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

Post by:
Topics: Fareed's Take

soundoff (1,704 Responses)
  1. Harbinder Singh Bedi


    ::: RAIPES

    This is what the readers are interested in.
    If you don't BBC or FOX will.

    January 2, 2015 at 8:37 am |
    • You are no f-ing Bedi!!!!

      You are a bloody Paki hiding behind a Sikh name!!

      January 2, 2015 at 12:40 pm |
  2. Harbinder Singh Bedi

    India is one big pile of s hit. People are dirty. Their BO is nasty. Cows and humans are s hitting all over the streets. They eat s hit also.

    January 2, 2015 at 8:39 am |
  3. Henry

    Modi stuck his big long fat di ck up Philip's an us. Then down Blue Saffron's throat. All 8 inches.

    January 2, 2015 at 8:40 am |
  4. Mir Waiz

    They say 95% of hindus don't have plumbing in their homes in India. They dig a hole in the fields to take a crap. Dry the stuff up and use for plastering their homes or as cooking fuel. Thats how the word dryvit came about.

    January 2, 2015 at 8:41 am |
  5. Mir Waiz

    Hindus by far are the most disgusting people that i have ever come across in this world. Truly dirty and without any civic sense. Very unhygienic also. Of course without saying untrustworthy, violent and backstabbing. They bring to work that smelly curry oozing with oil

    January 2, 2015 at 8:42 am |
  6. Henry

    Philip su cks cow di cks.
    Blue Saffron su cks camel di cks.

    January 2, 2015 at 8:42 am |
  7. Mir Waiz


    The Jobless Indian trolls cling like cokroaches as you can see by the disjointed and nonsense comments they are plagiarising. All this while typing with one hand and scratching their bollz by the other. Then they pick their nose, eat their boogers and scratch their a ss. This ritual culminates with licking their fingers after eating curry with unwashed hands and then back to making plagiarized comments.

    Typical uneducated hinddoous with body stench who make skunks smell like Chanel 5 perfume.

    January 2, 2015 at 8:44 am |
  8. Philip

    It is true. I su ck cow di cks. I also like it when Pakis ram their long di cks up my azzz. 🙂

    January 2, 2015 at 8:45 am |
  9. Philip

    I smear Chanel 5 up my azzz so Pakistani men fu ck me good

    January 2, 2015 at 8:47 am |
  10. Karpinder Singh

    India is the @rse of South Asia while Hinduism represents the worst of what a medieval cult can offer. Indian culture is a conglomeration of bizarre rituals based on inc*st.

    Hindu deities are repulsive representation of horrific characters that incite b@stiality and pedophilic practices and violent and extremist acts on humans such as sacrificial rituals.

    Just imagine a deity that represents a demonic image with blood dripping mouth that makes dracula look like George Clooney ! Just look at another deity that
    resembles a reptile, a cobra, a rat, a distorted human face with an elephant's snout and numerous claws as arms/hands that will send a chill down your spine.

    January 2, 2015 at 8:47 am |
    • Karpinder Singh

      I am sorry that I am from pakistan. I like little girls.
      I married a 9 year old girl. This is common practice in Pakistan.

      January 2, 2015 at 8:57 am |
  11. Coyle

    11-year-old tribal girl gang-raiped in Ratlam, India

    INDORE: An 11-year-old tribal girl was allegedly gang-raiped by two youths at a grazing ground in Manakchouk area of Ratlam district in Madhya Pradesh on Sunday. The girl a Class V student was admitted to the Ratlam district hospital.
    The incident took place when the minor girl hailing from the village had gone with four other children of the village to graze herd of goats.

    January 2, 2015 at 8:51 am |
    • Coyle

      I give good BJ to Blue Saffron

      January 2, 2015 at 8:54 am |
  12. Able

    Pakistani people are very dirty. They stink like Philip's azzz

    January 2, 2015 at 8:52 am |
  13. Fill-Up

    I su ck Blue Saffron di ck.

    January 2, 2015 at 8:59 am |
  14. Coyle

    The 9/11 pilots were probably hindus from India . They were busy raiping in the cokpit and some were defecating in the aisles and hit the buildings rather than flying to Bombay

    January 2, 2015 at 9:01 am |
  15. Blue Saffron

    Philip likes big Paki di cks up his as.as.

