January 1st, 2015
08:43 PM ET

American innovation is in trouble

By Fareed Zakaria

If you ask people in Silicon Valley what makes it work, they will talk about many things — the ability to fail, the lack of hierarchy, the culture of competition. One thing almost no one mentions is the government. And yet, the Valley’s origins are deeply tied to government support. The reason there were so many engineers in California in the 1950s and 1960s was because large defense companies had attracted them there. Most of the legendary start-ups that fueled the computer revolution — Fairchild Semiconductor, Intel — got off the ground largely because the military, and later NASA, would buy their products until they became cheap and accessible enough for the broader commercial market. GPS, the technology that now powers the information revolution, was developed for the military.

And then there was government funding for research, which is sometimes thought of simply as large grants to universities for basic science but often was far more ingenious. My favorite example comes from Walter Isaacson’s fascinating new book, “The Innovators.” In the 1950s, the U.S. government funded a massive project at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, employing equal numbers of psychologists and engineers who worked together to find ways “that humans could interact more intuitively with computers and information could be presented with a friendlier interface.” Isaacson traces how this project led directly to the user-friendly computer screens of today as well as ARPANET, the precursor of the Internet.

Federal funding for basic research and technology should be utterly uncontroversial. It has been one of the greatest investments in human history. And yet it has fallen to its lowest level as a percentage of GDP in four decades.

Read the Washington Post column

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Topics: Fareed's Take

soundoff (1,620 Responses)
  1. chri§§y

    Ummm how about Happy by Pharelle? Lmao

    January 4, 2015 at 11:11 pm | Reply
  2. Philip MC

    one of my all time favs:

    She packed my bags last night pre-flight
    Zero hour nine a.m.
    And I'm gonna be high as a kite by then
    I miss the earth so much I miss my wife
    It's lonely out in space
    On such a timeless flight

    And I think it's gonna be a long long time
    Till touch down brings me round again to find
    I'm not the man they think I am at home
    Oh no no no I'm a rocket man
    Rocket man burning out his fuse up here alone

    Mars ain't the kind of place to raise your kids
    In fact it's cold as hell
    And there's no one there to raise them if you did
    And all this science I don't understand
    It's just my job five days a week
    A rocket man, a rocket man

    And I think it's gonna be a long long time...

    January 4, 2015 at 11:12 pm | Reply
    • Philip MC

      I recall being really bummed out when I found out Elton John's pink glasses weren't just a stage prop. Was a sad day for me.

      January 4, 2015 at 11:13 pm | Reply
      • Philip MC

        I got angry and busted all of my Elton John vinyl. Including my precious Yellow Brick Road. 😦

        January 4, 2015 at 11:15 pm |
  3. Philip MC

    Sometimes I feel like I don't have a partner
    Sometimes I feel like my only friend
    Is the city I live in, the city of angel
    Lonely as I am, together we cry

    I drive on her streets 'cause she's my companion
    I walk through her hills 'cause she knows who I am
    She sees my good deeds and she kisses me windy
    I never worry, now that is a lie.

    Well, I don't ever want to feel like I did that day
    Take me to the place I love, take me all the way
    I don't ever want to feel like I did that day
    Take me to the place I love, take me all the way, yeah, yeah, yeah

    It's hard to believe that there's nobody out there
    It's hard to believe that I'm all alone
    At least I have her love, the city she loves me
    Lonely as I am, together we cry

    Well, I don't ever want to feel like I did that day
    Take me to the place I love, take me all the way
    Well, I don't ever want to feel like I did that day
    Take me to the place I love, take me all the way, yeah, yeah, yeah
    oh no, no, no, yeah, yeah
    love me, I say, yeah yeah

    One time

    (under the bridge downtown)
    (is where I drew some blood)
    is where I drew some blood

    (under the bridge downtown)
    (i could not get enough)
    i could not get enough

    (under the bridge downtown)
    (forgot about my love)
    forgot about my love

    (under the bridge downtown)
    (i gave my life away)
    i gave my life away yeah, yeah yeah

    (away)
    no, no, no, yeah, yeah

    (away)
    no, no, i say, yeah, yeah

    (away)

    Here I stay

    Read more: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Under The Bridge Lyrics | MetroLyrics

    January 4, 2015 at 11:18 pm | Reply
  4. Philip MC

    Is much better than Hindi list?

