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Marketplace

The U.S. is not number one, according to data

John Dimsdale Jun 26, 2012
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Jeff Horwich: The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is a research organization comprised of the world’s richest countries. Today we have the OECD’s latest assessment of our economy. It finds the U.S. wanting in education, and says U.S. companies are no longer more innovative than other OECD countries.

Marketplace’s John Dimsdale joins me live from Washington. And John we’ve got Google, we’ve got Apple, the Snuggie, what are they taking about, “American companies are less likely to innovate?”

John Dimsdale: Exactly, how dare they?. Well they acknowledge that the U.S. is a leading innovator, but they say we’re losing. The U.S. is no longer developing cutting edge products like it used to. But also not adopting new technologies or computer software that can revitalize old businesses to make them grown and be more productive.

Richard Boucher is the deputy secretary general of the OECD

Boucher: We are still at the top of the pack, among the best. But other countries are catching up. You can see it in productivity gains, you can see it investment flows, seed capital, things like that.

Horwich: Alright, so what are we supposed to do about it?

Dimsdale: Well the OECD says that startups – small firms – need more seed money to try new things, develop new products. In part, our innovation has suffered from the financial crisis since lenders are still overly cautious about risking investments in speculative enterprises. And they say that’s got to turn around. And Boucher says the U.S. education system is lagging behind too.

Boucher: The United States used to lead the world with something like 60 percent of our kids going on to tertiary education. Well we’re still pretty much at that level but other people like the Koreans are up in the 90th percentile now.

Dimsdale: The OECD also claims that the U.S. suffers from too much income inequality and it’s recommending tax reforms that would get rid of tax breaks for the wealthy and more government programs aimed at getting the long-term unemployed back to work.

Horwich: Well God speed to us. Marketplace’s John Dimsdale, thanks very much.

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