Future Jobs Depend on a Science-Based Economy
The 2012 presidential election will be won by the candidate who can convince voters that he has the vision to lift the nation out of the economic doldrums. The economy is the right topic, but the discussion neglects the true driver of the country’s prosperity: scientific and technological enterprise. Half of the U.S. economic growth since World War II has come from advances in science and technology. To neglect that powerâ€”and the government’s role in priming the pumpâ€”would be foolish.
The auto industry is a case in point. President Barack Obama makes much out of having rescued Detroit’s carmakers from bankruptcy. This achievement won’t hold up, however, unless the thousands of small auto-parts manufacturers down the supply chain stay globally competitive. One way to help them would be to foster initiatives like the National Digital Engineering and Manufacturing Consortium, which is providing independent manufacturers potent information technology at Purdue University and the Ohio Supercomputer Center. By harnessing this science and technology strength, we can generate a competitive advantage for small businesses.