As Long As China Doesn't Overtake US in Innovation, We're Good – Right?

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Rather than be worried about whether or when China’s economy will overtake that of the US, perhaps we should be more concerned with how the US ranks in innovation.

US Ranks 10th in 2012 Global Innovation Index

As long as US companies can take the lead in innovation, sheer consumption volumes should not matter as much as they used to, right?

Well, turns out the US has drifted a bit in the innovation regard, according to the recently released Global Innovation Index 2012 put out by global business school INSEAD and the World Intellectual Property Organization, a UN agency.

This year’s index puts the US at No. 10, just under Ireland. That’s right, the land of Guinness is more innovative that the US. Switzerland, Sweden and Singapore are ranked Nos. 1, 2 and 3, respectively.

Granted, the survey rankings are rather relative. According to the report, “the performance of the USA is closer to that of Switzerland and Sweden. For example, the percentage of R&D financed by the business sector has been steady at close to 70% in the USA and Switzerland, with a slight but steady decline in Sweden. For venture capital deals and strategic alliance deals the three countries also show comparable performances.”

But — much like China’s recent GDP growth and future projections — the US’ “rate of improvement is lower than that of the two innovation leaders, explaining the country’s relative slippage in the rankings.”

“In a series of indicators, the USA has been facing a weaker performance. This is particularly evident in specific areas, mostly those linked to education and the tapping of global talent, and to research, patenting, and scientific publications,” the report states.

Although these findings may be seen as tangential to any conclusions drawn in this post, they do relate to how the US and all its sectors — public and private — approach the role of manufacturing and production, especially in metals sectors. After all, we’ve seen how it pervades manufacturing education and training programs.

As long as the US keeps a leg up on China in terms of innovation — and this covers myriad areas, among them intellectual property and potential cyber-wars — it may matter little if China’s consumption habits catch up to us.

Comments (6)

  1. Matthew Lee says:

    I agree with your argument, though I believe that innovation and economic output are more intertwined than you have suggested.

    Improvements in technology, i.e. innovation, is actually a key factor in long-run economic growth. Therefore, looking at innovation in order to compare the US and China is one step deeper than looking at output. But it is a good step, because if we know the driving force behind output, we can direct our attention there.

    If interested, there is a more detailed explanation: http://www.onefreelunch.blogspot.com

  2. Matthew Lee says:

    I agree with your argument, though I believe that innovation and economic output are more intertwined than you have suggested.

    Improvements in technology, i.e. innovation, is actually a key factor in long-run economic growth. Therefore, looking at innovation in order to compare the US and China is one step deeper than looking at output. But it is a good step, because if we know the driving force behind output, we can direct our attention there.

    If interested, there is a more detailed explanation: http://www.onefreelunch.blogspot.com

  3. Matthew Lee says:

    I agree with your argument, though I believe that innovation and economic output are more intertwined than you have suggested.

    Improvements in technology, i.e. innovation, is actually a key factor in long-run economic growth. Therefore, looking at innovation in order to compare the US and China is one step deeper than looking at output. But it is a good step, because if we know the driving force behind output, we can direct our attention there.

    If interested, there is a more detailed explanation: http://www.onefreelunch.blogspot.com

  4. Matthew Lee says:

    I agree with your argument, though I believe that innovation and economic output are more intertwined than you have suggested.

    Improvements in technology, i.e. innovation, is actually a key factor in long-run economic growth. Therefore, looking at innovation in order to compare the US and China is one step deeper than looking at output. But it is a good step, because if we know the driving force behind output, we can direct our attention there.

    If interested, there is a more detailed explanation: http://www.onefreelunch.blogspot.com

  5. Matthew Lee says:

    I agree with your argument, though I believe that innovation and economic output are more intertwined than you have suggested.

    Improvements in technology, i.e. innovation, is actually a key factor in long-run economic growth. Therefore, looking at innovation in order to compare the US and China is one step deeper than looking at output. But it is a good step, because if we know the driving force behind output, we can direct our attention there.

    If interested, there is a more detailed explanation: http://www.onefreelunch.blogspot.com

  6. Matthew Lee says:

    I agree with your argument, though I believe that innovation and economic output are more intertwined than you have suggested.

    Improvements in technology, i.e. innovation, is actually a key factor in long-run economic growth. Therefore, looking at innovation in order to compare the US and China is one step deeper than looking at output. But it is a good step, because if we know the driving force behind output, we can direct our attention there.

    If interested, there is a more detailed explanation: http://www.onefreelunch.blogspot.com

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