The Inevitability of Symbiosis: States, Markets and R&D

  • Roger Williams


The performance of research and development (R&D) on an organised and large-scale basis constitutes one of the major benchmarks of history. That is a large claim but the situation warrants no less. Britain led the way in the Industrial Revolution by entrepreneurship which successfully exploited the products of invention: thereafter a more deliberate process of innovation gradually established itself as the central dynamo of change. In the twentieth century, and especially since the Second World War, R&D-led technological innovation has become the source of an unending stream of products of critical importance for economic growth, military potential, and social development.1 As a result, in the forty-five post-war years, companies within the industrial states, and therefore these states themselves, have been in competition with each other as never before as regards their ability to profit successfully from technological innovation, a point not nearly widely enough appreciated.2 The ending of the Cold War can be expected to lead gradually to the erosion of the one major factor which has distorted this competition, the concentration by some states on defence technology. Much of this latter technology, though of increasingly high cost, and certainly ‘advanced’, tends to be relatively sterile in its overall economic significance, a point taken up below.


Market Force Government Support Liberal Democratic Party Market Discipline Western Economy 
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© Michael Moran and Maurice Wright 1991

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  • Roger Williams

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