Ending the Cold Wars in Science and Technology: How Collaboration, Not Competition, Advances U.S. Interests
In a new article in Issues in Science and Technology, Professors Leonard Lynn and Hal Salzman argue the United States can only succeed by developing a “science, technology, and innovation (STI) commons” that recognizes an increasingly multipolar world.
Washington is worried about America losing its “competitiveness,” but is failing to come up with policies that truly strengthen the nation. Professors Leonard Lynn of Case Western Reserve University and Hal Salzman of Rutgers University argue that global collaboration, in areas from climate change and pandemics to energy, could bring substantially greater benefits than techno-nationalist competition — not only for the world, but specifically for the United States.
In a new article in Issues in Science and Technology, Professors Lynn and Salzman argue the United States can only succeed by developing a “science, technology, and innovation (STI) commons” that recognizes an increasingly multipolar world. Building on the work of Nobel prize-winning political scientist Elinor Ostrom, Lynn and Salzman call for mutual-gain, not zero-sum, strategies that accelerate science and innovation while fostering greater equity.
A key principle of STI Commons is that attempts to sequester the world’s best talents inside the nation’s borders are futile, just as the race to outspend other nations is inefficient and ineffective. Rather, the STI Commons approach would unite scientists, technologists, and other innovators in tackling the world’s most pressing challenges for both commercial enterprises and the public good.
Policymakers, along with the science and innovation community, can use STI Commons to build on existing models that have proven effective. CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research), for example, began as a collaborative physics lab for mostly Western European nations but has expanded to include over 33 nations across the globe and produced innovations such as the web server, the touchscreen, medical technologies, among a long list of innovations that have been commercialized and employed globally for widespread benefit and profitability.
The proposal of Professors Lynn and Salzman paves a “third way” for global STI policy: one that motivates nations to advance through collaborative advantage and fuels innovation by firms that build talent globally.