By CNN Global Public Square
For more “What in the World,” watch "Fareed Zakaria GPS" on Sunday at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET
Silicon Valley has been a key driver of U.S. growth in the last two decades. Just look at the rise of Apple, Google, and Facebook, and all the jobs and opportunities and new communities they’ve created. But the “secret sauce” behind this success might be running out.
A new book caught my eye this week. It’s called The Immigrant Exodus by Vivek Wadhwa, a former tech entrepreneur who now studies and lectures on immigration. He has some fascinating findings. Wadhwa says between 1995 and 2005, more than a half of all Silicon Valley tech companies were founded by immigrants. But when Wadhwa updated his findings to 2012, he found the proportion of immigrant-founded companies had dropped by a sixth – from 52 percent to 44 percent.
By Jennifer Granick, Special to CNN
Editor’s note: Jennifer Stisa Granick is director of civil liberties at the Stanford Law School Center for Internet and Society. Previously, she was counsel with the internet boutique firm Zwillgen, and civil liberties director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The views expressed are her own.
Top Obama administration officials have been pressing the U.S. Congress hard for legislation to improve network security for the computer systems that run the nation’s critical infrastructure. The House passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), while the White House supported the 211-page Cybersecurity Act, which failed to get a vote in the Senate before legislators went on recess. Citizens now have the summer to ask some important questions before supporting any such legislative effort.
The big question, of course, is what problem are we trying to solve? Administration officials justify cybersecurity legislation by coining words like “cybergeddon” and telling tales of terrorists shutting off the nation’s electricity or causing dams to malfunction, flooding our communities.
Editor’s note: GPS sits down with Kenneth Rogoff, Thomas D. Cabot Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Economics at Harvard University, to discuss U.S. political gridlock and the cyber threat to the U.S. economy.
The 112th Congress has been dismissed by many as the ultimate do-nothing Congress. How much is the gridlock in Washington hurting the U.S. economic recovery?
It’s hurting a lot and, unfortunately, a lot of things that need to be done aren’t getting done. For example, I would like to see Congress pass a version of the Simpson-Bowles tax reform proposal. By far the most efficient way to collect more tax revenue would be to drastically reduce exemptions (“tax expenditures”) thereby raising more revenue while keeping marginal tax rates at a reasonable level. With private investment weak, this is a good time for the government to undertake high-return infrastructure projects with a compelling cost-benefit ratio. But the rationale is to improve the long-run growth potential of the economy, not to engage in pure Keynesian stimulus. While I strongly favor instituting a carbon tax, there is some urgency in refocusing our energy program to recognize the huge innovations that are allowing the U.S. to harvest unconventional sources of gas and (secondarily oil) that promise to make the United States far less dependent on imported energy. In principle, our low energy prices could even catalyze a return to the U.S. of some types of manufacturing.
Of course, the Congress has been gridlocked for some time. This gridlock didn’t matter so much during the credit bubble; the economy was growing briskly despite – or perhaps because of – limited government intervention or innovation. But we’ve reached a point where there’s been so little reform for so long that it’s a hindrance to growth. And, in the near term, things only seem to be getting worse, with ugly partisanship clearing out the center in both major parties.
Editor's note: Frida Ghitis is a world affairs columnist for The Miami Herald and World Politics Review. A former CNN producer/correspondent, she is the author of "The End of Revolution: A Changing World in the Age of Live Television." The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Frida Ghitis.
Facebook's $104 billion initial public offering comes at a time when the United States is suffering a bout of self-doubt. Many wonder if America is falling behind as other countries are catching up fast. And yet the Facebook phenomenon did not occur in a vacuum.
You might say it could have happened anywhere. But it happened in America. And there was a reason for that. FULL POST
Editor’s Note: Dinesh Moorjani is the Founder and CEO of Hatch Labs, a mobile startup incubator creating new platforms and applications to improve mobility for the wireless generation.
By Dinesh Moorjani – Special to CNN
It’s often perceived in the business world that pursuing an MBA degree is analogous to buying career insurance, especially if you attend a top program.
What many aspiring entrepreneurs have found, however is that earning an MBA can actually momentarily slow down an upward career trajectory, considering the degree typically requires a two-year job hiatus at a full-time program.
The real benefit of this advanced degree may be the parachute it serves in times of economic distress. But for those assessing the risk vs. reward opportunity, the need to consider the likelihood of that parachute opening properly remains paramount. And perhaps the best indicator of that is how well the parachute is packed, or without the laborious analogy, how talented the individual is and how those talents are channeled toward meaningful professional endeavors. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former director of policy planning in the US State Department (2009-2011), is Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University. For more from Slaughter, visit Project Syndicate or follow it on Facebook and Twitter. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Anne-Marie Slaughter.
By Anne-Marie Slaughter, Project Syndicate
On February 1, the United Nations Security Council met to consider the Arab League’s proposal to end the violence in Syria. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton represented the United States. Midway through her remarks, she began speaking not to the Syrian ambassador, who was in the room, or even the Syrian government, but directly to the Syrian people. She said that change in Syria would require Syrians of every faith and ethnicity to work together, protecting and respecting the rights of minorities.
