What does President Bush mean for us?
by Lucy Marcus
Now that we know that we will have President Bush, it is time to refocus our attention on what happens next and what impact the new administration will have on the development and use of technology, both in the US and internationally.
The global nature of technology is such that for the most part governments do not and cannot hold back the progress and momentum of the development and advancement of technology. It can, however have an impact in the use of technology in the way that it legislates around technology related issues, as well as the choices it makes in domestic and international policies.
New domestic and foreign policy changes will affect the sectors that are using technology to grow their businesses and increase their competitive advantage, including health care, biotech, and manufacturing. There are a couple of industries where this will be seen very clearly. For example, President-elect Bush has committed to earmarking at least 20 percent of the procurement budget for next-generation weaponry as well as to increasing defense research and development spending by at least $20 billion from fiscal year 2002 to 2006.
Other areas where the new administration is likely to launch policy initiatives that might have an impact on the future direction of technology development and use include labor and tax regulations. He has committed to increasing H-1B visas for temporary high-skilled workers employed in the US. Bush has also announced that he will extend the tax credit for research and development, and he has promised an Internet tax moratorium for at least five years. His success or failure to deliver on these policies will not only impact on the US, but it will also shape the way in which these issues are viewed and handled on the global stage.
The development and rapid introduction of technology in many sectors of the economy has pushed the envelope of areas such as privacy and copyright, and the decisions made by the new administration will have long-lasting and global consequences. The world will also be watching to see how the administration will react to new issues that arise, both the expected, such as unionisation, and the unexpected.
There are a wide range of key issues that are common to the US and Europe, and globally, and where the ability or inability to work together to coordinate and harmonise policies could do a great deal of help or harm. These include social issues such as bridging the digital divide, social venture capital, technology in schools, investment in "human capital", and the promotion of ethical business practices in technology and technology related sectors, and of course and anti-trust law.
In order to be effective and make a positive and meaningful impact on the development and use of technology, President-elect Bush's team will need to develop relationships with key companies and influencers both domestically and internationally. Bush will also have to ensure that he surrounds himself with knowledgeable and capable advisors who understand the larger impact of the choices they make.
One dimension of the overall election result is the lack of a clear majority in Congress. This means that radical departures from current policies are unlikely, as controversial legislation will be held up in the legislature. Thus the technology will continue to be developed and used and to move forward, and it will be a case of lead, follow, or get out of the way.
Lucy Marcus is Managing Director of Marcus Venture Consulting and founder of HighTech Women.
Lucy was listed in Business Age Magazine's "Net 10" The 10 Women Changing the Direction of British Business.
Copyright Lucy P. Marcus. All Rights Reserved.
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