    January 2, 2015 at 9:01 am |
  16. Coyle

    I su ck Modi di ck.

    January 2, 2015 at 9:02 am |
  17. Michael Aloysius O'Reilly

    For the denigration of government we have to thank: Ronald Reagan ("Government is the problem"); his friend and ally Margaret Thatcher; Ayn Rand; Ron Paul; Milton Friedman Friedrich Hayek and many more "I did it all by myself" fools.

    January 2, 2015 at 9:28 am |
  18. rupert

    Thank u Michael.

    Philip, blue saffron, and the rest of the trolls. U are all very stup id. U post worst trash than I would ever want to. Fukk u all for ruining this thread. Sukk my di/ck too.

    Dr. Zakaria has tolerated more than he has to. They work hard to post the news and u A.S.S. wholes just rip it up. I hope someone at your work place fukks up your work. A.s.s. wholes!

    January 2, 2015 at 9:43 am |
  19. Jack Murphy

    INDIA's INNOVATION : Alive and Well.


    At an annual briefing with reporters, India's Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi said that a total of 122,069 raipe cases were reported in New Delhi in the 12 months leading up to December 15, against 92,571 reported the previous year, an increase of 31.6 per cent.

    The city sealed its reputation as India's “raipe capital” two years ago when a medical student died after being gang-raiped on a moving bus. The figures were released the same day that an Uber taxi driver accused of raiping a female passenger in Delhi last month made his second appearance in court.

    January 2, 2015 at 10:37 am |
    • Chippendale

      Wonder what that translates to as % of India's GDP?

      January 2, 2015 at 10:40 am |
      • Hubert

        Raipes are significant portion of India's GDP. They call them RPS over there. Raipes Per Second.

        January 2, 2015 at 10:49 am |
  20. Jaswinder Singh

    We don't care about American Innovation. We want Khalistan as an Indian Innovation.

    January 2, 2015 at 10:52 am |
  21. Sheikh Mir


    We want implementation not innovation.


    January 2, 2015 at 10:55 am |
  22. chri§§y

    And WE dont care to keep hearing about India all the damn time! Its non stop with your troll azz...no matter what the topic is you ALWAYS make it about India and your favorite...raype! Why is that ya think? Cuz youre a per vert!

    January 2, 2015 at 11:06 am |
    • Lenny Bey

      India is about 20% of world population and there is a raype every 2 seconds over there. You better be prepared to read about it. Either that or get out of town. Savvy.

      January 2, 2015 at 12:06 pm |
  23. San Martini


    Just like US is letting the Puerto Ricans decide their fate, a plebiscite needs to be held in Kashmir under UN supervision to allow these people to decide their future. That is what democracy is all about.

    Therefore, the only Technology Transfer that India needs is how to hold plebiscite in Indian Occupied Kashmir. It took Putin of Russia a week to hold plebiscite in Crimea. India has not been able to accomplish this in 70 years. YES, 70 YEARS !! RUB YOUR EYES !!!

    So India should import this technology from Russia. UN will pay for it. Pakistan can finance it. It is called innovation.

    January 2, 2015 at 11:44 am |
  24. Blue Saffroń

    Let us start 2015 on the right foot and on the right side of the bed. There is no reason to huff and puff and air what you want to read or not. Cause CNN ain't listening and won't write what you want to read. So take what you get.

    And stop posting your holier than thou comments under various IDs. And I am talking to you @bat aka@canary in a mine. Run along now child.

    January 2, 2015 at 12:03 pm |
    • rupert

      Blue Saffron. U are guilty. U ARE A CANARY. U also are the one that uses multi screen names.
      U CANARY!
      I see u are Hannah and your many other muppets in blue.

      January 2, 2015 at 1:24 pm |
  25. palintwit

    Isn't it amazing how Sarah Palin always has a new "book" to peddle just in time for the Xmas shopping season? Isn't it amazing how teabaggers and rednecks have no problem plunking down $12 or $15 or $20 or more for this trash? Isn't it amazing how Sarah Palin makes fools out of these low I.Q. trailer park losers while dancing her way to the bank? Isn't it amazing that she doesn't even write that garbage herself but implies that she does?

