Posted by: Michael Mandel on January 18
John Kao writes
It is January 18, 2008, the presidential campaign has been in full swing for longer than most of us would like to admit, and the “innovation” issue is still conspicuously MIA from discourse and debate.
We’ve had the Iraq “frame,” and now the recession and change “frames.” But what about the Innovation “frame?” Are we just not getting the importance of innovation? Vannevar Bush, presidential science advisor, said it best in 1947, “A nation that loses its science and technology will lose control of its destiny.” More recently the National Academy of Science referred to the problem as a “gathering storm.” And in my own recent book, Innovation Nation, I state that America is losing its innovation edge with profound implications for our security and prosperity as a nation.
Is anybody listening out there in leader-land?
Richard Florida responds to Kao:
The answer to my mind is simple: few people care and those that do figure they can take care of it on their own. Innovative businesses have realized that politics is beyond dysfunction. I learned a lot in my short years in Washington DC. Nobody cares about this stuff. And that goes way, way beyond the Bush Administration, people: just try to find someone on Capitol Hill who cares. Cutting edge companies are walled off in Silicon Valley and many are globalizing to gain access to the talent they need. Their bets are well hedged. The US is a collection of innovative, talent attracting region, embedded in a nation and political system that is increasingly, if strangely, at odds with their needs and requirements.
Who among the current crop of candidates - in either party - has a theory of America's role in the world economy? Who among them has said a word about creativity and innovation? Who among them has uttered a peep about how to extend the innovative, creative, and entrepreneurial regional engines of the economy into a broad and shared prosperity. Silence, as the old adage goes, is deafening - and also very, very telling.
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.