Saturday, March 26, 2016

elites lionize Grove but demonize Trump for saying the same thing...,


NYTimes |  The praise this week for Andy Grove, who died on Monday at age 79, has been wrapped up in praise for Silicon Valley, where he was a towering figure in the semiconductor revolution and the longtime leader of Intel, the world’s biggest supplier of microprocessors.

Lost in the lore is Mr. Grove’s critique of Silicon Valley in an essay he wrote in 2010 in Bloomberg Businessweek. According to Mr. Grove, Silicon Valley was squandering its competitive edge in innovation by failing to propel strong job growth in the United States.

Mr. Grove acknowledged that it was cheaper and thus more profitable for companies to hire workers and build factories in Asia than in the United States. But in his view, those lower Asian costs masked the high price of offshoring as measured by lost jobs and lost expertise. Silicon Valley misjudged the severity of those losses, he wrote, because of a “misplaced faith in the power of start-ups to create U.S. jobs.”

Mr. Grove contrasted the start-up phase of a business, when uses for new technologies are identified, with the scale-up phase, when technology goes from prototype to mass production. Both are important. But only scale-up is an engine for job growth — and scale-up, in general, no longer occurs in the United States. “Without scaling,” he wrote, “we don’t just lose jobs — we lose our hold on new technologies” and “ultimately damage our capacity to innovate.”

And yet, an all-out commitment to American-based manufacturing has not been on the business agenda of Silicon Valley or the political agenda of the United States. That omission, according to Mr. Grove, is a result of another “unquestioned truism”: “that the free market is the best of all economic systems — the freer the better.” To Mr. Grove, that belief was flawed.

The triumph of free-market principles over planned economies in the 20th century, he said, did not make those principles infallible or immutable. There was room for improvement, he argued, for what he called “job-centric” economics and politics. In a job-centric system, job creation would be the nation’s No. 1 objective, with the government setting priorities and arraying the forces necessary to achieve the goal, and with businesses operating not only in their immediate profit interest but also in the interests of “employees, and employees yet to be hired.”