Cleantech and U.S. Economic CompetitivenessCleantechApril 09, 2010 Posted by Matthew Lecar Read More
Much has been made of the potential role of emerging cleantech markets in driving the economic recovery and renewing U.S. leadership in technology innovation. The mobilization and retraining of displaced workers for jobs in the new “green collar” workforce was a primary motivation behind federal stimulus funding for energy efficiency, renewable energy and smart grid. Yet, among cleantech venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, there is a decided ambivalence about the role of the sector in creating national competitive advantage. Indeed, the very notion of national competitiveness can take on divergent overtones in a world where capital from all over the world, flowing through investors in Silicon Valley, supports companies based around the world, with networks of manufacturing, supply chain, and markets located wherever economic logic may dictate. As one VC in our discussion put it, “Global markets are great if you’re an entrepreneur or investor, but I have to put on my nationalistic hat” for discussions about competitiveness. In short, capitalism and economic nationalism make strange bedfellows in today’s globally interconnected economy.