On March 12, 2014, Hudson’s Initiative on Future Innovation convened a distinguished panel of experts from government, business, and the academic world for an off-the-record workshop on working drafts of two illuminating new papers on the status and culture of American innovation: Jim Manzi’s “The New American System,” and Charles Murray’s “America and the Culture of Innovation,” each a broad, historically informed survey of the current status and economic, social, and institutional “infrastructure” of innovation in the United States—and each offering provocative, if preliminary, forecasts and prescriptions for the future.
Following Hudson’s workshop discussion, both papers were revised by their authors, and each has now been published: Manzi’s in the Spring 2014 issue of National Affairs, and available online here and Murray’s—under the title “Does America Still Have What It Takes?”—as the April 2014 “Monthly Essay” in Mosaic Magazine, and available online here.
Two of Hudson’s March 12 guest discussants have also since published web postings about the session. Economist Arnold Kling, who admits that he attends “these sorts of things” on a frequent basis but only rarely “hears a stimulating idea,” reports that Hudson’s workshop “was one of the winners”—and he lists not just one but eleven separate stimulating ideas that came up during the conversation in a blog entry here. Dr. Jeffrey Salmon, Deputy Director for Resource Management at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science and Technical Information (OSTI), describes Hudson’s March 12 workshop as “rich and multi-layered” exchange of views providing “much food for thought” and a range of “key ideas and arguments of particular interest” to government policymakers in an extensive OSTI blog posting here.
Jim Manzi is a guest scholar in the Economic Studies program and founder of the Project for Experimental Innovation in Policy at the Brookings Institution. As founder and chairman of Applied Predictive Technologies (APT), the world’s largest purely cloud-based predictive analytics software company; a veteran of AT&T Laboratories; the holder of multiple patents; and the author of Uncontrolled (2012), a widely discussed book on the importance of rapid, iterative experimentation in business and the public sector, Jim Manzi is one of the nation’s most respected voices on policy questions related to technological innovation and economic growth.
Political scientist and author Charles Murray is currently W. H. Brady Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He first came to national attention in 1984 with the publication of Losing Ground, which proved to be a major theoretical influence on what became the federal Welfare Reform Act of 1996. His 1994 New York Times bestseller The Bell Curve, coauthored with the late Richard J. Herrnstein, sparked heated controversy for its analysis of the role of IQ in shaping America’s class structure. Murray’s other books include What It Means to Be a Libertarian, Human Accomplishment, In Our Hands, and Real Education. His most volume, Coming Apart (2012), describes an unprecedented class divergence in the United States over the past half century.