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New Economy Forum Briefing
J. Bradford DeLong
- Information technology is based
on more than two generations of formal, scientific research done
mostly at our leading research Universities.
- Clever engineers working in
the family garage are standing on the shoulders of fundamental,
formal, academic scientists
- Investment in basic research
was critical in the past and remains so now.
- Basic research creates the next
- Being close to basic research--having
a constant flow of personnel back and forth--is a powerful aid
to firms seeking to live on the technological frontier.
- Yet, no company could seriously
contemplate a business strategy based on the uncertainties of
- Only governments--or giant,
enduring monopolies like the old Bell System that are largely
immune from capital market discipline--can be expected to undertake
the kind of long-term, open-ended investment program in fundamental
research that will generate basic principles
- Corporate downsizing has led
to refocusing industrial research away from basic science toward
ever more mission-oriented development.
- That is fine, and appropriate
- But the seed corn must be renewed
- Are institutional changes reducing
commitments of large corporate laboratories to basic research?
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