1.1 The Changing Scientific and Technological Landscape
In the 1950s and 1960s, the United States was internationally pre-eminent in science and
technology. The only country comparable to the US in terms of per capita innovative
output during this time was Switzerland and much of any significant scientific and
technological effort and achievement remained the exclusive preserve of a few advanced
industrialised countries. In the last 30 years or so, however, the economic landscape has
changed considerably and indeed continues to change with amazing rapidity. A situation
of strategic economic parity has come to exist in the triad regions of North America,
Western Europe and the Pacific Rim (including China). Increasing globalisation has
meant that several more nations have become important players on the world economic
stage and the rules of the game have subsequently changed. To some extent, it is no
longer easy for any one player to dictate the rules of the game - to determine what is
right or wrong, or what is or what ought to be.
In the area of science, technology and innovation, the supremacy of the United States
and the few other monopoly powers has become seriously challenged and partly eroded.
Several developments have materialised. Firstly, there has been increased competition
from fast followers, which has subjected advanced nations to competition via imitation by
firms in hitherto less innovative countries. Secondly, there has been a more rapid
diffusion of intellectual capital. This has been aided by the revolution in communications
technology, which has rendered the notion of space and time virtually irrelevant. The
result of this is that the advantage provided by a given amount of innovation decreases
rapidly with increased diffusion of intellectual capital. Thirdly, competition for investments
by multinational enterprises (MNEs) mean that these companies increasingly need to
locate investments wherever... [continues]
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