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Slashing R&D in favor of more important things, like wars and profits. Who cares about America’s future?

25 August 2010

Summary:  A follow-up to The face of America’s decline.  Another in a series about America’s inability to make the investments in our future necessary to maintain our prosperity.

A look at America’s R&D spending

In 2007 we spend $406 billion, 28% of which was by government.  Half of the government’s spending is military-related (not including DoE’s spending on nuke weapons, and other hidden items).    Some of the private spending was by military contractors.

Since WWII R&D spending as a percent of GDP has risen around the world.  Federal spending as %/GDP has been falling since the late 1980’s; private r&d/gdp (mostly corporate) has fallen since 2000 (it rose steadily since WWII).  For more about this see the BLS data on Research and Development.

How do we compare with our competitors?  The following graphics come from page 19 the OECD’s 2010 report “Main Science and Technology Indicators“.  They include spending on military R&D (otherwise our standing would look even worse).

Other posts about America’s investments in its future

  1. College education in America, another broken business model
  2. Introduction:  How has American invested in its future? Where have we put our money?
  3.  The Great Society, one of history’s boldest social engineering projects
  4. Nixon declared war on drugs, a major investment of America in itself – but one that’s gone bad

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