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Lack of business productivity blamed on ‘Reverse Reaganism’

May 8, 2009

In the National Post yesterday, William Watson, Professor and Chair of Economics at McGill University provided his analysis of the STIC Report finding that Canada’s “Science, Technology, and Innovation System” lags in business innovation. He takes issue with the suggestion that there is a problem with Canada’s business culture, suggesting that innovation is central to business and that business leaders are under tremendous pressure to innovate. So what’s the problem?

According to Watson, there are two problems actually. On the one hand, there really isn’t a problem since if business isn’t innovating, it must therefore mean that business doesn’t need to innovate. The “eminent blue-ribbon panel” is unqualified to judge business in this regard. On the other hand, even if business did need to innovate, it’s because they have “less incentive” to innovate due to our excessive profit taxing. If politicians or “blue-ribbon panels” start messing with business and its interests, Watson suggests, we will certainly end up in “economic ruin” (and maybe even serfdom).

Scientists blame business, business blames the government, government blames the scientists… It seems to me that it is time for a mature and coordinated science policy in this country.

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