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As an important example, did the National Nanotechnology Initiative advance this cause? Nanotechnology is something of an ideal case. In the s, it was a domain of scientific research that had great momentum and major potential for good social impacts. The field had seen a remarkable boom in publications, and one of its major scientific spokespersons, Richard C.

By the late s, nano seemed poised for a major acceleration through better funding and national coordination. The apparent harmonization of scientific, economic, and social impacts was something of a policy marvel and a tribute to the institutional skill of its leading advocate, M. Roco, and his colleagues. And yet, for all its focus on public outcomes, the public was neither invited to nor present for the genesis of the NNI. Societal impacts were generally reduced to economic impacts, and the leading rationale for the NNI was economic competition with other countries.

The pool of experts who were in attendance did not include experts on societal implications. When society did appear, it was in a distanced and attenuated form. Society itself, social life, is all but nonexistent in the conference report, and always improvable if not largely replaceable by computer networks and other forms of associative technology.

The Communicator will consist of. It will be able to operate in a variety of modes, including instructor-to-group and peer-to-peer interaction, with adaptive avatars that are able to change their affective behavior to fit not only individuals and groups, but also varying situations. It will operate in multiple modalities, such as sight and sound, statistics and text, real and virtual circumstances, which can be selected and combined as needed in different ways by different participants.

Improving group interactions via brain-to-brain and brain-machine-brain interactions will also be explored. The authors seem unaware of the Orwellian structure of this idea, of its hive-mind overtones, or of its potential for domestic surveillance. Something like the Communicator will not begin to be even a tolerable idea until its authors can concretely describe social settings and factors that exist independently of technological enhancements. Society is remote, weak, and receptive rather than present, involved, active, and intrinsic both to problems and to their solutions.

The nano-based enhancement projects do not start from or refer to people or social groups who live out and articulate individual or social needs that they would like nanotechnology to address; nor do these projects offer technological expertise in applying nanotechnology to those social needs. Though such articulations are often incomplete and in process, that does not explain why the reports leave these social conditions abstract, remote, and underdescribed; the people who compose those conditions are not present. What about a fallback position?

This would be less than public participation and deliberation and instead a kind of communication in which governmental agencies can establish the conditions of equitable private-public partnerships by at least acknowledging and presenting the results of public funding to various publics. This would mean conveying the impact of the presence of—if not the public voice and will behind—public money.

The public pays for a lot of research, and its contribution could be acknowledged, explained, and narrated as a progress story in which social actors play an important role in the improvement of their own society.

A Third Term for Obamanomics

Our research group looked for these kinds of narratives of public contribution. We looked for accounts that linked public inputs to developments with major public impact. We looked for a nanoscale technology that was in use and that had been funded by the NNI and then sought records that tracked development through the following sequence:.

NNI funding.

Clinton says the policies are failing but we need more of them.

A federal agency e. Funding and Requests for Proposals. Funded research. Disclosures of inventions and publications. Development and products. This list is of course far more linear than development ever is. Another, equally fundamental problem is that once the money arrives at a , the public contribution, in spite of statutory reporting requirements, largely disappears.

Patent and Trademark Office and had applied for an additional forty-four. None of these patents cited a government interest as having had a part in their development. What one finds after systematically searching the DARPA site is a series of lists of topic areas tied to reported accomplishments. These microinstruments for nanometer-scale mechanical, electrical and fluidic analysis offer new approaches to integration, testing, controlling, manipulating and manufacturing nanometer-scale structures, molecules and devices.

Each of the early years offers a summary that takes up a few lines of text. Each description says very little about the actual research and nothing about potential applications. The level of nonspecificity omits the stakes, the value, the financial sources, and the potential implications of possibly groundbreaking work. Reading through the entries offers a combination of overlap and disconnection that is not easy to describe. For , the reporting adds additional components and at the same time starts to repeat itself in an unsettling pattern of cutting-and-pasting.

From one year to the next, large sections of the summaries appear to have been block-copied from the year before. The text conveys a lack of interest in convincing the reader that public financing is being used for clearly articulated or imaginative ends. It also conveys a surprising absence of advancement and learning. Finally, in the estimate for FY , a series of accomplishments can be gleaned from various pages of text. There is no way for a nonspecialist—and probably not for a specialist outside the subdiscipline in question—to understand the interconnection among the projects.

Even more fundamentally, there is no acknowledgment of the contribution of a major public effort like the NNI. Which projects were funded with nano-specific money, how was the money used, what areas were developed, and what were the outcomes? We can imagine how government reporting might create coherent development narratives about advanced nanotechnology. Since products have not yet emerged, the endings have yet to be written.

