Infrastructure for a Stormy Future
The storm clouds photographed by Camille Seaman on the cover of the Winter 2018 Issues in Science and Technology reflect our turbulent moment in national politics and policymaking. As Kevin Finneran asks in his Editor’s Journal, “What role is there for policy wonkery and expert advice when evidence, facts, intellectual consistency, and honesty are decomposing on the compost heap?” Fortunately, even as the political discourse has devolved into cable-news shouting, most experts remain committed to addressing national challenges with thoughtful and pragmatic approaches. We are pleased to feature several of them in these pages.
- The productivity of biomedical research has fallen dramatically during the past three decades. For example, Nicholas Bloom and colleagues, in a 2017 National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, found that productivity… Read More
- Large bureaucracies such as those of the federal government are notoriously slow to innovate. But in recent years, new technology-enabled approaches to helping government meet its public obligations have begun to find… Read More
- Watching the March for Science this past April could give people the feeling that they had traveled back to simpler times. One woman carried a sign that read, “I can’t believe I… Read More
- This past spring, the Trump administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget had little good news for the nation’s biomedical research enterprise. Prominent among areas targeted for deep cuts, the National Institutes of Health… Read More
- Industrial strategy, as a strand of economic management, was killed forever by the turn to market liberalism in the 1980s. At least, that’s how it seemed in the United Kingdom, where the… Read More
- The American family doesn’t look like it used to—at least for the economically disadvantaged. Parents are often unmarried when their children are born. Unmarried couples’ unions are often unstable; they frequently split… Read More
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The policy response to globalization has been a disaster. Instead of increasing productivity-enhancing investments in technology and innovation, policy-makers relied almost exclusively on a monetary policy of low interest rates and the demand-stimulation dimension of fiscal policy.
- The United States is at an infrastructural crossroads. First, the climate is changing faster than built infrastructure and the institutions that manage and maintain it. Recent extreme weather events highlight the precarious… Read More
- December 2017 marked the sixtieth anniversary of commercial nuclear energy in the United States, which began with the opening of the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania. It also marked the seventy-fifth… Read More
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It is not uncommon for presidents and other senior officials to invoke the “war” metaphor in an effort to rouse a political base and galvanize support in the pursuit of policy objectives. For instance, Lyndon Johnson fought a war on poverty, Richard Nixon prosecuted a war on cancer, and Ronald Reagan waged a war on drugs. Some people may even recall J. Edgar Hoover’s war on crime. As a review of selected historical circumstances suggests, Pruitt’s use of the war metaphor to characterize the Clean Power Plan is at best misleading and in some ways downright inaccurate.
- We all do it. Click on that little button—the one that says “buy”—to purchase digital books, music, movies, and software online. What many of us don’t realize is that US courts have… Read More
- Because she has done justice to the morally challenging and politically explosive topic of the role of genetic testing in reproduction, the primary experience of reading Bonnie Rochman’s new book, The Gene … Read More
- Hiding the truth isn’t often praised. In an age of “fake news,” spam Twitter accounts, and sham Facebook groups, there is already plenty of concealment and disinformation to go around. But in… Read More
- Academic health centers are complex ecosystems. They typically have a medical school at the core and one or more major teaching hospitals, often complemented by a Veterans Administration medical center and community… Read More