    January 4, 2015 at 11:19 pm | Reply
  5. chri§§y

    Lol i kinda thought you wouldnt know what song i was talking about. Lmao its relatively new. But it has pizzazz!

    January 4, 2015 at 11:20 pm | Reply
  6. Philip MC

    Yes. I miss my ex wife. 😦

    January 4, 2015 at 11:20 pm | Reply
  7. Philip MC

    Maybe we should listen to Highway to Hell again.

    January 4, 2015 at 11:24 pm | Reply
  8. Philip MC

    This song go's out to Chrissy in upper-State. Happy!

    It might seem crazy what I'm about to say
    Sunshine she's here, you can take away
    I'm a hot air balloon, I could go to space
    With the air, like I don't care baby by the way

    Because I'm happy
    Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
    Because I'm happy
    Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth
    Because I'm happy
    Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
    Because I'm happy
    Clap along if you feel like that's what you wanna do

    Here come bad news talking this and that
    Yeah, give me all you got, don't hold back
    Yeah, well I should probably warn you I'll be just fine
    Yeah, no offense to you don't waste your time
    Here's why

    Because I'm happy
    Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof
    Because I'm happy

    January 4, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Reply
  9. Philip MC

    Before they went disco, Bee Gees were wonderfully sad bast ards

    January 4, 2015 at 11:32 pm | Reply
  10. Philip MC

    History will remember Bee Gees (there’s no “the” in “Brothers Gibb”) primarily as a disco act, with smash hits like “Jive Talkin’” and “Stayin’ Alive,” and with white polyester suits forever linked to their history. But prior to their left turn onto the dance floor, brothers Barry, Robin, and Maurice Gibb performed some of the most lush, beautiful, melancholy pop in history—the disco years were bigger, but the pop years were still pretty damn big. The best place to start with that period is the 1969 release Best Of Bee Gees, which features a dozen near perfect, mostly very sad songs. “I Started A Joke".

    January 4, 2015 at 11:33 pm | Reply
  11. Philip MC

    I started a joke
    Which started the whole world crying
    But I didn't see
    That the joke was on me, oh no

    I started to cry
    Which started the whole world laughing
    Oh, if I'd only seen
    That the joke was on me

    I looked at the skies
    Running my hands over my eyes
    And I fell out of bed
    Hurting my head from things that I'd said

    Till I finally died
    Which started the whole world living
    Oh, if I'd only seen
    That the joke was on me

    I looked at the skies
    Running my hands over my eyes
    And I fell out of bed
    Hurting my head from things that I'd said

    Till I finally died
    Which started the whole world living
    Oh, if I'd only seen, oh yeah
    That the joke was on me, oh no
    That the joke was on me, ohh

    January 4, 2015 at 11:34 pm | Reply
  12. chri§§y

    Ok now THAT WAS FREAKING PERFECT! Lmao thank you! It IS my most favorite song EVER! Thank you again! 😉

    January 4, 2015 at 11:37 pm | Reply
    • Philip MC

      Lol. OK, chrissy.

      January 4, 2015 at 11:39 pm | Reply
    • Philip MC

      Who remembers this Little River Band song? Chrissy? Since u r the ony one here. Lol

      Hey, everybody, yeah, don't you feel that there's something

      People on their own are getting nowhere
      I'm on the road to see
      If anything is anywhere or waiting, just for me

      Everynight I walk around the city
      Seems like I'll never know
      That feeling of being together when I go

      And it's a long way there
      It's a long way to where I'm going
      And it's a long way there
      It's a long way to where I'm going

      Hey, everybody, don't you feel that there's something
      But you know in a moment it is gone
      I live for the day when I can hear people saying
      That they know and they care for everyone

      But I feel like I've been here for the whole of my life
      Never knowing home

      It's a long way, it's a long, long, long way there
      I'm gonna keep on tryin', I'm gonna keep on tryin', yeah
      I'm gonna keep on tryin', keep on tryin'

