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United States Businesses Technology

The US Drops Out of the Top 10 In Innovation Ranking (bloomberg.com) 364

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Bloomberg: The U.S. dropped out of the top 10 in the 2018 Bloomberg Innovation Index for the first time in the six years the gauge has been compiled. South Korea and Sweden retained their No. 1 and No. 2 rankings. The index scores countries using seven criteria, including research and development spending and concentration of high-tech public companies. The U.S. fell to 11th place from ninth mainly because of an eight-spot slump in the post-secondary, or tertiary, education-efficiency category, which includes the share of new science and engineering graduates in the labor force. Value-added manufacturing also declined. Improvement in the productivity score couldn't make up for the lost ground.

South Korea remained the global-innovation gold medalist for the fifth consecutive year. China moved up two spots to 19th, buoyed by its high proportion of new science and engineering graduates in the labor force and increasing number of patents by innovators such as Huawei Technologies Co. Japan, one of three Asian nations in the top 10, rose one slot to No. 6. France moved up to ninth from 11th, joining five other European economies in the top tier. Israel rounded out this group and was the only country to beat South Korea in the R&D category. South Africa and Iran moved back into the top 50; the last time both were included was 2014. Turkey was one of the biggest gainers, jumping four spots to 33rd because of improvements in tertiary efficiency, productivity and two other categories. The biggest losers were New Zealand and Ukraine, which each dropped four places. The productivity measure influenced New Zealand's shift, while Ukraine was hurt by a lower tertiary-efficiency ranking.

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The US Drops Out of the Top 10 In Innovation Ranking

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  • Finally! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 ) on Tuesday January 23, 2018 @11:33PM (#55990823)
    The Plan is working. This is what winning looks like. Coupled with the 30 percent tarriff on solar, we're going to innovate ourselves down to the bottom.
    • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

      by thelexx ( 237096 )

      Thanks for poisoning yet another discussion with partisan shit because surely there can be no other factors at work. Nope, the US plummeted straight off a cliff and we'll be living in caves this time next year. Fuckwit.

  • Of course! (Score:2, Insightful)

    This is exactly what happens when your culture: denigrates "experts"; relies on "faith" vs "facts" when choosing political leaders; worships reality-TV (an oxymoron if there ever was one), sports and porn above knowledge about relevant topics (quick test: name the top 3 ports players on your ${LOCAL_SPORTS_TEAM}, then name the 3 people who represent you in the US Congress. Start Jeopardy theme....), whip in a spicy sauce of economic decline and inequality destroying people's faith in capitalism and politics
    • by Bigbutt ( 65939 )

      Sports: No idea. Don’t pay much attention to it. It’s the Broncos, I know that (hard to miss :) ).

      Politics: Jarad Polis, Mike Coffman, Ken Buck. There’s a Diana and Ed Perlmutter I think. Cory Gardner is one of the Senators. Hickenlooper is the Governor.


    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      It's simpler than that. Many rich people are heavily invested in old technologies, and want to protect those investments. That means stifling new technology and education that could lead to advancements.

      Since they are rich they have considerable influence over government policy.

    • by dcw3 ( 649211 )

      All my mod points would go to your post if I had any. Bravo sir.

    • The cultural decline you're describing is attributable to television, or more generally, to an advertising-supported business model for media.
  • I'm not surprised (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @12:00AM (#55990901)
    we keep cutting funding to education and research. Companies don't innovate. There's not enough money on the table to make it worth while. Aside from the occasional bored aristocrat it's mostly been the government that financed innovation; usually through the public university system. But nobody wants to pay the taxes for that. Heck, we just borrowed $1.5 trillion over 10 years to finance massive tax cuts (although the cuts for the middle class expire in 10 years, we're not crazy or anything).
    • by muffen ( 321442 )

      Companies don't innovate. There's not enough money on the table to make it worth while.

      Companies do innovate, the problem is that people in general don't. I don't think there is a single company, at least in tech, that believes they will survive for 5 years with zero innovation.

      • What passes for innovation these days is "technology" like Uber, which is just an unlicensed taxi service loosely connected by a smartphone app. Or credit default swaps, there's an American innovation for you. The innovation two generations ago invented digital computers and sent men to the moon.
  • by wisebabo ( 638845 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @12:06AM (#55990921) Journal

    ... we're staffing almost all of our BioTech staff in Vietnam. We have several championship winners of regional (ASEAN) computing competitions as well as the very top students in A.I. and computational theory (essential for crunching the gigantic datasets that the genomic revolution is bringing).

