The Future of the American Idea Factory

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photoInnovation has long been the high octane fuel driving the American engine to prosperity — the creative force that delivered the microchip, the airbag, and email. Now, that American cutting edge of invention is being dulled.

Tinkerers and corporations alike are working in an environment increasingly hostile to the whizz-bang act of creation. China is educating more engineers than the U.S. — half a million more. The arm of Corporate Research and Development has been slapped back by the greedy hand of stockholders demanding more short-term profits.

Just this weekend, a husband-wife team of much recruited stem cell researchers chose Shanghai over Stanford because of slow funding.

Hear about the shaky future of the American idea factory.


Charles Vest, President Emeritus of MIT, and member of the National Academies of Science's Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st century.

This program aired on November 21, 2005.


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