January 7, 2012 Leave a comment
Japan, Germany, China have a strategy to develop, acquire and manufacturing advanced technology to build major industries. Japan has the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI). Germany has the Fraunhofer-Geselschaft. China has… well the entire government and Communist Party apparatus.
But here, Congress killed the only program designed to keep America moving forward in technology. Richard McCormack reports in Manufacturing & Technology News (subscription only) that Congress defunded the Technology Innovation Program (TIP) and did not fund the proposed Advanced Manufacturing Technology Consortia (AMTech) program. You may not have heard of them, but these small programs deserved to be expanded and improved.
Despite all the free trade utopian predictions that the U.S. would move from low tech to high tech as globalization occurred, we are now a small player in advanced technology. We became a net importer of advanced tech in 2002, a problem which has deepened considerably since then. When you innovate, it spurs major added innovation. When you don’t innovate, well…. you don’t get the future innovation. It happens elsewhere.
If the U.S. is to be successful in producing more of what we consume, and reclaiming the status of a successful trading nation, we need a strategy to do it. America became the biggest economy in the world, in the early 1900′s, through implementing a strategy to develop, acquire and manufacture innovative products in major emerging industries (radio, television, aviation, etc.). The history of great nations shows this is how they did it.
Now, in the U.S., only the defense department does this with defense manufacturers. The civilian program, which was very small anyway, is currently dead.