But a basic plot framework could already be in place: public officials who scanned research results for large and important development patterns spent years persuading policymakers to fund programs, allocated public money with both blindness and insight, and supported research that failed and research that succeeded; meanwhile, scientists, technicians, and others persisted against the odds and produced important interim results with future potentials that are clearly specified. In the most interesting cases these narratives could read like serialized novels. Such narratives are not yet being attempted.

Nanotechnology analysts tend to use standardized forms of output metrics publication and patent counts and impact metrics based on citation analysis. These methods demonstrate significant growth curves and are often used to suggest that the promise of a field like nanotechnology to transform society is on its way to being fulfilled. But publications and patents do not literally equal development, production, and use. Statistics are an imperfect and in some cases a misleading measure of social impacts and development.

Patent activity is similarly ambiguous: most patents do not recoup the cost of their filing and prosecution with the patent office; most patents go unused; only a few patents earn the vast majority of royalty revenues; and patents can be used to block innovation as well as stimulate it. At the same time, patents do not solve problems of technology development: they do not in themselves address component integration, manufacturing cost, and a hundred other problems that must be solved before an invention is ushered forth into society.

A growth curve in publications and patents reflects activity and has a symbolic value: it operates successfully as a sign of funded activity—actually, as a displaced index of scientific and related types of administrative labor. A growth curve can represent the growth of knowledge that arises from relationships among society, government, and corporations. But a growth curve does not in a literal way reflect or directly express the stages of that development or suggest, before its realization, where development will lead, or what society will get out of it.

Such narrative analysis or reconstruction has not yet been attempted in the measurement literature. Our research suggests the difficulty the general public and policymakers alike would have in reviewing these measurements and then interpreting their way to a relation between public funding and social benefits. These symbols are stylized pseudonarratives that appear to work for a presumed audience of research managers, funding-agency personnel, aides to elected officials, and laboratory staff who need to understand funding trends.

But they do not work at all as either genesis narratives, science stories, or funding dramas and thus do not bring science and social aims together. The limitations of this well-developed, high-quality initiative, the NNI, suggest the elements required by a narrative that truly conveys the social value of social investment in technology. These stories would galvanize both public support for funding and, regarding the purposes to which research would best be put, the public imagination.

I am writing this piece as the Obama administration begins its second year. Although little that has happened in the first year suggests that Obama will break any molds, there are resources in his own political tradition that he could draw on should he so choose. Such dramas have similar structures whether you look for them in art, politics, science, or civil society.

Innovative practices rebuild cities, redesign schools, reimagine materials for charge transport in photovoltaic cells, and replace failed political regimes with better ones. Without accurate, detailed, inspiring stories of the drama of discovery and development, no new level of investment in either will take place. Without new stories about the role of public infrastructure in supporting economic development, government activity will continue to be regarded as tampering with the market.

The valuable work of science agencies is a major victim of this silence about the full extent of the innovation system, particularly in its complex public dimensions. Another major victim is the developmental role played by various publics themselves, which for ideological and political reasons is hidden from those publics. The most impressive feature of the Obama presidential campaign was its ability to scale up a community-organizing approach to national politics—to foster a community-organizing appreciation of the intelligence of ordinary people and of their right and their ability to coauthor national rules.

This vision was far more prominent during the Obama campaign than it has been during the Obama administration, but it did imply the principle that has been important to my discussion here: an egalitarian partnership among government, industry, and multiple publics. It is equality that allows collaboration to be open and rapid and to take place among the full complement of actors and insights, including those that appear from the policy center to be beyond the pale. Policymakers are more interested than ever in public engagement, and they have some standard mechanisms that aim at creating partnerships between the public and the government.

Science studies scholars have created focus groups and other mechanisms of structured feedback that involve some up-front education. Though these can lay the groundwork for social partnerships, they are labor-intensive, highly localized, expensive, and not scalable to society as a whole. In such a story, obstacles, conflicts, crises, and overcoming would not be buried under thick coats of varnish.

These stories would also include society itself, meaning, in the world of the laboratory, the graduate students, staff, technicians, and private and public funders who populate this world. In the narrative the social actors would not be subordinated to but would be equal partners with the university laboratories, government research centers, and corporations that manufacture and sell the eventual products.

Such stories would overcome the national tendency—which long predates the NNI—to treat laboratories as black boxes, scientists and businesspeople as the prime movers, and society as a backward but ultimately grateful recipient of technical knowledge. The story would move from public funding through laboratory research and dwell on the intellectual and physical labor involved.

The cruel irony of the habituation of the scientific community to quantitative and yet symbolic indexes of science progress is that they eclipse the effort, the amazement, the astonishing and tireless labor of that scientific community—the very things that link science to every other kind of work all over the world. Better stories would feature the consistent energy, the everyday teamwork, the ups-and-downs of efforts at communication, the discoveries large and small, the gradual transfer of these discoveries into a development process, and the eventual arrival of the good or service into society at large.

