Not to mention whether TECHNOCORRECTIONS will happen here first or somewhere else.
A new study of worldwide technological competitiveness suggests China may soon rival the United States as the principal driver of the world's economy - a position the U.S. has held since the end of World War II. If that happens, it will mark the first time in nearly a century that two nations have competed for leadership as equals.
The study's indicators predict that China will soon pass the United States in the critical ability to develop basic science and technology, turn those developments into products and services - and then market them to the world. Though China is often seen as just a low-cost producer of manufactured goods, the new "High Tech Indicators" study done by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology clearly shows that the Asian powerhouse has much bigger aspirations.
"For the first time in nearly a century, we see leadership in basic research and the economic ability to pursue the benefits of that research - to create and market products based on research - in more than one place on the planet," said Nils Newman, co-author of the National Science Foundation-supported study. "Since World War II, the United States has been the main driver of the global economy. Now we have a situation in which technology products are going to be appearing in the marketplace that were not developed or commercialized here. We won't have had any involvement with them and may not even know they are coming."
Georgia Tech's "High Tech Indicators" study ranks 33 nations relative to one another on "technological standing," an output factor that indicates each nation's recent success in exporting high technology products. Four major input factors help build future technological standing: national orientation toward technological competitiveness, socioeconomic infrastructure, technological infrastructure and productive capacity. Each of the indicators is based on a combination of statistical data and expert opinions.
A chart showing change in the technological standing of the 33 nations is dominated by one feature - a long and continuous upward line that shows China moving from "in the weeds" to world technological leadership over the past 15 years.
The 2007 statistics show China with a technological standing of 82.8, compared to 76.1 for the United States, 66.8 for Germany and 66.0 for Japan. Just 11 years ago, China's score was only 22.5. The United States peaked in 1999 with a score of 95.4.
"It's like being 40 years old and playing basketball against a competitor who's only 12 years old - but is already at your height," Newman said. "You are a little better right now and have more experience, but you're not going to squeeze much more performance out. The future clearly doesn't look good for the United States."