For a Kinder, Gentler Society
The Rise and Fall of American Technology
  • Lynn G. Gref
Reviews Table of Contents Introduction «Back
The Rise and Fall of American Technology .
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How did America rise to global dominance in technology, and what happened since then? 

What feeds technological advancement and the economic growth it brings? What factors contribute to today's worrisome trends, and who is responsible? 

What can be done now to avoid or diminish the impact of a decline? 

The author draws on his forty years of experience to answer these questions in an organized and thoughtful manner. He outlines the role that technology has played in the economy of the United States and explains how theory evolves into products. Describing how technology gets developed, he explains America’s rise to global dominance in technology and salutes its golden age with an overview of many breakthroughs that improved our standard of living and lifted every boat. Then, illustrating how the current decline began, he delineates the impacts this decline may have on America's future and highlights the strategies that can help us now.

About the Author

Dr. Lynn G. Gref’s career spans four decades as a developer, manager and consultant in research and development applied to defense, space and intelligence needs. 

As manager of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s non-NASA business, he oversaw a wide-range of technology developments including the active-pixel CCD at the heart of today’s cell phone cameras. 

Earlier, as a lead investigator on an effort for the Director of ARPA, he provided landmark recommendations on the disposition of the ARPANET that eventually led to the INTERNET. 

He has served on the Army Science Board, a panel member of several studies of the Naval Studies Board of the National Academy of Sciences and a member of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (C3I)’s 2000 Joint Senior Advisory Group. He is currently on the Board of Advisers of the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of California, Riverside.

About the Book
Very few bright ideas ever make it to the marketplace. Explaining the process by which new technologies are born and find their way into products, Dr. Gref makes ample use of historical examples that intrigue and inform the reader while...
Very few bright ideas ever make it to the marketplace. Explaining the process by which new technologies are born and find their way into products, Dr. Gref makes ample use of historical examples that intrigue and inform the reader while illustrating the concepts presented. 

He contrasts the commonly-held perception that the pace of technology is accelerating with the historical record. He highlights the people and the organizations which are responsible for America’s technological largesse. The book “follows the money” to uncover the underlying trends. 

The beginning of a decline in technology development is detected using indirect indicators for clues. Impacts on the formation of companies, employment and productivity provide sobering reasons to enlighten others and demand a change in course. After considering the possibilities, the book proposes several constructive actions which avoid the proverbial tendency to “throw more money at the problem.” 

The goal of the book is to provoke discussion and promote action where appropriate. Americans’ standard of living is at stake. Tech-savvy readers will want to understand this issue so as to influence others. Long-range thinkers will want to factor these considerations into their prognostications. The titans of the technology-based companies can develop new and improved strategies based on the findings of this book. And, our elected officials may want to act before a catastrophic disaster confronts the nation.

This book will strike a chord with everyone who is interested in America’s future economic health. Specific audience groups include scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, employees in technology based companies, government and corporate policymakers deciding the future of research and development (R&D) programs, government workers involved in the execution of government R&D programs and those thinking about a career in R&D. 

It is complementary to such works as Politics and Economics in America: The Way We Came to Be, by Richard E. Carmichael (Krieger Publishing Company, 1998), which explores political and economic history in order to explain the emergence of the United States’ world economic dominance. Carmichael's book makes recommendations on how government could assist America’s businesses in maintaining our economic leadership, but it does not address any aspects of technology development and associated issues.  Closing the Innovation Gap by Judy Estrin (McGraw Hill, 2009), provides business leaders with concepts for leading their organizations so as to close the innovation gap with competitors. It focuses on the innovation environment within the organization, whereas Dr. Gref addresses the complete technology development cycle, its financing, America’s rise to global dominance, and the specter of a national decline.


Introduction
If one accepts the argument that a decline in American technology is occurring, then one has to know about how America got to where it is today and what the conditions were that made it all possible in order to understand the significance of a decline.

The purpose for this book is to encourage a discussion at the national level...
If one accepts the argument that a decline in American technology is occurring, then one has to know about how America got to where it is today and what the conditions were that made it all possible in order to understand the significance of a decline.

The purpose for this book is to encourage a discussion at the national level regarding the importance of technology-based innovation to the economic health of the United States and regarding the adequacy of current support for research and development. With this purpose in mind, the targeted readers are those who are not necessarily technologists or even technology literate but rather those who perceive that they have a stake in America’s technology capabilities in one way or another.

Certainly, technologists should have an inherent interest in the issues addressed in this book. Specifically targeted readers include managers and workers of both high-tech companies and companies that depend on technology in their products, services, or processes for a competitive advantage. The targeted readers also include the decision makers and their supporting staffs in Government. Community leaders, who consider the American standard of living important, comprise an important segment of the targeted readership. The prospective reader is anyone who has an interest in seeing that the United States remains the leading economic nation in the world. I would hope a few of those who largely disagree with the goals and arguments of the author would also read the book so as to contribute to a national discussion on American technology — where we have been, where we are, and where we should go.

Pages 222
Year: 2010
BISAC: BUS013000 BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Commercial Policy
BISAC: BUS077000 BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Corporate & Business History
Soft Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-753-3
Price: USD 23.95
Hard Cover
ISBN: 978-0-87586-754-0
Price: USD 33.95
eBook
ISBN: 978-0-87586-755-7
Price: USD 23.95
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