US And Europe Not Competing Economically

from the let's-be-friends dept

There's been some recent debate about whether Europe or the United States will be a home to more innovation in the future. The discussion isn't unlike those about China and the US, which pit them as competing economies. But in a period of globalization, are these discussions relevant? European citizens can benefit from US innovation as easily as US citizens can, and vice versa. American investors can invest their money into European startups with little extra cost, if they don't like their opportunities locally. While it's easy to talk about countries the same way we talk about companies (e.g. Google vs. Microsoft), it doesn't make much sense when capital, ideas, and companies freely transcend national borders.
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  1. identicon
    Randy Gordon, 17 Mar 2006 @ 1:29am

    National Competitiveness

    I usually follow China, but I occasionally research Europe.

    Europe is very definitely is in competition with the United States.

    The Europeans have a number of different approaches, some of them, like the Programmes (a five year plan for financing research and startups) http://europa.eu.int/pol/rd/index_en.htm
    are innocuous.

    Others, like their industrial espionage groups, are not. Although they are considerably less effective than their pacific rim counterparts, they have had both some notable sucesses, and some operations that have resulted in real harm to Americans (And if the "love tapes" urban legend is real, some very hilarious failures)

    Unlike most other nationally oriented CI operations, Europe seems to place more emphasis on sabotaging American technical progress and obtaining information to win contracts, rather than stealing technical achievements. European CI groups have a certain provincialism, and tend to think America has few technical secrets worth stealing.

    As an American, I am a little offended by that.

    In the recent past, they have tried to form technical alliances with South American countries, but it seems those countries have decided to ally themselves with China, instead, viewing the Europeans as "proxy Americans". The europeans seem upset with that view. (hehehe, serves them right for looking down on our technical achievements).

    European corporate competition is not anything to really worry about, technically. European open source efforts, on the other hand, are at American levels, and range from pretty impressive (ObjectWeb) to vaporware.

    However, mostly, European open source developers do not appear to consider themselves "European", any more than American open source developers consider themselves "American". I don't think they really count as part of national competitiveness evaluation.

    Far more troublesome is that European corporations have a tendency to import their corruption, bigotry and prejudices into America.

    Many (though not all) non American employees of European corporations in America have very definite feelings about Jews, for example, and are a lot less repressed about acting on their views. The local Jewish community here has lots of stories about some of the more egregious acts.

    Because of various legal technicalities, and a tradition of extremely large campaign contributions, many European corporations feel that they are pretty much outside the jurisidiction of American law. It appears that, in practice, they are correct in that assumption.

    On the other hand, European CI groups are remarkably prejudice free, often containing an equal number of members from the America's, Asia, and Africa, as well as Europe.

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