Addressing those minorities, she continued: “We do hear your fears, and we do honor your aspirations. Do not let the current regime exploit them to extend this crisis.” She told Syria’s business, military, and other leaders that they must recognize that their futures lie with the state, not with the regime. “Syria belongs to its 23 million citizens, not to one man or his family.” FULL POST
By Fareed Zakaria, CNN
Last night, my special premiered on CNN: The GPS Road Map for Saving Health Care. Thanks to thousands of you, the hashtag I used to live-tweet the special, #SavingHealthCare, trended on Twitter. I've pasted some of the most re-tweeted tweets below. FULL POST
Editor’s Note: Priya Parker, an expert-in-residence at the Harvard Innovation Lab, is the founder of Thrive Labs, a visioning and strategy advisory firm based in Brooklyn, New York. You can follow Priya on Twitter @priyaparker.
By Priya Parker – Special to CNN
If January is when the old guard gathers in Davos, Switzerland, March is when the new guard descends on Austin, Texas. At a time of crisis in America, Europe, the Middle East and beyond, a group of tech-savvy do-gooders meets, greets and tweets at South By Southwest.
The conference has experienced a surge in popularity in recent years, exploring questions well beyond the sphere of technology. The several hundred panels and featured sessions for this year’s SXSW Interactive tend to reflect the current concerns of the rising elite. In this post, I’d like to add one concern to their list: Can the avid, accomplished doers at SXSW show the way for a rising generation of Millennials who are all too often afraid to fulfill their potential as leaders? FULL POST
Editor's Note: Sir James Dyson is a British industrial designer and founder ofDyson Company. Fareed Zakaria recently interviewed
By James Dyson - Special to CNN
Last week, President Obama granted 10 states freedom from the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). The decade-old act holds states to a 2014 deadline to have all students deemed proficient in reading and math.
Even as the standards were enacted, its authors weren’t optimistic. They’d hoped the U.S. Congress would have stepped in to develop a more robust educational measure. The aim of the act was noble: To ensure American students were educated to a level at which they could compete with their global peers. But the method is flawed. Standardization does not inspire.
Two years shy of the deadline, the Obama Administration has given states an out, but not before setting its own benchmarks. To be exempted, states must agree to college- and career-ready standards, set new achievement standards and create new teacher evaluation systems.
The waivers signal a shift in the right direction. But do the new terms simply trade one yardstick for another?
Editor's Note: Soner Cagaptay is a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a GPS contributor. You can find all his blog posts here. The views expressed in this article are solely those of Soner Cagaptay.
By Soner Cagaptay - Special to CNN
The Arab uprisings suggest that recently developed “protest technology,” from cell phone cameras to social media, are changing the way people behave under dictatorships and authoritarian regimes.
Prior to the rise of “protest technology,” individuals had to endure under the tyranny of authoritarian regimes because there were few tools available to organize the masses without evading detection. Quite simply: the average citizen lacked the necessary instruments to outsmart their rulers. Autocratic regimes possessed the capabilities to swiftly crack down on dissidents before their ideas could evolve into a network of mass movement. FULL POST
Editor’s Note: Contributors to this post will be part of a panel on the topic taking place on Thursday, February 9th in Washington, D.C. Sign up for the event here. This post is part of the Global Innovation Showcase created by the New America Foundation and the Global Public Square.
There are now over 5 billion mobile phone subscriptions worldwide, according to the International Telecommunications Union, with global mobile penetration at 87 percent. In the developing world, where landlines are especially scarce in rural areas, mobiles have been used for governance, banking, agriculture, education, health, commerce, reporting news, political participation, and reducing corruption.
But the ubiquity of the mobile phone - and its application to a diverse and growing set of development goals - doesn’t guarantee economic or social progress.
Are mobiles just another high-tech solution to what are essentially systemic and deeply rooted problems? Are mobile solutions for combating global poverty overhyped?
By Jamie Crawford, CNN's Security Clearance
Guided by an army of "geeks with a conscience," a network of digital activists, working mostly in the shadows, is emerging to challenge the restrictions of repressive governments around the world.
Sascha Meinrath is part of that army.
Working with a team of tech experts inside a nondescript building in downtown Washington, Meinrath is developing new technologies that could one day be used to evade government censors and secret police. "You can imagine any of the world's hot spots, and we have been contacted by people there," he told CNN.
With governments in Iran, Syria, Cuba and elsewhere around the world trying to clamp down on freedom of expression both in public and online, the march is on to put a stop to it.
Since coming into office, the Obama administration has actively supported the construction of detours around Internet censors in repressive environments like Iran and Syria, thereby enabling activists to communicate with each other, and organize, without the threat of surveillance by the very governments they are trying to subvert.
The administration has issued more than $70 million worth of grants to nongovernmental organizations developing technologies to assist activists inside repressive countries to stay connected, regardless of government efforts to keep them silent.