Edited by Kees van der Pijl
Chapter 3: Innovation policies and the competition state: the case of nanotechnology
Technological development has always been the linchpin and the driver of human development in general, and of profit-driven, market-based economies in particular. For this reason, states give special attention to technology research and development (R & D) policies. However, the form of technology R & D policies has changed. (West) Germany, for example, started large-scale technological programmes like nuclear technology, aerospace technology, data processing technology and micro-technology at the end of the 1950s. At that time, technology R & D policies were mostly planned top-down. After the 1980s, however, technology R & D policies became increasingly understood as generic innovation policies to support the capacity of firms to compete internationally. Simultaneously, technology R & D policies were reoriented from large-scale technologies and top-down programmes (although these still exist) towards incentive-driven, flexible and bottom-up ones. These changes mirror the transition from Fordism to the post-Fordist era and the transformation of the nation-state towards a ‘competition state’.
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