Haskins, Caryl P.
January 1971
Foreign Affairs;Jan1971, Vol. 49 Issue 2, p237
This article tackles the scientific and technological development in the 1960s. The U.S. government's historic practice of specifically forwarding the commitments of the private industrial sector to secure major technological advances, especially through the contract mechanism, has been highly significant. Today, although the government is estimated to finance two-thirds of the nation's technical effort, a good two-thirds of the enterprise is executed by private industry. At the same time, the government is itself a main consumer of the technology perfected by industry. The result has been to make private enterprise, to a significant extent, the beneficiary of public undertakings. This contrasts with the practice in Europe, where there has been a tendency to rely primarily on government establishments to conduct the work in government technology and, on the whole, to neglect the resources of private industry. That pattern, which has proved demonstrably less effective, has come under increasing European criticism in recent years, particularly in Great Britain. The U.S. system itself is due to confront some serious and often novel problems over the next decade. They will be posed particularly by the growing need, and the growing public demand, to allocate more of the national productive capacity to imperative social and economic wants. It remains to be seen whether our own system can adapt satisfactorily to these new conditions. Given its flexibility, however, the odds seem good.


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