In a feature for CNN's Global Public Square, ITIF President Rob Atkinson reflects on Germany's manufacturing strategy. While there are cultural and historical differences between the United States and Germany that makes consensus and cooperation more of a challenge here, the United States is no stranger to the idea of a shared sense of mission. The mobilization of American factories at the start of World War II and moon landing are dramatic examples of this. Less dramatic but equally impressive were changes in trade, education, tax and R&D policies adopted in the late 1980s to meet the economic challenge of Japan and other countries. The economic peril we face today pales in comparison to what we faced in the late 1980s. Only time will tell if we will look back at 2011 as the fourth year of a lost decade and 2012 as another year we continued to accept the end of American economic primacy.
Jobs that Build the Economy
ITIF president Rob Atkinson will present “How Advanced Manufacturing Drives Innovation and Wealth Creation in the United States" as part of the Jobs that Build the Economy conference. The conference will discuss how advanced manufacturing can grow our economy, maintain the quality of life for all Americans, and sustain a broad-based middle class. Topics will include: industry demand for skilled, U.S.-based employees; public and private elements of a national manufacturing agenda; the need for a multiple-pathway educational system including nationally portable, industry-recognized credentials; and the strategic value of market diversification and innovation.
Stick to the Middle East Tom
Rob Atkinson highlights the misconceptions of Thomas Freidman with regard to the China currency bill, affirming a large part of the recession has to do with the fact that systemic Chinese mercantilism hollowed out our manufacturing and tech base, leading to the loss of millions of American jobs. Friedman arguing that when a country systematically attacks our economy, that if we fight back it would cause a trade war, misses the point. America needs to effectively respond to Chinese mercantilism: start defending ourselves.
A Bretton Woods for Innovation
In a World Policy Institute article, Senior Analyst Stephen Ezell reflects on the 44 nations that convened in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire to make financial arrangements for the post-World War II economy. While these institutions worked well for half a century, now that the commodity-based manufacturing system has evolved into a knowledge and innovation economy, the strains on the Bretton Woods system have become clear.Going forward, the challenge will be to balance countries’ pursuit of the highest possible standard of living for their citizens in a way that promotes, rather than distorts, global innovation. We need a new international framework that sets clear parameters for what constitutes fair and unfair innovation competition, creating new institutions (and updating old ones) that maximize innovation.
Washington Ideas Forum
ITIF President Rob Atkinson will be interviewed during a lunch session as part of the third-annual Washington Ideas Forum. The Forum gathers an audience of 600 people, including government officials, top business executives, global thought leaders, academics, and celebrities. It is the place to hear the most prominent thinkers of our time.