      Been away from home for such a long time
      And got to know this town
      But I don't seem to matter much to anyone who's around
      Is there anybody around

      Everynight I walk around the city
      Seems like I'll never know
      The feeling of being together when I go

      And it's a long way there
      It's a long way to where I'm going
      And it's a long way there
      It's a long way to where I'm going

      Everybody knows it's a long way there
      Oh, everybody knows it's a long way there
      Mmm, it's a long way

      Driving around's kind of getting me down and I know, and I know
      It's a long long way there
      It's such a long long way, long way

      Hey, everybody, yeah, don't you feel that there's something
      Feel it, feel it
      Hey, everybody, yeah, don't you feel that there's something

      January 4, 2015 at 11:50 pm | Reply
  13. Philip MC

    115. Indian Boys Club Liberation Army?

    January 4, 2015 at 11:38 pm | Reply
  14. Philip MC

    116. United Monkeys of New Delhi, ltd.

    January 4, 2015 at 11:55 pm | Reply
  15. chri§§y

    Lol well since im a throwback from woodstock...of course i know it! Lol.

    January 4, 2015 at 11:55 pm | Reply
    • Philip MC

      What did they throw you back for? he he

      January 4, 2015 at 11:57 pm | Reply
  16. Philip MC

    117. Cows
    (would have been coffee nose if in the morning lol)

    January 4, 2015 at 11:56 pm | Reply
  17. Philip MC

    117. Cows
    LMAO

    January 4, 2015 at 11:57 pm | Reply
  18. Philip MC

    This song go's out to me. Philip.

    "I'm Eighteen"

    Lines form on my face and hands
    Lines form from the ups and downs
    I'm in the middle without any plans
    I'm a boy and I'm a man

    I'm eighteen and I don't know what I want
    Eighteen I just don't know what I want
    Eighteen I gotta get away
    I gotta get out of this place
    I'll go runnin' in outer space oh yeah

    I got a baby's brain and an old man's heart took eighteen years to get this far
    Don't always know what I'm talkin' about feels like I'm livin' in the middle of doubt

    'Cause I'm eighteen I get confused every day eighteen I just don't know what to say
    Eighteen I gotta get away

    Whoa lines form on my face and my hands
    Lines form on the left and right
    I'm in the middle the middle of life
    I'm a boy and I'm a man

    I'm eighteen and I like it
    Yes I like it
    Oh I like it love it like it love it
    Eighteen eighteen eighteen eighteen and I like it

    January 5, 2015 at 12:00 am | Reply
    • Philip MC

      Sheesh. That's me right there! Lol Thanx, Alice. LMAO

      January 5, 2015 at 12:01 am | Reply
  19. Philip MC

    "I'm in the middle the middle of life
    I'm a boy and I'm a man" Croikey! lol

    January 5, 2015 at 12:04 am | Reply
  20. Philip MC

    Enuff of this BS. Harden my heart!

    Cryin' on the corner, waitin' in the rain
    I swear I'll never, ever wait again
    You gave me your word, but words for you are lies

    Darlin', in my wildest dreams, I never thought I'd go
    But it's time to let you know

    I'm gonna harden my heart
    I'm gonna swallow my tears
    I'm gonna turn and leave you here

    All of my life, I've been waitin' in the rain
    I've been waitin' for a feeling that never, ever came
    It feels so close but always disappears

    Darlin', in your wildest dreams, you never had a clue
    But it's time you got the news

    I'm gonna harden my heart
    I'm gonna swallow my tears
    I'm gonna turn and leave you here

    Darlin', in my wildest dreams, I never thought I'd go
    But it's time to let you know

    I'm gonna harden my heart
    I'm gonna swallow my tears

    January 5, 2015 at 12:05 am | Reply
  21. Philip MC

    Lol. "Never had a clue". Get a clue. Lol 🙂

    January 5, 2015 at 12:06 am | Reply
  22. Philip MC

    Chrissy? Ready to hear one of your fav Jed Clampett tunes or...?