    It is very difficult to get even these supremely qualified candidates work permits (unless we're willing to game the system like some Indian outsourcing companies) and even then it's literally a lottery. So their minds, the technology they create and benefits (and investment) that follows will stay overseas.

    Maybe we'll go to Canada.

    The fact that our president is an openly racist ignorant fraud doesn't help (in the first meeting with the Prime Minister with Vietnam, Trump went around to all present making fun for a few minutes of his name "Phuc". Imagine that, the "leader" of the free world acting like a third grade Beavus and Butt-Head. I understand that this has happened with other leaders who've had the misfortune of being introduced to Trump).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I agree with you 100 percent. Many, if not most of the countries in the developing world have long had stances hostile to immigration similar to Trump's. A large part of what made America great was that we were open to immigration for 400 years, and each successive wave contributed qualities that we didn't really have before.

      Most of these waves of immigrants were opposed by some of the old timers who felt insecure in their careers and positions on the social ladder. It's no different today, although the

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Was America ever that great though? I mean, it was certainly powerful and the world's largest economy, but think about why it became that way.

        Europe and had two major wars and was left in ruins and mountains of debt. Japan was devastated too. That allowed US manufacturing to boom with little opposition. Then you have things like the space race and military development, which were driven by the Russian threat.

        Things were pretty good for some people... Straight white men, specifically. In the 60s you had wome

        • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
          Re "Was America ever that great though?" and "great time to be alive there."
          The US had freedom of speech, freedom after speech. That was rare considering what communist nations did to people who wanted to read books. Look back at Communist China, the Soviet Union, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, the UK, at the same time...
          Their views on sconce, books, publications, politics, investment, working, jobs and innovation.
          Educate populations need investment, support to get products and services to a glob
          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            The US had freedom of speech, but it also had McCarthyism and racial segregation. That was my point really, how free you were in the US greatly depended on things like your skin colour and political beliefs.

            While there were different issues in Europe, for example, you can't easily make a simple, qualitative comparison of some kind of meaningless "average freedom" for whole populations. All you can do is acknowledge the issues, e.g. most places outlawed homosexuality and that was really bad for a lot of peop

    • Also, training ex-coal miners to make solar panels like HRC wanted might have kept us in the top 10. Just Saying.
  • by spike_gran ( 219938 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @12:32AM (#55990995)

    It may well be true that we are graduating fewer people in STEM, but, we are also right-sizing the number of people that go into STEM. If we doubled the number of engineering grads, that would just mean we would have a glut of unemployed engineers that will spend most of their lives paying off their expensive educations working at jobs that will never let them use their technical thinking skills.

    So let's not pretend that if someone graduates a EE in the USA that he or she will actually ever get paid to design a circuit.

    • by Reverend Green ( 4973045 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @02:15AM (#55991291)

      An old friend back in the Rustbelt works at an insurance company telephone call center that's choc full of PhDs. Because that's the best job they can find.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Most economists see the supply of highly skilled workers as driving innovation, i.e. the more you have the more innovation gets done. While you will always find some PhDs working in menial jobs, the employment market is not very efficient at making the best use of the available talent so you will always have the appearance of over-supply.

    • by houghi ( 78078 )

      So that means that al,l other countries have a perfect balance, because I have not heard of people who failed to get a job according to their degree spending most of their lives paying off their education.

      Mmmm. Perhaps paying your education will get you the rich people and not the smart people.

    • They might have jobs if Reichsfuhrer Pusigraber was pumping money into STEM instead of dumbass shit like border walls.
  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @12:43AM (#55991033) Homepage Journal

    A great deal of the US's innovation is made by foreign researchers working in the US. The US used to be open about grant money. The US used to fund education and research. The US used to give green cards to the world's best and bright. We used to bring in the best people to our great Universities, and keep them here by having great opportunities after graduation.

    If we shift to a society driven by anti-intellectualism and xenophobia, we can expect the world to pass us by and our prestige and leadership to fade away. Acting like a bully is not going to make us great again. Having brilliant people come to our universities then go home immediately after graduate school is not going to bring innovation to our nation. We can expect to continue or descent if we keep electing based on ignorance, populism, and isolationism.

