Fear of Falling

How global competition can spur technological innovation and keep America (and Israel) dynamic.


Response
April 16 2014
About the author

Walter Russell Mead is a distinguished fellow at Hudson Institute, professor of foreign affairs and humanities at Bard College, and editor-at-large of the American Interest. His books include Special Providence: American Foreign Policy and How It Changed the World (2004), God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World (2007), and The Arc of a Covenant: The United States, Israel, and the Fate of the Jewish People (forthcoming 2017).


Prediction is always difficult, especially (as Yogi Berra is alleged to have said) about the future. Charles Murray’s brilliant essay on the future of American innovation handles the difficulties well—and, like all good forecasters, he knows when and how to be appropriately Delphic in his pronouncements. “Let Athens trust to her wooden walls,” said the Pythoness as the Persians approached, without specifying whether by “walls” she meant the fortifications around the Acropolis or the hulls of the Athenian fleet. When it comes to the future of American innovation, Murray concludes that it could go either way: European-style malaise, combined with the depredations of the tort bar, could slow innovation to a crawl and put America on the inexorable road to decline; but decline is still a choice, not a fate.

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More about: Charles Murray, innovation, international competition, Israel