    January 5, 2015 at 12:07 am | Reply
    • Philip MC

      ....or one by Jethro Bodine? LMAO

      January 5, 2015 at 12:08 am | Reply
  23. Philip MC

    Pure Prairie League. (no golphers, in other words)

    Ready

    More than I could feel
    Touching what is real
    All my mind is reelin' round
    'Cause Carolina is feelin' down
    Today

    Falling in and out of love with you
    Falling in and out of love with you
    Don't know what I'm gonna do
    I keep falling in and out of love

    Oh, I try to find
    Thinkin' just the other day
    Something that would ease your mind
    Something that I meant to say
    To her

    Falling in and out of love with you
    Falling in and out of love with you
    Don't know what I'm gonna do
    I keep falling in and out of love with you

    I think I could stay with you
    For a while, maybe longer
    If I do

    Read more: Pure Prairie League – Falling In And Out Of Love Lyrics | MetroLyrics

    January 5, 2015 at 12:11 am | Reply
  24. Philip MC

    Amy! Whatchoo wanna do? I thiiiink I could stay with you. For awhile maybe longer if I do. 🙂

    January 5, 2015 at 12:13 am | Reply
  25. Philip MC

    I don't kow if it's you or if it's me.
    If it's one of us I'm sure we will both will see! LOL

    January 5, 2015 at 12:14 am | Reply
  26. Philip MC

    Who wants to hear some Led Zep? lol

    January 5, 2015 at 12:17 am | Reply
  27. Philip MC

    Leaves are falling all around, it's time I was on my way
    Thanks to you, I'm much obliged
    For such a pleasant stay, but now it's time for me to go
    The autumn moon lights my way

    For now I smell the rain
    And with it pain, and it's headed my way
    Sometimes I grow so tired
    But I know I've got one thing I got to do

    Ramble on and now's the time, the time is now, to sing my song
    I'm going around the world, I got to find my girl, on my way
    I've been this way ten years to the day ramble on
    Gotta find the queen of all my dreams

    Got no time to for spreading roots
    The time has come to be gone
    And to our health we drank a thousand times
    It's time to ramble on

    January 5, 2015 at 12:19 am | Reply
  28. Philip MC

    T'was in the darkest depths of Mordor, I met a girl so fair; But Gollum, and the evil one crept up and slipped away with her, her, her....yeah.”

    Read More: Top 10 Most Head-Scratching Led Zeppelin Lyrics | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/head-scratching-led-zeppelin-lyrics/?trackback=tsmclip

    January 5, 2015 at 12:21 am | Reply
  29. Philip MC

    Zzzzzzz

    January 5, 2015 at 12:22 am | Reply
  30. The Blue Hindoo Muther Frokker

    Nighty night girls

    A SAMPLING OF SOME 114 FREEDOM FIGHTING ORGANIZATIONS IN INDIA:

    1. National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB)

    2. United People's Democratic Solidarity (UPDS)

    3. Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO)

    4. Bodo Liberation Tiger Force (BLTF)

    5. Dima Halim Daogah (DHD)

    6. Karbi National Volunteers (KNV)

    7. Rabha National Security Force (RNSF)

    8. Koch-Rajbongshi Liberation Organisation (KRLO)

    9. Hmar People's Convention- Democracy (HPC-D)

    10. Karbi People's Front (KPF)

    11. Tiwa National Revolutionary Force (TNRF)

    12. Bircha Commando Force (BCF)

    13. Bengali Tiger Force (BTF)

    14. Adivasi Security Force (ASF)

    15. All Assam Adivasi Suraksha Samiti (AAASS)

    16. Gorkha Tiger Force (GTF)

    17. Barak Valley Youth Liberation Front (BVYLF)

    18. United Liberation Front of Barak Valley

    19. United National Liberation Front (UNLF)

    20. People's Liberation Army (PLA)

    21. People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK)

    22. The above mentioned three groups now operate from a unified platform,

    23. the Manipur People's Liberation Front (MPLF)

    24. Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP)

    25. Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL)

