Innovation is the Key

A recent David Brooks column in the New York Times lays out an innovation agenda. Its worth reading. Its based on a report from President Obama’s National Economic Council. At the core the strategy is based on a belief that its innovation that will be the driver of future economic prosperity in America.

Brooks argues that rather than the pessimism that seems to characterize America today, there is lots to be optimistic about. We are still the most innovative economy in the world with lots of assets to build on.

He starts with what the NEC argues not to do: pick winners and losers. Rather policymakers should focus on education/human capital, basic research, infrastructure, long term addressing both the federal budget and international imbalances, attracting skilled immigrants, encouraging regional innovation clusters, competitive corporate tax rates and not giving in those who want to more protectionism and to make our labor markets less flexible.

Seems like a good growth agenda to me. And for those of us in Michigan a good agenda for the state as well. Prosperity here will also be driven by innovation. Not recreating the past. The new path to prosperity requires aligning with – not resisting – the realities of a flattening world.

To get there we too should stay out of the business of picking winners and losers and increasing protectionism. Rather we should focus policy on education/human capital, basic research, infrastructure and being an attractive place for increasingly mobile talent from anywhere on the planet.

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