universities? Conducted in an industry cooperative research organization? In a particular firm?

Presently, different countries are trying various of these approaches to enhancing technological competencies. In my view, we should welcome the diversity, not label it "unfair," because we have a lot to learn about what kinds of policies are effective and what kinds are not.

INTERNATIONALIZATION OF BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY

I want to conclude by returning to my opening point. A central irreversible development of the past quarter century has been the internationalization of trade, business, and technology. An important consequence is that national policies aimed at enhancing the technical capabilities of "national" firms increasingly are at odds with the structure of business. National firms, particularly in "strategic industries," now often have a set of technological agreements and relationships with "foreign" firms. In the United States and Europe (less so in Japan) many of the establishments within national borders have their central headquarters in other nations. As Robert Reich has asked, "who is us?"

However, I would like to put the matter another way. While this conference is focused on the consequences for the United States of Japan's growing technological capabilities, perhaps that question is too narrow and slanted to orient the discussion in a useful way. Let me propose that the real question is how the United States can learn to cope better with a world where technology is international, where the advanced industrial nations are basically on a par with each other in terms of access to technology, as are the firms that happen to be headquartered in different nations. We must understand that, today, national borders and citizenship, including our own, mean much less economically than they used to mean.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement