Technology and Economic Recovery

October 29th, 2008

Posted by: admin

The vague title may well demonstrate an aphorism for technology policy comparable to Dan Sarewitz’s observation that science policy is commonly assumed to be just science budget policy.  Technology policy is often assumed to be just technology industrial policy – what can be done to make sure technology is created, marketed and profitably commercialized as effectively as possible.  As with Sarewitz’s aphorism, it captures only a small piece of the whole phenomenon.

David Walker, former comptroller of the United States (head of the Government Accountability Office), managed to break away from this narrow commonplace of technology policy thinking in remarks this past Monday.  Speaking before an audience of government and industry technology managers, Walker, now president of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation (which is concerned about fiscal responsibility), noted that technology can be used to assist government in controlling spending on entitlements and in reducing the national debt.  His specific remarks are not yet available online, but this summary from NextGov hints at using Web 2.0 technologies to spread information to policymakers and citizens, and to use technology (in way not defined in the article) to develop supplemental accounts to complement Social Security.

This kind of thinking about technology and government, and technology and the economy, has been absent from the campaign, but the involvement of both candidates in legislation that would put more and more government information online suggests that it would be at least considered.  While a small gesture, it would be a good sign to see any government engagement with technology and policy that isn’t involved with industrial policy.

One Response to “Technology and Economic Recovery”

  1. stan Says:

    How about we start by just getting the govt up to speed with its computers and software?