Friday, September 24, 2010

Preparing to be a third world country

Lots to rant about this week. Today its going to be about US economic development policy.

As in, we have none.

I have had the opportunity to talk to people from many different countries and governments about startup funding for a new business in the past year or so. Its a software infrastructure project that has the potential to have a major developmental impact on the countries electronic entertainment industry.

Canada, Singapore and Scottland all have programs where they will pay 50% of the salaries of engineers hired in their countries to pursue this project.

Germany and the EU have programs where they will pay for the costs of commercializing university research.

What about the US? The US has the attitude that anything that is useful for industry should be funded solely by industry. In other words, we have no policy of support for the development of our high tech industry in this country. At all.

This is frightening. We have effectively lost all manufacturing in this country. When I was at Sun a common idea floating around was that this was okay because we would always be *the* center of intellectual property and new ideas.

I thought that was hubris then, I think its provably false now. With other countries actively investing in their high tech industries the way we once invested in a space program I am afraid our time at the top of the heap is coming to an abrupt close. Of the three top game consoles today, the only one that was created in the US i the one that doesn't make money. I am referring of course to the XBox360 and the huge sums of money Microsoft has poured into buying the number two console spot.

We have Apple still making innovative product, but that innovation is almost immediately copied and then riffed on by companies in Asia. I wouldn't peg our hopes to that particular horse. Apple's lead is primarily in industrial design, and thats a talent that can be developed anywhere with a little bit of effort. And at still less then 10% of the PC market and a seriously threatened position in mobile computing, they are hardly a drop in the world market bucket. The other 90% of the PC market? Thats already majoratively owned by Korean and Chinese computer makers.

Other signs of our retreat into third world status are the growing gulf between the rich and the poor and the evaporation of the middle class. With every step in that direction we are look less and less like a modern industrialized nation.

They say a laurel wilts the fastest when its sat upon. And we have planted our posteriors smugly upon ours for far too long. Either we snap out of it and remember that a rising tide rises all boats, and a falling one drops them, or we cede our place in the world to countries that need no reminding.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

Kynth said...

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