I want to thank Laura Schlafly of Career Choices With Laura for submitting this great post on The Politics of American Innovation Today.
Within an organization, be it a local non-profit or an international manufacturing behemoth like Apple, we will always find individuals who are the internal politicians and influencers within any decision process. If we have a proposal, our agenda, for some significant change then it behooves us to entice the influencers to be inclined to our idea by offering something which will be seen as a desirable advantage for them.
Similarly, but on a more global scale, the decisions that stem from the desire for companies and countries to be ever more innovative to achieve mastery of global markets, growth of emerging economies, and international political hegemony, creates tremendous pressures on a country’s leadership. I read with great fascination a recent January 21, 2012 N.Y. Times article, titled:
“How the U.S. Lost Out on IPhone Work” This well-researched article elicited many comments and opinions on the current state of innovation in America, which has been widely decried as having become substandard in various ways, when compared to that of China. To me, it is an economic transition that played out in the 1960’s through the 1980’s with Japan’s path from a country of cheaply made copycat products, to a world super power producer of superior designs with high quality.
Below, I have posted the reply of one of the anonymous commenters, which I happen to align with.
“We sell iPhones in over a hundred countries,” a current Apple executive said. “We don’t have an obligation to solve America’s problems. Our only obligation is making the best product possible.””
Exactly. It is up to us as individuals and up to our government as our representatives to solve these problems. As individuals we can make sure to educate ourselves and have good skills. Our representatives need to ensure that our schools can teach such skills to those willing to learn them and to provide the type of environment where companies can succeed.
We cannot force anyone to manufacture anything here unless the environment is right. If we force companies to produce here in an unprofitable way, soon no one will be producing here. Better, we can entice high tech companies with an educated work force, a predictable business environment, good infrastructure, and a steady tax regime. We also have to accept that we cannot out compete the world in every industry.
Let’s start by educating our kids so that they can perform engineering and design jobs. We should not lament that we do not have any 12 hour night time factory jobs where workers live on-site. We should instead prepare our children for higher value-added jobs so that they can enjoy a better life.
Such are the politics involved in the selection of where to locate major production facilities in a global economy. So much more political maneuvering occurred behind the scenes than is revealed in this article.
Career Choices with Laura