“Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door.”—Ralph
Much of the discussion on the rise and the subsequent decline of technology in America rests on examples drawn from the manufacturing sector of the economy. One may argue that as manufacturing becomes less important in the evolving economy then research and development is diminished in importance as well. After all, economic theory holds that as economies mature they move up the ladder from agrarian to manufacturing (industrialized) to service. By some accounts, the service sector already makes up approximately eighty percent of today’s economy and it is time to give up the old paradigms. The fallacy of this argument will be uncovered in this chapter.
The advantages and disadvantages of America’s service economy has received much press (usually negative) relative to such issues as the outsourcing of high paying jobs to Mexico, China, India, and the Philippines; illegal immigration; and the bankruptcy of General Motors and other manufactures in the current recession. To many, the service sector comprises the personal services or menial jobs such as housekeeper, gardener, or hairdresser. However, it is much more.
The service sector is defined officially as comprised of the following business categories: utilities; construction; trade (wholesalers and retailers); transportation and warehousing; information (including software, telecommunications, movie and broadcast); finance and insurance; real estate; professional, scientific and technical services (including computer system design and scientific R&D services); management of companies and enterprises; administrative and support (including waste management and remediation); educational services; healthcare and social assistance; arts, entertainment and recreation; accommodations, and food services; public administration; and other services. Alternatively, it is everything that is not agriculture,