The secret to building the next Silicon Valley

political leaders have Ever since the invention of the microchip, attempts have been made to replicate the high-tech magic of Silicon Valley. In 1960, then-French president and tech-savvy Charles de Gaulle toured Palo Alto in an open-top limousine. In 2010, the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitri Medvedev, wore smart casual attire to meet and tweet with Silicon Valley social media moguls. Hundreds of eager delegations, both foreign and domestic, were in between. “Silicon Valley,” inventor and entrepreneur Robert Metcalfe once said, “is the only place on earth that hasn’t figured out how to be Silicon Valley.”

In the US, too, leaders have been trying to design another Silicon Valley. However, after billions of dollars in tax deductions and a “Silicon Something” marketing campaign, nowhere can match the initial company creation and venture capital investment — efforts that often end up benefiting multinationals far beyond the region itself. Wisconsin pledged more than $4 billion in tax breaks and subsidies to Taiwanese electronics maker Foxconn in 2017, but has spent hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars preparing for Foxconn’s arrival, a $10 billion factory and 13,000 workers. Plans for jobs evaporated. When Amazon searched for a second headquarters in 2017, 238 U.S. cities fought each other to lure one of the world’s richest companies with a tax and subsidy package, only to see HQ2 move to two places Amazon might choose, Because they already have technical talent.One of Northern Virginia’s winners commits to Amazon Up to $773 million STATE AND LOCAL TAX SUBSIDIES — The public price tag for gleaming high-tech buildings appears to be particularly high as Amazon joins other tech giants in indefinitely delaying plans to return to offices after the pandemic.

While the U.S. tech industry is much larger than it used to be, the list of top tech clusters — the Bay Area, Seattle, Boston, Austin — has remained largely unchanged since the days of 64K desktops and floppy disks.Even the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic do very little change this very static and height imbalance Technological Geography.

Still, politicians are trying again.Bills passed by Congress include American Innovation and Competition Actt (USICA), which includes a substantial increase in research spending, $10 billion in new grants and subsidies to develop “regional innovation centers,” and $52 billion to expand domestic semiconductor production.This Rebuild better behavior The approach now being pushed through the Senate includes more than $43 billion for tech-influenced projects to boost local economies.These measures emphasize investment rather than tax deductions, all in all, investment is more place-based economic strategy than the United States for decades. They are very hopeful. But they are just the beginning.

You don’t have to travel far in Silicon Valley to find a tech libertarian who declares that the industry’s success is purely the result of a startup frenzy and that the best the government can do is to get out of the way. But this conclusion ignores history. In fact, public spending has played a huge role in high-tech economic growth in Silicon Valley, Seattle, Boston, and Austin. Understanding how this happened is critical for imagining where technology might develop next.

during world war Second, the unprecedented mobilization of manpower and resources by the U.S. government has reshaped the U.S. economic map. The Depression-hit Midwest assembly line was brought back to life under the direction of the government, producing jeeps and tanks instead of passenger cars. Scientists and technologists put their usual research pursuits on hold and joined the wartime “brain army.” Many of the people involved in the top-secret push to develop the atomic bomb lived in brand new communities built by the military that were so remote that they might go unnoticed: the New Mexico desert, the arid plains of eastern Washington, the depressions of rural Tennessee .

World War II was a test case for using government investment to stimulate scientific progress and reshape regional economies. The Cold War brought it to scale. Military spending, which was curtailed at the end of the war, picked up in the early 1950s amid the new atomic arms race with the Soviet Union and the Korean War. Take a stroll around an American university campus today, notice the number of science buildings constructed in the 1950s and 1960s, and you can see the results of pouring concrete.

Originally, the area on top of the high-tech stack was on the east coast. Until the 1980s, Boston was the largest technology economy in the United States. The area that ultimately ousted Boston from its high-tech throne was known before the war as the prune-producing capital of the United States. One of the things that separates the Silicon Valley of the future from its agricultural counterparts is Stanford University, which has some pretty good engineering programs, and some alumni tinkering in nearby garage startups.

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