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Targeting the computer: government support and international competition
Flamm K., The Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, 1987. Type: Book (9789780815728528)
Date Reviewed: Mar 1 1988

This book appears to be written for computer industry organizations and governmental leaders. It asserts that governmental support is essential to develop “radically new concepts in computer technology.” The book is well researched and of importance to policymakers.

While “foreign markets are of small significance to the social argument for undertaking research,” they are “of major importance to private investment decisions.” It appears that “increased funding for computer-related research far outstrips growth in other research funds budgeted by government.”

The good health of the Japanese computer industry is a result not of the quantity of spending but rather of “the careful maintenance of competition in the domestic market, the joint nature of national industrial research projects, and the emphasis on viewing national industry in the framework of an international market.” Japan has also used tax incentives to stimulate investment and expand the use of computers.

The author proposes a national technology office to coordinate and facilitate research. A first priority for the United States must be to “keep open global markets for its technology-intensive products. . . .In the best case, international economic rivalry would be channeled into competition based on innovation and differentiation.”

Given the policy implications of the book, it is unfortunate that the author fails to identify his background, bias, and overall orientation. Nor does the author devote much space to alternative views. Otherwise, the book provides interesting reading for students of public policy.

Reviewer:  Brad Reid Review #: CR112169
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