The Anglosphere and Europe are Innovating the World of the Future, with a Strong Assist from East Asia
All innovation is not created equal. Higher quality and more disruptive innovations count far more in terms of future global impact than any simple patent counts or highly processed “innovation indexes.” Historically, Europe jump-started the modern age of innovation in science and technology, with the center of gravity of global innovation moving to North America in the 20th century. With strong investment and support from Europe and the Anglosphere, East Asia has begun to provide strong innovative assistance — in terms of native achievement and in terms of contributions from human capital exported to Europe and the Anglosphere.
The chart above reveals the disproportionate impact of the Anglosphere, Europe, and East Asia respectively, in terms of “quality” innovation.
The graphic above takes a more detailed look at the influence and components of innovation, once again revealing the central roles played by the Anglosphere, Europe, and East Asia, respectively. (Click on the image for a closer view)
Disruptive Innovation Can Determine the Future of Nations
Why is the US So Much Stronger in the Technology Field than Europe?
Forbes annually ranks the world’s largest companies based on revenue, profit, assets, and market value. In its 2016 compilation, seven of the top 10 tech companies in the world were American. Europe has just just three companies in the top 20: Germany’s SAP, Sweden’s Ericsson, and Finland’s Nokia. And there’s a simply massive size difference between America’s top tech firms and Europe’s. For instance: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Amazon each have a market cap of over $350 billion each. Europe’s tech trio: about $50 billion a pop.
… Europe is wealthy and well educated, certainly more so than China, which has the same number of tech firms on the Forbes list. So what’s its problem? There are a few obvious answers: lack of access to venture capital, inflexible labor markets, and a heterogeneous home market of distinct language, cultures, and regulations.
One French tech entrepreneur has described America’s edge this way: “The confluence of a large pool of capital, world-class talent, vibrant support infrastructure, and a risk-loving culture has bred a self-fulfilling cycle of innovation and entrepreneurship.” __ Source
North America attracts capital, high achievers, innovators, and entrepreneurs because of higher levels of opportunity, a greater acceptance of risk, and a chance for higher rewards for success. This environment of innovation and opportunity has lasted for as long as the US Constitution has been in force. The US Constitution has been a foundation for what has been built in the US — and North America generally.
If not for North America, Europe would be globally dominant in most scientific, technological, and economic areas. Without the US defence umbrella protecting it, Europe would likely also lead the world in military spending, research, development, and global reach.
When looking for current and future superpowers, one must necessarily look among the leaders in innovative science and technology. If a nation’s achievements are almost invisible in global rankings, its future prospects as a superpower are vanishingly small.
Another global map of Nobel Laureates focuses on awards by nation:
Amusingly, the author of the piece linked in the map above seems distressed that most Nobel Prizes are won by people working in the western world — Europe and the Anglosphere.
Surprisingly, 83% of all Nobel laureates have come from Western countries, revealing a significant amount of scientific inequity around the globe.
By Western countries Fisher is referring to Western Europe, the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Looking at the map, it’s clear that Western Europe and North America take the lion’s share of the awards. These prizes have been granted to 72 different countries — but more than half come from only three countries, the U.S., Britain, and Germany. __ George Dvorsky
What is the reason for this “inequity” of achievement? A more productive smart fraction along with better systems of learning and government.
What difference does it make? Consider one person’s timeline of technological innovation and achievement over the past two centuries:
Better innovation can lead to greater prosperity and higher quality of life.
Why are Some Nations Rich and Some Nations Poor?
There is not just one reason for the differences in wealth, poverty, and achievement between nations. Economic systems and government policies of regulation / taxation play large roles. Cultural factors such as ambition, risk-taking, trust, cooperation, and habits of honouring obligations also play very important roles. We have also learned that average national IQ can play a dominant role on determining a nation’s GDP.
Side by side comparisons such as the historical West Germany vs. East Germany, and modern day South Korea vs. North Korea demonstrate that even with very similar population average IQs, different systems of government and economic policies can create stark differences in prosperity and quality of life.
The question is controversial, and remains open to debate because so many different factors contribute to national wealth, poverty, achievement, stability, and quality of life. A few of the authors who have examined this question include Adam Smith, David Landes, John Kay, Jared Diamond, Gregory Clark, Lynn and Vanhanen, Robert Cooter, and many others.
The European Miracle is a 1981 book by economic historian Eric Jones, written to help explain Europe’s amazing rise to global preeminence during the late middle ages.
A relatively recent book, by Peter Zeihan, attempts to explain why North America and the US have grown so powerful, and why the region is likely to remain powerful for at least another century. Zeihan emphasises geography, as well as demographics, in explaining the success of the US and North America.
The rise of the US and North America can be considered a historical and cultural extension of the earlier European rise to dominance. Combining the work of Eric Jones with the logic and data of Peter Zeihan, it is easy to conclude that “The Accidental Superpower” was destined for greatness. But only if an ambitious, conscientious, high-IQ population controlled the entire continent under a system of government such as that provided by the US Constitution.
The massive levels of corruption seen across Asia, Africa, and Latin America suggest that none of these regions is likely to evolve sustainable superpowers without beginning to focus more on developing the opportunities and potential for greatness of their people, and turning away from corrupt central power grabs and potentially violent military competition with their neighbors. Such reforms are highly unlikely for these perennially corrupt regions and nations.
Centres of Disruptive Innovation Likely to Remain the Anglosphere and Europe (w/ help from East Asia)
Europe and the Anglosphere face significant demographic challenges, but the same is true across the economically developed world, as well as most the of the emerging nations except perhaps India. Powerful technological tools allow a shrinking smart fraction to accomplish more per capita, helping to boost innovation and productivity despite a shrinking IQ base.
The geographic, institutional, and demographic advantages in North America provide an enduring foundation of prosperity and innovation that only the worst of government can destroy. Obama has tried, and the Clintons will try again if given a chance. But North America has been attracting the best quality and large quantities of human and economic capital from overseas for centuries now, and is likely to continue doing so.
Rather than attempting to subvert North American companies and ventures, Europe would be far wiser to cooperate with and emulate the aspects of North America that are working well. The same is true for perennial delinquents Russia and China, whose economies are increasingly built upon debt and ever cheaper oil & gas. They should spend far less on weaponry and far more on taking care of their people.
A more peaceful Russia and China would allow North America to spend even more on developing disruptive innovations to help create a more abundant and expansive human future.