Tuesday, April 07, 2009

New Report Highlights Case Studies in American Innovation

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In a new report released today, the Breakthrough Institute illuminates the stories behind the invention and diffusion of ten technologies that are everyday facets of our modern lives and offers a new look at government involvement in technological development.

The conventional wisdom on climate change -- from Thomas Friedman to the country's largest environmental organizations -- is that cap and trade regulation and carbon pricing is the best way to promote clean energy innovation. However, a growing number of experts are challenging this assumption, recognizing the importance of direct, large-scale public investment to achieve developments in clean energy technology. The outcome of this debate and the correct emphasis on public investment and regulation may determine the course of U.S. and global climate policy.

The new Breakthrough Institute report, Case Studies in American Innovation, presents ten case studies showing that public investment and active government support has been one of the greatest forces behind the nation's technology development and economic growth. Indeed, public investment in the U.S. was largely responsible for railroads, airplanes, microchips, personal computers, and the birth of the Internet -- all of which drove long-term economic development. This evidence not only challenges conventional wisdom on climate policy, but also on national economic policy, which has been dominated for three decades by neoclassical economists.

You can download the full document here or read the following excerpts from the new report on the Breakthrough Institute blog here:

See the report's full table of contents below the fold...

This report is a product of the 2008 Breakthrough Generation Summer Fellowship Program.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction - pg 1
  • Summary - pg 1
  • Myths, Facts, and Today's Energy Innovation Challenge - pg 2
  • Case Studies in American Innovation - pg 4
  • Uniting a Nation: Railroads - pg 4
  • From Kitty Hawk to Boeing Field: The Aviation Industry - pg 6
  • The Semiconductor Revolution: Microchips - pg 8
  • Silicon Valley Garage or Government Lab: Personal Computing - pg 10
  • From ARPANET to the World Wide Web: the Internet - pg 12
  • Spotlight: A Breakthrough Gas Turbine - pg 14
  • Atoms for Peace: Nuclear Power - pg 15
  • Spotlight: Printable Solar Cells - pg 17
  • Myth and Reality: Synthetic Fuels - pg 18
  • International Examples - pg 21
  • Inheriting the Wind: Danish Wind Power - pg 21
  • Soaking Up the Sun: Solar Power in Germany and Japan - pg 23
  • Spotlight: New Efficient Appliances - pg 25

Download the full report here.

1 comment:

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