Shaun Hendy’s blog has some more comments on the theme of science, technology and innovation, prompted by our slide down the World Economic Forum rankings. His idea that scale is the main problem seems consistent with what I see in Europe – it is so easy to confer with the right people here (low spatial transaction costs!) Government policies have a huge role to play. The comparison made in the comments with Singapore is interesting, although it is very easy to run a country when you don’t have to be democratic about it. I have been talking to yet another successful Israeli – the amount of money and hard work put in to science and technology there is staggering.
I think it is likely that the real problem is just culture. We don’t value investment in these things enough, owing to ignorance and different values to some extent (sport and leisure more important than intellectual pursuits). I hope things change soon – I don’t really want to leave, but the pull of the rest of the world is growing for people like me.