Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Policy


Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Policy
Since Vannevar Bush wrote Science: The Endless Frontier, we have had a science and technology policy that focused on basic research and on mission-oriented technology. The policy worked well for over 40 years. We had a well-integrated science, technology, and innovation system that was related to how our economy worked and to our place in the world.

We had a dominant corporate position in virtually every sector of the United States economy a dominant global position. Our defense establishment had a dominant role in terms of United States research and development. Diffusion of ideas around the world were slow. We had major corporation and public laboratories with clear missions, and particularly with respect to corporate laboratories, a sufficient economic margin to make different kinds of bets and to make long-term bets.

There was a clear system, and it worked. The public sector had a clear, major role, and made a substantial impact. If you take computing as an example, government-sponsored research and development played important roles in time-sharing, graphics, networking, work stations, risk computing, and parallel computing.

Now the system, the model, the paradigm has changed. Global industries are all now vastly more competitive. Defense is not as dominant a factor. There is as least as much spin-in of important ideas as there is spin-out, or there ought to be. Diffusion is vastly more rapid.

This not a bad picture. There is in this economy and particularly in one as competitive and as open as the United States economy enormous pressure to innovate for productivity. We have created whole new institutions like the venture capital industry. The United States system that we all can dimly see today will probably enable us to innovate more, mobilize more investment, and achieve faster and higher returns that the previous system did.

This is going to be a different model. The commercial sector is going to cater to national security and dual use in the Technology Reinvestment Program (TRP). Long-term, applied research and development is going to matter. Joint ventures across an industry's value change are going to matter and, hence, the way in which both the TRP and the Advanced Technology Program (ATP) function.

We think the Clinton technology policy is an effort to think systemically about the system of innovation for the United States, the system that is right for the economy of the next 40 years for a turbo-charged, information-rich global economy. It is necessarily a work in progress, and it will evolve. We look forward to the debate, but we ask that our critics try to think as systemically as we have tried to.

I would now like to turn to Paul to ask him to start the panel.

Paul G. Kaminski
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