    26. Manipur Liberation Tiger Army (MLTA)

    27. Iripak Kanba Lup (IKL)

    28. People's Republican Army (PRA)

    29. Kangleipak Kanba Kanglup (KKK)

    30. Kangleipak Liberation Organisation (KLO)

    31. Revolutionary Joint Committee (RJC)

    32. National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM)

    33. People's United Liberation Front (PULF)

    34. Kuki National Army (KNA)

    35. Kuki Revolutionary Army (KRA)

    36. Kuki National Organisation (KNO)

    37. Kuki Independent Army (KIA)

    38. Kuki Defence Force (KDF)

    39. Kuki International Force (KIF)

    40. Kuki National Volunteers (KNV)

    41. Kuki Liberation Front (KLF)

    42. Kuki Security Force (KSF)

    43. Kuki Liberation Army (KLA)

    44. Kuki Revolutionary Front (KRF)

    45. United Kuki Liberation Front (UKLF)

    46. Hmar People's Convention (HPC)

    47. Hmar People's Convention- Democracy (HPC-D)

    48. Hmar Revolutionary Front (HRF)

    49. Zomi Revolutionary Army (ZRA)

    50. Zomi Revolutionary Volunteers (ZRV)

    51. Indigenous People's Revolutionary Alliance(IRPA)

    52. Kom Rem People's Convention (KRPC)

    53. Chin Kuki Revolutionary Front (CKRF)

    54. Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC)

    55. Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC)

    56. People's Liberation Front of Meghalaya (PLF-M)

    57. Hajong United Liberation Army (HULA)

    58. National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) – NSCN(IM)

    59. National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang) – NSCN (K)

    60. Naga National Council (Adino) – NNC (Adino)

    61. Babbar Khalsa International (BKI)

    62. Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF)

    63. International Sikh Youth Federation (ISYF)

    64. Khalistan Commando Force (KCF)

    65. All-India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF)

    66. Bhindala Tigers Force of Khalistan (BTFK)

    67. Khalistan Liberation Army (KLA)

    68. Khalistan Liberation Front (KLF)

    69. Khalistan Armed Force (KAF)

    70. Dashmesh Regiment

    71. Khalistan Liberation Organisation (KLO)

    72. Khalistan National Army (KNA)

    73. National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT)

    74. All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF)

    75. Tripura Liberation Organisation Front (TLOF)

    76. United Bengali Liberation Front (UBLF)

    77. Tripura Tribal Volunteer Force (TTVF)

    78. Tripura Armed Tribal Commando Force (TATCF)

    79. Tripura Tribal Democratic Force (TTDF)

    80. Tripura Tribal Youth Force (TTYF)

    81. Tripura Liberation Force (TLF)

    82. Tripura Defence Force (TDF)

    83. All Tripura Volunteer Force (ATVF)

    84. Tribal Commando Force (TCF)

    85. Tripura Tribal Youth Force (TTYF)

    86. All Tripura Bharat Suraksha Force (ATBSF)

    87. Tripura Tribal Action Committee Force (TTACF) Socialist Democratic

    88. Front of Tripura (SDFT)

    89. All Tripura National Force (ATNF)

    90. Tripura Tribal Sengkrak Force (TTSF)

    91. Tiger Commando Force (TCF)

    92. Tripura Mukti Police (TMP)

    93. Tripura Rajya Raksha Bahini (TRRB)

    94. Tripura State Volunteers (TSV)

    95. Tripura National Democratic Tribal Force (TNDTF)

    96. National Militia of Tripura (NMT)

    97. All Tripura Bengali Regiment (ATBR)

    98. Bangla Mukti Sena (BMS)

    99. All Tripura Liberation Organisation (ATLO)

    100. Tripura National Army (TNA)

    101. Tripura State Volunteers (TSV)

    102. Borok National Council of Tripura (BNCT)

    103. Mizoram

    104. Bru National Liberation Front

    105. Hmar People's Convention- Democracy (HPC-D)

    106. Arunachal Pradesh

    107. Arunachal Dragon Force (ADF)

    108. Left-wing Extremist groups

    109. People's Guerrilla Army

    110. People's War Group

    111. Maoist Communist Centre

    112. Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist)

    113. Communist Party of India (Marxist Leninist) Janashaktih

    114. Tamil National Retrieval Troops (TNRT)

    January 5, 2015 at 12:23 am | Reply
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