Management theorist Peter Drucker famously declared that companies must “innovate or die.” Washington today is full of similar warnings, based on the premise that the United States is losing its innovation edge. The fear is that industrial and technological advancements in other countries—and in China in particular—threaten to leave us behind.
In fact, the overwhelming evidence suggests that the US still has an advantage in supporting high-growth industries and scientific breakthroughs. In our new Renewing America Progress Report and Scorecard, “Keeping the Edge: U.S. Innovation,” we argue that the United States continues to outperform other countries in technological innovation, which drives rising living standards in advanced economies. While there are serious problems with the patent system, immigration law and “basic research” that could hurt the US down the line, these are problems that can be addressed with sensible policy tweaks, as we argue today in an article titled “The US should fix immigration and patents or kiss its innovation edge goodbye” for the online magazine Quartz.