More than education?

Of course, there’s more to tech competitiveness than simply better universities.

Ken Jarboe of the Washington, D.C.-based Athena Alliance reacts today to a recent Washington Post op-ed article by Microsoft’s Bill Gates on “How to Keep America Competitive.”

Gates calls for better math and science education, and an expansion of the H-1-B Visa program. But Jarboe raises concern about the consequences of that program, which some contend contributes to the the offshoring of U.S. engineering jobs.

Jarboe quotes an amusing anecdote from author Clyde Prestowitz, who in his recent book “Three Billion New Capitalists” recounts a conversation with his computer engineer son. Prestowitz questioned his son’s idea of leaving engineering to open a snowplowing operation in Colorado. But as his son replied: “they can’t outsource the snow.”

So what else counts towards competitiveness? Among other things, notes Gates, “government investment in research, strong intellectual property laws and efficient capital markets are among the reasons that America has for decades been best at transforming new ideas into successful businesses.”

Or as Jarboe concludes: “Time we start thinking more broadly. Deal with education and immigration policy. But let’s also start thinking about the 100 other things that need to be done. . . Partial solutions are not enough any more.”

Nicely put Ken!

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2 responses to “More than education?

  1. Russ — thanks for the compliment. However, that last quote is actually directly from Bill Gates. I think we need to do a lot more in a number of other areas if we are to maintain our innovative capacity.

    Ken

  2. Russ Arensman

    Ken,

    Thanks for pointing that out! I’ve re-edited that blog entry to give credit where due to Mr. Gates, and substituted another final quote from you.

    – Russ –

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