The final piece of evidence [for an innovation shortfall] is the financial crisis itself. After the 2001 tech bust, trillions of dollars flowed into the U.S.—but most of it went into government bonds and housing rather than into innovative sectors of the economy. While subprime mortgages boomed, venture capital investments have more or less stagnated since 2001, with few tech startups going public...
...An innovation shortfall might also have weakened the country's underlying productivity growth, which in turn influenced real wages and the ability of consumers to spend without borrowing. Certainly economists on both the left and the right believe innovation is an essential ingredient for growth. A December 2006 paper by the Brookings Institution, co-authored by Peter R. Orszag, now head of the Office of Management & Budget, observed: 'Because the U.S. is at the frontier of modern technological and scientific advances, sustaining economic growth depends substantially on our ability to advance that frontier.'
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Full Businessweek article here. Excerpts: