A Plan To Help The US Innovate?
from the not-very-innovative... dept
One of the main themes appearing here, of course, is that we believe the economy is much better off when real innovation is encouraged. While many politicians seem to pay lip service to innovation (or, bizarrely, assume that the patent system is a proxy for innovation when the two are hardly related any more), a new report out of Washington DC points out that the US is losing its ability to out-innovate other countries and suggests a few steps to put us back on the right track. Some seem a bit goofy, such as creating a national Innovation Czar and innovation prize to encourage innovation. Others are the sorts of things that seem very obvious to plenty of people, but don’t get much attention in DC, such as completely reforming our patent and intellectual property system. Of course, these days, we’re more likely to get an “Innovation Czar” who thinks that the more patents we have, the more innovation he or she has presided over.
Comments on “A Plan To Help The US Innovate?”
Money money money
Each of the solutions presented is actually about getting money into the rights hands, though, with several of the solutions described it’s about government money. William Safire presents the same dicussion in today’s NYTimes, but specifically related to stem cell research. The key is quality people, quality resources and quality (and patient) management. Each of these takes money. This is why people talk about patent reform, because it’s presumed to be an incentive, and a channel for money towards those who have proven success. Whether it is truely that is debatable.
Age of high overhead costs
What if the software industry matures, while the biotech industry takes over as the dominant high-tech industry, and both will require higher R&D costs? Then intellectual property is more justified. Innovation will come from large government-subsidized universities and labs. The mythology of two guys who start businesses in their garage are just leeching off the innovations made by government.
Does Divorce reduce the number of innovators?
Might I suggest a possible mechanism that might be costing innovative talent.
The divorce system!
It acts as a wealth transfer system from the rich to the poor, from the more capable to the less capable.
It tends to place the children with the less capable.
If the children are very bright they lose a lot: a parent who understands them
and can teach them at their level and help them develop their talents.
The bright parent can made them feel it is “ok” to be bright, instead of feeling alone.
The children lose the stimulation and example that having a bright parent at home provides.
Currently, due to the bias in the system, society provides an incentive to the less capable to start a divorce.
Until this is corrected, the costs of divorce in crime, mental health and lower educational performance will continue to burden society.
You only need a relatively few brilliant people to create a lot of wealth. Reducing their numbers slightly has a big negative effect.
The financial transfer also makes lawyers rich. So bright children do law; thereby drawing the bright away from creative wealth making activities for society.
Laws and judges can make the society rich or poor.
Who will start studying the system wide effects poor behavioral incentives, like divorce, have on society?
The Dreaded Czar Title
Ever notice how, in the US at least, “czar” titles tend to be tied to positions with almost no power? They’re often seem to be created in order to appear like someone is tackling some difficult problem. Yet the czar rarely has control over any significant number of resources or people. What’s the other common Czar title you hear? National information security czar. We all know how well that’s gone.
If you’re ever offered a ‘czar position’, my advice: DON’T TAKE IT!!