November 17, 2008

Uninnovative innovation policies

David Edgerton writes about what he aptly calls the "techno-nationalist thinking and fantasies" driving research and development government policies around the world:
Raising R&D levels may be a good thing for the world economy, but not necessarily for the spending country. Of course, national R&D policies might not necessarily be good for the global economy either. There is a powerful tendency, everywhere in the world, to believe that national policies should be directed to the national development of a very small number of technologies, usually three, and usually the same three: nanotechnology, information technology and biotechnology. Replicating such a limited portfolio around the world is not a sensible policy for global progress. There are, ironically and unfortunately, few things less innovative than innovation policies.

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