According to a press release of euractiv.com, a lobbyist web service associated with the European Union at Feb 2nd, Sweden ranks top in “innovation” within the European Union, followed by Denmark, Finland and Germany. The next ranks listed are the UK, Belgium, Austria, Ireland, Luxembourg, France, Cyprus, Slovenia and Estonia. According to the evaluation, Croatia, Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain were below the EU average on the “innovation scale”. Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania were described as “laggards”.
According to the mentioned sources, the Commission evaluated the countries based on 25 indicators that fell into three broad categories: building blocks that allow innovation; investments, entrepreneurship and intellectual assets; and economic outputs.
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, commissioner for research, innovation and science, argued “If Europe stands still we will see the US disappear into the distance just as we feel emerging nations breathing down our necks […] Europe is 27 countries and our efforts on research and innovation have been more fragmented than we can afford,”.
The first “scoreboard” under the “Innovation Union initiative” comes just days before EU leaders meet in Brussels for a one-day summit on energy and innovation. According to available information , the participants of the summit are expected to call for a European Research Area to be completed by 2014 to create “a genuine single market for knowledge, research and innovation” and to push for “rapid progress” to ensure the build up of a “Digital Single Market” by 2015. The Commission is expected to present a proposal by the end of 2011 to lift the legal and administrative blocks to cross-border venture capital funds.
While decision makers met in Davos aiming to find shared values in a “new reality” another new reality started in Egypt
Global food, commodity and energy prices are hiking to such levels that they do not only boost inflation in the industrialized world but also push „emerging“ and developing countries to the brink of social and political turmoil. The lack of democratic rights might have been one of the reasons for the revolution in Tunisia and the political struggle in Egypt; others are evident in rising inflation, dramatic unemployment rates and a depressing lack of individual perspectives for most people in Northern Africa where more than 50% of the population is younger than 35 (as in many other parts of the world).
Several of those decision makers and global players that have now met (and partied) in Davos, supported, financed and armed the regimes in Tunisia and Egypt over decades. They still do the same in Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan and several other authoritarian countries. With China as a new club member on board in Davos you can add Sudan, Zimbabwe or Angola to the list of states that are openly supported by the extended Davos club. Welcome to the new reality?
Those in Davos who don’t find themselves able over days now to join sides with the protest movements in the Arab world turn out to have obviously never had the real power to push for reforms in these countries efficiently and in the right time. Now they look like lame ducks in the eyes of those who are risking their lives on the streets in Cairo. These club members are the same opportunistic and economistic minds that boosted China over decades by huge investment and technology transfer besides using the low social standards in Asia to press on tWestern societies to accept salary reductions and welfare cuts. The oppressive and partly anti-modernist character of the Chinese system was never realized as a serious challenge to the Western set of values as long as big business was described as the best transformation tool, strong enough to overcome a „temporary development gap”. In doing so these leaders have repeatedly demonstrated the meaninglessness of their proclaimed values anytime before a crisis like in Egypt confused their inconsistent stance. This might be one of the reasons why the misuse of the philosophical and psychological term “reality” became necessary to cover the contradictory global patterns that have been created.
In Davos the global establishment celebrated their self declared readiness to welcome the „new reality“of an (anticipated) economic power shift to Asia. By this their protagonists obviously try to pull back their own former positions in order to give way to the “new values” in the “new reality” in which human rights, freedom and democracy are just random topics among others. Apparently these opportunistic leaders have not realized to what extend they have already compromised their values on the expense of their own credibility. To look for globally „shared values“ (as the motto of Davos suggests) may appear ridiculous if you have openly given up your values at the wardrobe of the club lobby already. - And if you have not even considered letting the people out there participating in the process. This is not elitist but simply ignorant.
As a result of this ignorance the confidence of the majority of Western citizens (especially in Europe) in regard to their political leaders are at record lows. That will hardly change as long as the political class keeps promoting its one dimensional ideas that have not much more to offer than austerity measures and rising taxes. If talented “populist” movements one day should come up with the idea to protect and defend values of advanced civilizations instead of sharing utilitaristcally created new ones, it could happen that the current elite on the Swiss Alps will be challenged seriously as well.
The World Ecomic Forum has not sent any relevant signal of hope to the common people in any country during their meeting. Instead its protagonists went on to emphasize the „musts“of their political agenda such as further cuts of social rights and reduced public spending for education or health, further boosting of investment in Asia, further strengthening global security systems and further extension of competencies of the G 20 group that lacks sufficient democratic legitimacy.
With that approach, the participants in Davos seemed to be very confident having understood the “new reality” of the 21st century. But Egypt was not on their list of topics
Norwegian resource giant Statoil starts public campaign empowering “new ideas” around oil production
With an export share of oil and gas not higher than 30% Norway is ranking no. 5 among the world’s largest oil exporting countries. As a resource rich country Norway was often recognized as a model for other purely resource based economies that often struggle to build up new technology, science and knowledge based industrial sectors. With a recently started public campaign the largest oil producing company of Norway, Statoil, is looking for talent and ideas to support and push forward its innovative global profile as a technology driven oil producer. Being already a technology leader of deep water applications and hydropower technology the recently privatized company still is the main contributor to the Norwegian success model that has used its vast natural resources to the benefit of its technological potential and a social and educational system supporting the future perspectives of the Norwegian people. Norway is also a creative player and main donor for international development cooperation.
Press Conference of Obama and Hu indicate cooperation, competition and controversial positions as parallel patterns of US-China relations
The Press Conference of US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao held at the White House Wed 19th of Jan is embedded here in full length.
Diversity and the expression of different opinions is essential to avoid failures in steering organizations
Nicholas Barberis, the Stephen & Camille Schramm Professor of Finance at the Yale School of Management, in a filmed discussion emphasized the role that irrational thinking and decision-making may have played in the development of the financial crisis. Drawing on ideas from both social and cognitive psychology, he shed light on this relatively neglected aspect of the crisis that could be highly relevant for potential future economic bubbles. The discussion was held in June 2009 at Yale University: