comes to inward reflection about innovation. Consider the following:
- 61 percent of the Americans believe the recession has had a negative impact on American business innovation, versus 47 percent of the Chinese
- 81 percent of the Chinese believe that the U.S. is staying ahead of China in innovation, versus 41 percent of Americans
Generally speaking, those Americans who believe that the United States is falling behind in innovation cite poor math and science education as the biggest factor -- 42 percent believe that is the root cause. The next nearest response is the 17 percent of Americans who believe the American government is not doing enough to support technological innovation.
Personally speaking, I think a survey of this type is a good reality check. A jolt. The good news is that most of the rest of the world doesn't think we are as behind as WE think we are. But there's only so long that this can last, before reality will catch up with this perception. The accompanying Newsweek article "Is America Losing Its Mojo," suggests ways that businesses can address the problem.
Key themes in that article:
- Solving the funding gap for science research
- Addressing the education system
- Developing a more rational immigration policy
- And (this is a big one folks), accepting responsibility for the solution.
Nov 17, 2009
@bobc4012 I believe that the more educated someone is, the more likely they are to vote for a centre-left party, not the other way around. @LarryPTL, that would be a fine argument if China were actually a Communist country; I suspect like Vietnam it's now "communist on top, capitalist underneath", i.e. a single-party dictatorship defending itself with draconian censorship under the auspices of Communism but allowing a capitalist economy to flourish in every meaningful sense. I actually suspect that China believes USA is "ahead of China in innovation" (which is pretty loose wording, BTW) simply because the USA are where China want to be, i.e. rich.
Stano360, because they will be given amnesty and be able to vote "legally" for the party in power. If you allow innovators, doctors, etc. to be given priority, they will not vote for a party who wishes to redistribute their hard-earned income to those who contribute nothing meaningful. In politics, always follow the vote of the "masses who are continuously promised the hard-earned income of others".
This is a big one to me. Why do we allow millions of people to sneak in this country to contribute nothing meaningful. Yet, innovators, scientist, doctors etc. from India, China et al are not given a priority?
Because of the simple fact that America is still the land of opportunity. The 'from each according to ability, to each according to need' philosophy of communism punishes innovation and prevents innovators from enjoying the fruits of their labor. That is the key. Unless we can keep the rewards that come with successfully taking on the risks involved in innovating, what incentive is there to stick our necks out and be different? This is one of the reasons are founding fathers were so careful to ensure property rights were enshrined in the Constitution (i.e., forbidding the corruption of blood, establishing patent and copyright laws, and placing solid restrictions on eminent domain).