Silicon Valley has long been the world leader in tech innovation. It’s the cradle of startup culture, a hub for venture capital, and the home of dozens of global tech titans that are not only raking in billions of dollars, they’re also influencing politics, culture, and lifestyles around the world--whether they intended to or not. The Valley’s tech dominance has gone relatively unchallenged for decades, but China is now giving American tech a run for its money...
The United States has entered an era of long-term competition with revisionist powers. A key aspect of this competition will revolve around a contest for technological superiority waged between the national innovation bases of the respective competitors. The outcome of this competition will determine not just American national security but also how the nations of the world interact—and whether a free and open political and economic system will remain the foundation of those interactions.
The Reagan Institute is calling on the US government to undertake a comprehensive effort to strengthen the national security industrial base, with recommendations ranging from creating an interagency “National Security Innovation Committee” for coordinating financial support to establishing a “STEM Corps” to give students free tuition if they enter the natsec work force.
The U.S. continues to be the global leader in total R&D expenditures, spending $483 billion (adjusted to 2010 purchasing parity dollars) in 2017 compared to China’s expenditures of $443 billion. However, according to a recent publication from the National Science Foundation, China surpassed the U.S. in expenditures on experimental development in 2014 and has since continued to increase its lead.
“While we must effectively respond to China and others looking to do us harm, we must avoid inadvertently undermining the very policies which made us the leader in turning government funded R&D into cutting edge products. Unfortunately, the initial bureaucratic response is not reassuring on that score.”
When U.S. taxpayers send their hard-earned money to the government, they shouldn’t worry that it’s being used to fuel economic and military growth in China. But that’s exactly what’s happening today. Every year, more than $150 billion in U.S. taxpayer money goes towards cutting-edge research conducted at our excellent network of universities and research institutions, helping us remain the global leader in science and technology.
This past summer, Oxford University was again ranked as the topmost university in the world, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal. While the article dutifully numbered the top universities across the globe, one seemingly small statistic stood out (at least to me). “For the first time, China is now spending more money [on higher education] than any other nation...”
Chang said in an email that anything Beijing can do "will hurt itself more than us, and given how close its economy is to the edge of the cliff the regime could end up doing itself in by retaliating." He continued, "For four decades, we were told by elites and policymakers that we could not afford to upset China. Wednesday, President Trump did what his predecessors would not do -- defend America from a China that is going after us. The same power that is encroaching on Hong Kong’s autonomy is attacking our society across the board."
China could have a significant advantage in a potential conflict if it develops artificial intelligence (AI) before the United States, a commission established to assess the threat China poses warned in its annual report Nov. 14. The commission, the U.S. - China Economic and Security Review Commission, warned that China is prioritizing the development of AI and that such technology could help the nation surpass the United States.
The Communist Party of China has laid plans for a century of unlimited Chinese power and, with it, the end of the American era. However, we still can -- and must -- bet big on the future of American economic power. The best antidote to China’s ambitions is to ensure America’s continued economic and technological preeminence.