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Posted by: Michael Mandel on July 05
In a comment, pgl asks:
In a $12 trillion per year economy, why not just commit $2 trillion a year to R&D or even more? But we are nowhere close to comitting 17% of our income to R&D. Why not if costs are not a relevant criteria?
Here, I’ll make my position even simpler. In 1978, the federal government spent about 0.1% of GDP funding civilian basic research, outside of health. That included energy, general science, environment, space—everything.
Today, the ability of the U.S. to compete on global markets depends on our technological edge. To keep pace with China and India, the U.S. has to be able to innovate, and create new products and even industries. What’s more, one of the biggest problems the global economy faces is the long-term sufficiency of energy, at reasonable prices.
And do you know how much the federal government has available for basic civilian research these days, outside of health care? Yep, roughly about that same 0.1% of GDP, or about $10 billion.
I’m willing to say that isn’t enough.
Michael Mandel, BW's award-winning chief economist, provides his unique perspective on the hot economic issues of the day. From globalization to the future of work to the ups and downs of the financial markets, Mandel-named 2006 economic journalist of the year by the World Leadership Forum-offers cutting edge analysis and commentary.