Technology and U.S. Competitiveness: An Institutional Focus

Technology and U.S. Competitiveness: An Institutional Focus

Technology and U.S. Competitiveness: An Institutional Focus

Technology and U.S. Competitiveness: An Institutional Focus


Technology and U.S. competitiveness globally is a major concern today, and there is no study that surveys the key issues and describes federal and state institutional policies in the United States in recent years. What new technologies are likely to increase our national productivity and international competitiveness in the future? Lambright and Rahm have gathered together a group of experts to provide diverse perspectives and recommendations for dealing with the new world order of technology and competitiveness.


W. Henry Lambright and Dianne Rahm

One of the more critical issues on the U.S. policy agenda is that of "technology and competitiveness." Virtually all nations see their economic futures linked to technology. States sponsor science and technology ventures to aid their competitiveness vis-a-vis one another. The U.S. government worries about technology in terms of Japan and Europe. The former Soviet Union republics and other nations wish to acquire technology that will develop their civilian economies. Without a doubt, technology and competitiveness have arrived as items on the world's agenda. Within the United States, the question is what is to be done about the issue. Competitiveness is a concept that hits hard at the American people in terms of jobs, income, and quality of life. It contributes to a sense of well-being and optimism about the future. It can also provide a basis for malaise and pessimism.

In the White House and elsewhere technology and competitiveness is a controversial issue. Its problem is that there are those who equate it with "industrial policy," and industrial policy goes against the grain of conservative, market-oriented ideology. Also, there is fear that the government does not do well when it intervenes in the economy so as to help certain technologies while (inevitably) neglecting others. The fact that many other industrial democracies do so is ignored or played down.

Yet the global economy is real and is not likely to go away. National economies do not exist in isolation any more. Technological developments in one country immediately impact the scientific, industrial, and political base of rivals around the world. In response to this, the White House cautiously does what it might wish not to do: It moves into programs involving the development and application of new technologies with an . . .

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