To be effective, these stories must exist together inside a larger process of social self-governance, in which aims and means are collaboratively established and managed. Self-governance would define large social aims for federal programs—such as defining the benefits of nanotechnological research in the case of the NNI.

It would be egalitarian in that it would grant agency to people at every step of the process in their various contributions to the common effort. The narratives would necessarily be narratives of general welfare, ones that describe the collectively created processes of scientific advancement and that will ultimately be both more just and more effective than our current narratives, which have artificially and incorrectly diminished agency to the nexus of business managers, faculty entrepreneurs, and laboratory heads.

His research focuses on the relations between culture and economics, on higher-education history, funding, and policy, and on technology transfer and innovation. He served on and then chaired the University of California's systemwide Senate Committee for Planning and Budget for most of the last decade, is a member of the Innovation Group at the National Science Foundation Center for Nanotechnology in Society, runs a blog on the current crisis in higher education called Rethinking the University , and is working on a book called Lower Education: What to Do about Our Downsized Future.

This article is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Cooperative Agreement no. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Peters and Robert H. Often associated with papers by Gene M.

My interest here is in the way this theory enabled the eclipse of labor, which became a minor input unless hugely multiplied by technology and finance. Feb Entrepreneurial China trade differs from totalitarian Cuba. Dec China: Reaction to espionage was not serious and not enough. May Cox Report warrants review of all export controls to China. Sep Hope we never have to take preemptive military action. Sep Take preemptive action in order to make America secure.

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Mar Big government cannot be compassionate. Nov Regulatory style: like Reagan, get government out of the way. Oct We believe in people; they believe in government. Jun Restore cooperation with Congress, to accomplish more. Jun Pay for tax cuts with cash, not corporate loopholes. Jan No legislating from the bench-judges should just interpret. Jan Opposed term limits for Congress, in Congress race. Aug Cited 10th Amendment in TX inauguration. Aug Forge good public policy by leaders discussing privately.

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Jun Gun restrictions OK within basic right to own guns. Bush on Health Care. Nov Preferred that seniors use Medicare to buy private insurance. Jul Tax credits to address crisis of health insurance. Jan Support wider use of electronic records for health care. Jan FactCheck: British blocked flu vaccine, not Bush. Oct The US healthcare system is the envy of the world. Oct Veterans are getting very good health care. Sep Will enroll millions of poor children in health programs.

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Obamanomics One Year Out

Feb Support democratic reform across the broader Middle East. Jan A president must not shift in the wind. Oct Has used Patriot Act to thwart several terrorist attacks. Oct We are not going to have a draft. Oct Decreased funding for dealing with nuclear proliferation. Sep OpEd: Pre-emptive war is not America's way.

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The Neoliberal Era and Beyond

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Mar Why be for reform if you can't talk about it? Mar Create a bipartisan commission to examine Social Security.

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Jan Overhaul Social Security because it's unfair to black people. Oct FactCheck: System may pay less, but will not go bankrupt. Feb Social Security system is headed toward bankruptcy. Aug Forms presidential commission to reform Social Security. Oct Blueprint: Maintain retiree benefits; young get more options. May No government investment in private stocks or bonds.

Apr Consider raising retirement age. Nov Privatization Spent political capital addressing "third rail". Nov Personal accounts reduce racial disparity of retirement. May OpEd: In aggregate, stock market ok; but what about losers? May FactCheck: Private accounts are a good bet, not a sure thing. Feb Personal retirement accounts for younger workers.

Feb Let young people use personal retirement savings accounts. Oct Social Security privatization will keep the system solvent. Oct Allow younger workers to put taxes in a personal account. Sep Personal retirement accounts for young workers. Jan Privatize SS while maintaining govt system. Jan Create Individual Development Accounts with low-income match. Aug Ensure freedom of choice in retirement planning. Aug Minimize investment risk through diversification.

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Jan Re-examine the tax code from top to bottom. Feb FactCheck: Kerry voted to increase taxes 39 times, not Oct Now the tax code is fairer after the tax cut. Oct Kerry voted to increase taxes 98 times. Oct Will lead a bipartisan effort to simplify the tax code. Sep Congress must act to make tax cuts permanent.

Jan Everyone benefits from dividend tax reform. Aug Reduction in dividend taxes benefits 35 million people. Aug Make the end of the death tax permanent. Aug People should not pay more in taxes than they do for food. Nov Be fair and eliminate death taxes for everyone. Jul Use the marketplace to encourage people to save and invest. Apr New Prosperity Initiative: 6 million tax-free families.

Apr End death tax; reduce marriage penalty; more child credits. Apr no-tax pledge: judge results, despite breaking pledge. Jul Read my tax pledge: No new taxes. