A Talk by Stephen Chu 精选

A Talk by Stephen Chu 精选

已有 14728 次阅读 2011-12-3 16:20 |系统分类:海外观察| office, class, face, current, Stephen

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Stephen Chu, the Nobel Prizewinning physicist and current U.S. Secretary of Energy, gave a talk at Harvardon “The Role of Science, Technology and Innovation in Solving the EnergyChallenge”  on December 1, 2011. The audeince filled the auditorium. Harvard had to arrange FOUR extra large lecture rooms equipped with live broadcast to satisfy the demand.

Hestarted his talk by reviewing the role of scientific innovation in agriculture,information technology, and transportation showing how each subject wastransformed by discoveries and key breakthrough. To those who are versed in thesubject matter, they are well known matters in the history of science viewednow with the benefit of hindsight. For example, I am familiar with electronicsand IT. But in agriculture and transportation, new facts and insights werelearned.  Henry Ford was often thought ofas the father of the automobile. But the technology of internal combustionengine was actually invented in Germany. But Ford made possible the productionof a desirable object with low cost and efficiency. From this Chu invented theverb “Henry-Forded” to say that one person or country managed to take advantageof breakthrough elsewhere and made it practical. He gave the recent example onhow SunTech (China) managed to “Henry-Ford” solar cell production to make itthe leading producer of solar power in the world. Chu concluded his talk byquoting from the work of Micheal Spence, another Nobel winning economist, ontradable and non tradable labor. Example of the former category ismanufacturing labor which can be out-sourced to any country; the example of thelatter are barbers who cuts hair, school teachers, etc. who perform personalservices.

Spencenoted from extensive data analysis that for the past half century the tradablejobs in the US are steadily decreasing (being out-sourced) while the nontradable jobs held steady. This implies that US is increasing her foreign debtcontinuously in exchange for outside labor to produce “invented in the US butmade in China” goods – another phrase coined by Chu and an economic fact that cannot be long sustained. No bigsurprise but real worry some according to Chu.

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