    January 2, 2015 at 12:26 pm |
    • Profile of the typical Republican voter

      1. Thinks they themselves are rich.
      2. Makes less than $100,000/yr.
      3. Has a net worth less than $200,000.
      4. Primary residence is on wheels or blocks.
      5. Still has a mortgage on that residence.
      6. Thinks republicans are conservatives.
      7. Benefits directly from the ACA but really, really hates Obamacare.
      8. Thinks they are religious but they should read the book, "How NOT To Be A Republican" (a.k.a. The Bible).
      9. Probably retired and depending on SS and Medicare or will be the person most likely to need SS and Medicare.
      10. Has a government job or job that is funded/subsidized by the government.
      11. Racist.
      12. Likes to vote against their own interests.
      13. Actually thinks republicans represent THEM!!
      14. Too stupid to understand this post.

      January 2, 2015 at 1:20 pm |
  26. Hannah

    American Innovations:

    Time has come to resolve Kashmir and Palestine
    To live for a day in freedom... fighting for your rights... is better than a hundred years in slavery and subjugation. that is their mantra, that is their mission, that is their passion.

    January 2, 2015 at 12:38 pm |
    • Hannah

      BTW Kashmir referred to herein is Indian Occupied Kashmir in India.

      January 2, 2015 at 12:39 pm |
  27. Thomas

    Bono says he's worried that he may never play guitar again .

    I didn't know he played guitar , isn'y he a singer ?

    January 2, 2015 at 12:51 pm |
    • palintwit

      Sarah Palin plays skin flutes. As many as she can. Everyday. 24 / 7

      January 2, 2015 at 12:59 pm |
  28. Jaswinder Singh

    Forget innovation. We want Khalistan. In India.

    January 2, 2015 at 1:09 pm |
  29. Timmy Suckle

    No innovation on our health care system thanks to the Medical Cartels!

    I kissed my way up to CEO at a health insurance company. Now I take over $1,000,000 of your health care dollars for NO VALUE ADDED to your health care. And that’s just me. Now think about how many other CEOs, VPs, Directors, Managers, etc. are at my company alone. Now multiply that by thousands of others at hundreds of other health insurance companies. From 10 to 25% of your health care dollars go towards administration that adds NO VALUE to your health care. But my company’s PAC dollars will continue to fool you little people into thinking that a single payer system will be bad. Little people like you are so easy to fool. Little people also don’t realize that a single payer system is the ONLY system that would allow little people (as an entire country) to negotiate better health care prices. Little people don’t realize that the Medical Cartels already know that. And that is the reason why the Medical Cartels spend so much PAC money from the hospitals and doctors lobbying against a single payer system. Some little people say that a single payer system would cost you little people more. But if that were true, then wouldn’t the hospitals and doctors WANT that extra money? Yes they would. So why do the Medical Cartels lobby against a single payer system? It’s because the Medical Cartels know it would allow little people to negotiate better health care prices. And that’s what the Medical Cartels are afraid of. Period.
    But us big wigs at insurance companies, hospitals, and pharmacy companies don’t ever need to worry about health care no matter what it costs. We get our health care paid for one way or another by you little people. And we get the little people that work at our companies to contribute to our PACs. And us big wigs say it’s to protect the little peoples’ jobs. But in reality it would be in the little peoples’ best interest to NOT contribute to the PAC. Again, little people are so easily fooled. I won’t ever have to worry about losing my job with so many little people being brain washed by the Medical Cartels’ PAC money. Not only that, the Medical Cartels’ PAC money is used to elect so many republicans that will never allow a single payer system. Republicans have always fought against any meaningful health care reform. But that’s what our Medical Cartels’ PACs pay them for. Politicians can be bought so easily.
    Pretty soon the only people that will be able to afford health care is us big wigs. And that’s the way it should be. We don’t want you little people using up the resources when we need them. And once again, I thank you little people for capping my SS tax at the $117,000 level. Now I only pay 1.17% SS tax and you little people pay 6.2%. Also, thank you for extending my tax breaks. I’m using the extra money on my vacation houses.

    January 2, 2015 at 1:18 pm |
  30. Jaswinder Singh

    Forget innovation. We want Khalistan. In India.KHALISTAN

    January 2, 2015 at 1:26 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.