For decades the US has been investing in research and development, but neglecting manufacturing. Since it is only the manufacturing of products that can repay investments in R&D, this strategy is really a loser–except for multinationals. They can make money manufacturing abroad–no American workers are needed, except few sales clerks at $8 per hour.
This is hardly rocket science, but many efforts to reap the benefits of American R&D in America have been ineffective. But we have to keep trying. The latest effort was announced by the Obama Administration on June 24–the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership. This old EE might call it AMP, or R&D&M, adding manufacturing as an essential follow-on to R&D.
WTEC analyzes alternate universes abroad to seek policies that work. Some countries (you know who you are) have made a spectacular success from the M part, sometimes without much of the R&D part, at least to start. Learning from abroad is essential in finding strategies for zero-sum games–like seeking world market share of high-tech sales. It’s silly to contemplate your own navel to see what has to be done; you have to learn from your successful competitors. Let’s start by banishing the term, R&D alone, and always adding the manufacturing part: R&D&M.
I’ll discuss the Administration’s new AMP program in the next post in this context.
R. D. Shelton