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European Tribune - Spain as 51st state
War and terrorism related issues are obviously the most urgent, but the WikiLeaks cables tell some other interesting tales as well.  It turns out the US has been going full throttle in trying to get Spain to adopt America's regressive and punitive stance on intellectual property.

Same in Sweden, and I suspect when more cables has been published it will be the same everywhere. Absentee ownership of imaginary property gives a steady flow of profits to the imperial core.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Dec 13th, 2010 at 03:15:16 AM EST
What does the US have, but for the nickel cigars of the entertainment and software businesses?

The huge computer companies, like HP and Dell get copy-cat products made in China and sent from there around the world, for which the scrape a few percent for the right to use their logo.

The oil companies make sweetheart deals to siphon petroleum from around the world and deliver it to the rest of the world (except, typically, from where they drain it from), for which they scrap a huge percentage.

The banking cartels who siphon the american public's money so that they can play with it for a while and siphon off a huge percentage.

These provocations then require that the USians subsidize the enormous "need" for keeping a hegemony over their trading areas with a military that is larger than everyone else's combined, while selling more arms around the world than everyone else combined. (I wonder if that is a coincidence.)

All that to say, the imperial core gets money to perpetuate the game, and an  ever smaller percent of ruthless rich get a steady flow of profits, but there are few who get anything else but scrapes.

Oh. That's what 'core' means. Uhm, I guess I just made the point you made earlier and much more succinctly. Sorry. I can't give you back the minute you spent reading this.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Mon Dec 13th, 2010 at 01:25:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
HP and Dell are not the best examples to use. HP has under its previous CEO dropped its R&D budget to a suicidal level, and Dell has never been a technology developer. There are plenty of other examples in the computer industry who would be better demonstrations of why the U.S. is still economically powerful. Cisco and EMC for example, have incredible internal (U.S.-based) development organizations. Not to mention Google, Facebook, Microsoft, eBay, Amazon, etc. which are not just software companies, but pretty powerful forces in the changing global social environment.

Despite our economic problems and questionable politics, if the metric is global influence, the U.S. is still up there...

by asdf on Mon Dec 13th, 2010 at 09:04:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Most of these do very little real R&D. Or if they do it's poor quality.

Microsoft's last decade has been an epic history of constant R&D failure. Successful MS-branded R&D, like Kinect, was actually bought in from outside.

Apple plays this game too. Apple is far more successful as a packaging, marketing and industrial design corporate than as an R&D factory. Apple's two key skills are being a monopoly that can span different market segments and link them together, and collaging ideas that have been developed to a reasonable level of polish by third parties.

Amazon finished most of its critical systems development a decade ago. The only new product is a scalable server business, and that's not exactly on the technical edge. Likewise Kindle and ePub which have been around as ideas for a decade or so. (I was talking to my then-publisher about ebooks in 1998.)

eBay is also stuck around 2000, and the software seriously sucks. But it has a de facto monopoly, and there's no real incentive to develop it further.

Google does real R&D but its product labs are spread around the world.

The fact that HP's R&D was raped by Fiorina and Dell is a packager is evidence of the contrary - a lack of serious interest in R&D in most of corporate America.

What the US has is a de facto monopoly in many areas - search engines, core networking, e-commerce, desktop software, and so on.

But the corporations that own the monopolies are actually multinationals. And creating a monopoly is one of the best ways to end useful innovation. You're often left with something that looks like R&D, but most of the time it produces non-threatening incremental rather than dynamic change. (See also Adobe, Intel, and so on.)

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Mon Dec 13th, 2010 at 09:35:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you carefully examine MicroSoft you'll find all of their breakthrough products were bought or developed outside of the company.

Msdos?  The product that made the company what it is today?  Bought from Seattle Computer Products.

Excel?  Bought.

Windows?  Developed at PARC (1970-1975,) developers hired by Apple for the Lisa (started in 1978,) and MicroSoft copied it and jumped in with Windows 3.0 ... in 1990.  

There are some first class people doing first class work but management insistence on a 3 month pay-back time horizon shoots the ability to sit and think and fail.  Which is the sina qua non of research.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Mon Dec 13th, 2010 at 10:11:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There are some first class people doing first class work but management insistence on a 3 month pay-back time horizon shoots the ability to sit and think and fail.  Which is the sina qua non of research.
You could say the same about academia - in this case the payback being publication.

Of all the ways of organizing banking, the worst is the one we have today — Mervyn King, 25 October 2010
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Dec 14th, 2010 at 04:08:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nah, academia has a payback horizon of about 12 months.

Besides, one of the dirty little secrets of publication is that as long as your paper is intelligible, you can usually find a journal that will publish it after a couple of tries. In a pinch, you can submit it as a conference poster. So there are safety valves for failed projects, although of course they should not be called upon too often.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Dec 14th, 2010 at 04:19:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is pretty much dead-on.

Looking only at big companies doesn't really do much though.  I think most of the real innovation in America is done at universities.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Thu Dec 16th, 2010 at 09:14:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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