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Innovation Policy and National Security, by Linda Weiss


25th May 2017






CCCB Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona. Carrer Montalegre, 5 - 08001 Barcelona


The talk is based on the argument of Linda Weiss’ book, America Inc? Innovation and Enterprise in the National Security State (Cornell University Press). Since WWII, the United States has created the most formidable innovation engine the world has ever seen and, although difficult to quantify, its benefits for the commercial economy have been enormous. America’s rise as the world’s high-tech hegemon is not a free market story, nor is it an industrial policy tale. Rather, it is the product of a national security state (NSS) that has pursued technological supremacy as a strategic imperative essential to sustaining U.S. power - increasingly by directly promoting commercial innovation in order to ensure collaboration from its most advanced suppliers. This NSS creation, however, is now threatened by financialisation of the U.S. economy, manifested in the growing disconnect between innovation and production and dwindling private investment in productive assets. To this extent, the main threat to U.S. preeminence would appear to come not from a rising power such as China, but from within.

Linda Weiss specializes in the comparative and international politics of economic development, with a focus on state capacity and public-private sector relations in an era of globalisation. She is an elected Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, Professor Emeritus in Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, and Honorary Professor of Political Science at Aarhus University. She has lectured widely in Europe, Asia, Brazil, and North America. Her major works include The Myth of the Powerless State (Cornell University Press, 1998), Creating Capitalism (Blackwell Pub, 1988); States and Economic Development (Polity Press, 1995); States in The Global Economy (Cambridge University Press, 2003); and the co-edited volume, Developmental Politics in Transition: The Neoliberal Era and Beyond (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012). While her earlier research dealt largely with Europe and East Asia, her most recent book, America Inc.? Innovation and Enterprise in the National Security State, focuses on the United States (Cornell University Press, 2014).

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