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Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future
Although other solutions are undoubtedly possible, the committee believes that its recommendations, if implemented, will help the United States achieve prosperity in the 21st century.
Having reviewed trends in the United States and abroad, the committee is deeply concerned that the scientific and technological building blocks critical to our economic leadership are eroding at a time when many other nations are gathering strength. We strongly believe that a worldwide strengthening will benefit the world’s economy—particularly in the creation of jobs in countries that are far less well-off than the United States. But we are worried about the future prosperity of the United States. Although many people assume that the United States will always be a world leader in science and technology, this may not continue to be the case inasmuch as great minds and ideas exist throughout the world. We fear the abruptness with which a lead in science and technology can be lost—and the difficulty of recovering a lead once lost, if indeed it can be regained at all.
The committee found that multinational companies use such criteria3 as the following in determining where to locate their facilities and the jobs that result:
Cost of labor (professional and general workforce).
Availability and cost of capital.
Availability and quality of research and innovation talent.
Availability of qualified workforce.
Indirect costs (litigation, employee benefits such as healthcare, pensions, vacations).
Quality of research universities.
Convenience of transportation and communication (including language).
Fraction of national research and development supported by government.
D. H. Dalton, M. G. Serapio, Jr., and P. G. Yoshida. Globalizing Industrial Research andDevelopment. Washington, DC: US Department of Commerce, Technology Administration, Office of Technology Policy, 1999; Grant Gross. “CEOs Defend Moving Jobs Offshore at Tech Summit.” InfoWorld, October 9, 2003; Bruce Mehlman. 2003. Offshore Outsourcing and the Future of American Competitiveness”; Bruce Einhorn et al. “High Tech in China: Is It a Threat to Silicon Valley?” Business Week online, October 28, 2002; B. Callan, S. Costigan, and K. Keller. Exporting U.S. High Tech: Facts and Fiction About the Globalization of Industrial R&D. New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 1997.