  • Bogus scale (Score:5, Funny)

    by plopez ( 54068 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @12:43AM (#55991037) Journal

    Where's brand management?
    Leveraging synergies?
    Strategic reassignment of global presence?
    Operational guidance of private sector management of the state?
    Upward redeployment of economic value propositions with attendent infiltration to lower skilled resources?

    I don't see the point of this survey.

  • by clovis ( 4684 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @01:33AM (#55991151)

    What I'd like to see is a list of innovations (by industry) made in the last 5 years (or even 10), and next to that where that innovation was made and by whom. Then we would have some idea of how to make an innovation ranking.

    Bloomberg's rankings don't look at actual innovations but rather the potential for innovations being created.
    For example, India produces something like 25% of the world's engineers, but I'm pretty sure 25% of the world's engineering is not being done in India.

    Here's Bloomberg's categories:

    R&D intensity (R&D expenditure as % of GDP)

    Manufacturing value-added (MVA as % GDP and per capita)

    Productivity (GDP and GNI per employed person age 15+ and 3Y improvement)

    High-tech density (Number of domestic high-tech public companies such as aerospace, defense, biotech,hardware, software, semiconductors, internet software and services, and renewable energy companies as % of publicly listed companies and as share of total world public high-tech)

    Tertiary efficiency (how much of population has advanced degrees in the labor force plus what percent is tech degrees)

    Researcher concentration (percent of population (per million) that are engaged in R&D)

    Patent activity (patent filings, patents in force, per million population, patent filings per $100 billion GDP, and total grants by country as share of world total.)

    Countries whose economies grow a lot of food, or use natural resources, or have low unemployment get dinged by the per capita and percent rankings. Bloomberg's methodology favors small manufacturing-intensive countries whether or not that country actually invents anything new at all.

    That's why Iceland is above Russia.
    Or Ireland above the UK. really?

    • by Cyberax ( 705495 )
      Look at the recent consumer drone wars. A Chinese company DJI won them fair and square, against many US companies with deep pockets. And not by producing cheapest possible knockoffs but by actually making superior products.

      This is how things are going to be happening constantly in about 10 years or so. Nimen yinggai kaishi xue zhongwen.
  • not unexpected (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reverend Green ( 4973045 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @01:54AM (#55991213)

    Patents stifle innovation. So does a police state. So does disinvestment in public education. So does economic depression and the collapse of the middle class.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I said America first and I meant it, not some foreign country like "Inner vashun". Where the hell is that? Part of outer mongolioid? Anyway. Back to fox news. Did you see Megin Kelly ream that Janey Fonda bitch? I gotta see that again in slo-mo. Eric! Get me some god-damn cheeseburgers, boy.
  • Who invented this stupid "innovation" ranking, anyway?

  • The article points to Samsung, which has many plants and thousands of US employees, because they've created the most US patents. So what?

    Having lived in South Korea for many years, I would point to the fact that they innovate extremely little, but are outstanding at copying things that others have invented. I could go into a long winded cultural explanation (don't go all "you racist" on me here...my ex wife and kid are Korean) regarding why, but I'm too lazy for that this morning.

  • by Slicker ( 102588 ) on Wednesday January 24, 2018 @09:24AM (#55992319)

    None of the measures mentioned actually track innovation. The measures specified can be pretty subjective and not necessarily relevant to innovation although I can see how some old schoolers would assume them to be indicators of potential for innovation. Post-Secondary and Tertiary graduates in the workforce, for example. Investment in Research and Development, for example. Much of the microcomputing technology was born in the U.S. by college dropouts. Furthermore, the qualities of engineers in some of these countries are pretty controversial, such as the very high rate of cheating on exams and even peer review papers from Chinese. Moreover, in the U.S. (and I think likely the world), most R&D money is spent by large corporations but it springs up predominantly from small businesses. That fact alone pretty much kills the validity of calling this a measurement of Innovation by different countries. In any case, it's all indirect and will be very hard to argue any correlation with actual innovative output.

  • Here's a thought, how about corporation start funding these technology initiatives themselves like their suppose to instead of sucking on the government teet. You know, you could redirect some those profits back into R&D instead of frittering it away on investors. You wanted a free market, started behaving like one.

Thus mathematics may be defined as the subject in which we never know what we are talking about, nor whether what we are saying is true. -- Bertrand Russell