Sunday, April 20, 2008

Outsourcing Scientific Discoveries

An article in the New York Times titled, "How Scientific Gains Abroad
Pay Off in the U.S." asks the questions, "AT a time of economic
belt-tightening, might cheap science from low-wage countries help keep
American innovators humming?"

While outsourcing is the name of the game, to cut costs and increase
growth, it has been widely adopted in various segments of
manufacturing and industry. "Americans have long profited from
low-cost manufactured goods, especially from Asia. The cost of those
material "inputs" is now rising. But because of growing numbers of
scientists in China, India and other lower-wage countries, "the cost
of producing a new scientific discovery is dropping around the world,"
says Christopher T. Hill, a professor of public policy and technology
at George Mason University," says this article in the New York Times.

Another excerpt from this article--
"We shouldn't fear the rise of science in Asia and other poorer
countries. We should figure out how to take advantage of it," says
Patrick Windham, a lecturer in technology policy at Stanford and a
former staff member of Congressional science committees.
Optimism about scientific globalization is a wrinkle on the familiar
story of outsourcing. Just as United States companies have contracted
out physical production, they can do the same for scientific "goods,"
which range from formulas and ideas to the results of experiments.
In the short-term at least, higher spending on scientists by India and
China could create a glut of them in these countries, driving wages
down further and making the costs of acquiring science even lower.
"Science is the ultimate global activity," says Richard B. Freeman, a
labor economist with the National Bureau of Economic Research. "You
can outsource research."
Mr. Freeman, among others, questions whether there is a shortage of
scientists in the United States. He cites evidence suggesting that
American dominance in science will decline over time and that we
should worry less about purported shortages at home and more about
"developing new ways of benefiting from scientific advances made in
other countries."

For a while now, the critics were wary of this, of innovation moving
away to these fast growing economies of China and India. Lack of focus
on immigration policy, and increase in Reverse Brain Drain, add to
this phenomenon of outsourcing innovation and scientific discoveries,
but as the article says either way it seems like a win-win situation.

Read the full article at --

1 comment:

Nikhil said...

have u checked the new outsourcing firm -