Look, there’s no simple way to calculate which countries are the most technologically innovative, I’ll grant that. But Bloomberg gave it a try by creating a “Global Innovation Index,” and what they discovered is that Scandinavia does quite well. If we define Scandinavia as including Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland, then it’s one of the strongest regions on the planet.
Let’s break it down into groups and see where they ranked:
3. United States of America
16. United Kingdom
20. New Zealand
1. South Korea
27. Hong Kong
Let’s begin with the obvious fact that Sweden scored ahead of the USA on their index. That’s a big problem for Stu Bykofsky’s thesis:
[Millennials] positive view of socialism, while a minority at one-third, is twice as high as those 65-plus.
Socialism doesn’t scare me, but I oppose it because a system that takes care of all your needs throttles initiative. I believe independence and entrepreneurship are the foundations of America.
Take a look at where most of the world high-tech innovations are born. It’s not Scandinavia.
Millennials do not share my anathema to the welfare state.
They probably think it’s a good idea. That may be the New American Character.
But it’s not mine and I’m glad I won’t be here to see it.
I’d like to point out here, for starters, that “anathema” means “curse” and not “aversion.” But vocabulary aside, three out of four Scandinavian countries score higher on the Global Innovation Index than our buddies in Canada and Australia, and all four of them do better than the United Kingdom.
Now, naturally Bykofsky can simply complain that Bloomberg used a flawed and arbitrary set of metrics. But where are his metrics? You can’t rebut something with nothing. Bloomberg ranked Sweden the strongest (4th) in a metric called Research and Development Intensity and another called High-Tech Density (5th). America ranked first in the latter category (think Silicon Valley and the Research Triangle), but it only ranked 10th in the former (think science-doubting Republican-led Congress).
In the Conservative Movement, there can be no questioning the premise that socialism stifles economic initiative and technological innovation, but the evidence suggests that the most socialist countries on Earth are doing much better than average and measurably better than the countries most like America.
I didn’t list the mainland Western European countries, but they’re pretty socialist when compared to the USA. And they are doing well, too: Germany (5th), Switzerland (8th), France (12th), Netherlands (15th), Austria (17th), Belgium (19th), Luxembourg (21st), and Italy (22nd).
Feel free to try to find other studies. I’m not going to argue that this one is the definitive answer to the question of which countries are the most successful in the tech industry, and I’ll accept any evidence you can provide as worthy of being part of the debate.
Until I learn otherwise, though, I still think it’s a problem for Bykofosky’s whole world view that Sweden ranks higher than the United States in a freaking Bloomberg study.
This knowledge, should he acquire it, will probably not improve his waning will to live.
[Cross-posted at Progress Pond]