EurActiv - Letters to the Editor


Both Europe and the USA have in relative terms to the constantly emerging South East Asian region declining economies. Although these economic blocs know that they have major problems on the horizon and when only innovation can get them out of their economic woes in the long term, they still continue to treat innovation as if we are living in the mid-20th century, when the USA and Europe ruled supreme.

Another 60 years on and all that has changed – and is constantly changing, unfortunately in a downward spiral. The main reasons for this are complacency and the wrong priorities. All empires have declined due to the mindset that they think that things will always be as they are for those who have attained and are the dominant power. Therefore innovative systems have changed to control systems.

In this respect what has happened in the USA and Europe over the last six decades is that adapters have come to control the system and innovation has been continually stifled year after year as the adapters have taken the ‘high’ ground of political control.

In direct contrast the South-East Asian region, India and to some extent the Middle East are powering ahead with trade pacts in a climate that allows innovation to flourish. In this respect, unlike us in the West who are controlled by politicians mainly from the legal profession, our Eastern counterparts are controlled by scientists and engineers to a very great degree.

This vast difference in basic thinking and knowledge makes all the difference when determining what a nation’s priorities should be in the long term. One side recognises and understands that the world will be driven by control of technology economy in the 21st century and the other side politically knows hardly anything about technology other than using it, never understanding that it is the major wealth creator in the world now.

Lawyers know how to control the system through legislation but scientists and engineers know where the real future wealth of the world will be created. As a prime example just look at the leadership of China and those of the USA and the EU, and see what background each come from.

Therefore we in the West are concerned in the main with what we have got and the control of that ‘present’ wealth. We presently have 50% of the total turnover of the world (we used to control over 90% some half a century ago). In the East they have not got this but want it and more. A vast difference in economic standpoints and mindsets.

Therefore even if the USA and Europe get together on the innovation front, the bureaucrats (the adapters not the innovators, who can never rise to the top politically in the present political systems of both economic blocs) will stifle all creativity through their fixed and unassociated mindsets that want to control and therefore do not allow our innovation to flourish.

Unless this changes, nothing will really change for the better in the West and we shall stay in our downward spiral of economic decline. These bureaucrats will of course be alright as they will get paid no matter what. It will be the people of Europe who will really suffer, as usual, due to this innovative neglect by those who currently pull the political strings in the West. Therefore not until we get a balanced political system and put innovators in the driving seat will Europe and the USA reverse their economic decline, which is becoming so prevalent year-on-year.

It is not that the EU and the USA are not the most innovative economies, they are by far, but controlling bureaucrats just don’t know how to release this inherent strength that we possess throughout the EU. The reason: they do not understand or comprehend the dynamics of innovation and how a single invention like the ‘chip’ can underpin a global industry turning over one trillion euros annually. Fifty years ago the industry did not exist.

Therefore until Europe and the USA put in place the innovative infrastructure that can release our greatest competitive advantage through invention, even together they will in the end fail miserably – even with presently half of the world’s economic turnover at their command.

Sadly with our present fixed un-knowledge controlled political mindset in the West, I predict that in another half century of this decaying system, our cut of the world economic cake will be no more than a mere 30% of annual world trade.

We have therefore to wake up in the EU to the constantly unfolding facts and change our fixed ways before we destroy all that we hold so dear – the very futures and the jobs of our children and all future generations to come within the EU.

Dr. David Hill

Executive Director

World Innovation Foundation Charity

Bern, Switzerland

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