The United States of Awesome: America Still Leads in Innovation and Economic Dynamism


The Economist looks at the challenge advancing technology like sharing platforms poses to left-wing politicians, using France as an example. Check out the fun fact at the end of the paragraph, which is really the main reason for the post:

Emboldened by books such as “The Second Machine Age”, by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, France’s economy minister, Emmanuel Macron Macron and his friends are grappling with how to rewrite the rules of equality and welfare for the digital economy, which hollows out the salaried middle, spreads freelance work and sidelines union-backed incumbents. What, they ask, will the left have to say when driverless cars make unionised taxi-drivers redundant? Or about legal working time in an Uberised economy where freelancing prevails? Such questions may seem otherworldly to those handing out flyers and treading pavements to try to stave off electoral defeat today. But the workplace shake-up is on its way faster than Mr Hollande can perform a pirouette on economic policy. Nearly 25% of Europe’s workforce is not salaried. Mr McAfee reckons that half of today’s jobs will in time be automated out of existence. And France is ripe for disruption: mergers aside, the youngest firm in the CAC 40, the main stock index, was founded in 1967.

Let assume that fact is correct. How does the US compare? Well, among the Dow 30, the youngest company is Cisco Systems, founded in 1984. Then you have a bunch from the 1970s, including Apple, Home Depot, and Microsoft. And there’s Intel from 1968. That group both shows America’s technological leadership, but also the US economy’s ability to innovate in other areas such as retailing. (How is Alphabet not part of the Dow industrials, by the way? Then again, Apple only got there earlier this year.) Seems a much better way of gauging economic dynamism and innovative oomph than, say, the share of government spending devoted to R&D. I might also point out that the US produces far more large tech startups than all of Europe combined (chart via the Financial Times):


And I love this chart comparing nations on their ability to produce billionaire entrepreneurs per million residents. I have helpfully highlighted the US and France:


Oh, and so I just don’t pick on France, Germany’s economy has its problems, too.

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  1. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens


    • #1
  2. Marion Evans Member
    Marion Evans

    There are many entrepreneurial Europeans in… Silicon Valley. And other US locations. To name a few: Pierre Omidyar (eBay), Sergei Brin (Google), Peter Thiel (Paypal etc.), Jon Ive (Apple).

    It is not that Europe does not have them. It does, but they run away to America.

    • #2
  3. James Madison Member
    James Madison

    “There are many entrepreneurial Europeans in… Silicon Valley.” This trend started in the ’80’s and continues to this day. Why wouldn’t they run away?

    Silicon Valley should take stock of this when they contribute to the Democrats. Where will they be going if California and the Fed’s take us on the yellow brick road to France?

    • #3

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