Thursday, May 5, 2011

More on innovation

Yesterday's entry described Israeli innovations in armor defense technology; today's is about the lack of EU innovation, as bemoaned by EU council chairman Herman Van Rompuy.

Van Rompuy blamed the lack of innovation on "societal problems" and said people "live in a climate of despair and are depressed." Which is interesting, if you think about it: if Europeans were beset by existential enemies on all sides, would they be more likely to innovate? (Just for the record, the latest Gallup poll reports that Israel is the seventh highest country on the happiness index. Ahead of it are several European countries, rather undercutting Van Rompuy's argument. )

The solution, according to Van Rompuy: political leaders must be upbeat and work hard to get people to invent new things. No suggestion, of course, that the massive weight of governmental taxation and regulation could be a cause of the problem or that the EU, itself a mighty bureaucratic machine, might be least able to fix the problem. Earlier this week, Ernst & Young released a report decrying the wastefulness and complexity of competing EU programs intended to foster innovation.

In fact, Van Rompuy's remarks sound a lot like what used to emanate from Soviet and Warsaw Pact leaders. I'm sure that's just a coincidence...

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