A new study has been released by the Economic Strategy Institute.
Click Here to Download the Full Report in PDF Format
Click Here to Listen to the Panel Discussion
Ever since the dawn of the industrial revolution, American scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs have constantly pushed forward the boundaries of technology, creating whole new industries and providing products and services that vastly improve our standard of living.
That may be about to change.
This new report from the Economic Strategy Institute highlights the growing challenges facing America's high-tech economy. The report was released to the public on March 15 at a briefing on Capitol Hill. Joining Clyde Prestowitz, author of the report, were Craig Barrett, Chairman of Intel Corporation; Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist and best-selling author of The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century; United States Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) and United States Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA).
The warning signs are clear: America faces a $55 billion and rising trade deficit in advanced technology products. Falling revenues are forcing many U.S. telecom and technology companies to cut back on R&D spending or outsource such research abroad and limited investment has slowed deployment of high-speed broadband networks. In just six years, the U.S. has slipped from first in global broadband penetration rates to sixteenth.
"Even as the United States has stumbled, the rest of the world has leapt ahead. East Asia has focused on investment in telecommunications networks and is becoming a high-tech powerhouse; South Korea now leads the world in broadband penetration rates and e-commerce turnover. Unless we act now, the United States will find it increasingly hard to recover," stated Mr. Prestowitz.
Meanwhile, manufacturing abroad, benefiting from undervalued exchange rates, sustained and strategic investment in communications networks, tax incentives, cheap financing, fast and ubiquitous broadband networks and increasingly skilled workforces, has attracted telecom equipment manufacturers to set up local factories or simply outsource production to third party suppliers.
During the session, Mr. Barrett stated, "The United States needs a world class telecommunications infrastructure that supports commerce and economic development as it competes in the global marketplace. Unfortunately, America's leadership in this area is in jeopardy. The recommendations outlined in America's Technology Future at Risk - including telecom deregulation, a focus on broadband deployment, and reforming regulatory policies to promote innovation - could help reverse this course. Congress should work swiftly to enact these concepts as part of a comprehensive U.S. competitiveness agenda."
Senator Baucus, the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, echoed this sentiment, "Ensuring American competitiveness in the coming decades demands a comprehensive look at U.S. policy, from education and trade to energy and telecommunications. A second-rate communications infrastructure will slow American innovation, and so will unwise regulations and unnecessary costs. Since innovation is at the heart of America's economic competitiveness, we need to pave the way with sound telecom law."
The study proposes that regulation of the telecommunications industry must not concentrate simply on anti-trust enforcement, but also how to enhance the competitiveness, productivity and long-term growth of our economy. The panelists discussed these ideas as well as the need for the United States to take a proactive approach to encouraging continued innovation and the operation of advanced communications technologies.
Click Here to Read Congresswoman Eshoo's Remarks
Click Here to Read Coverage of the Report from TechDaily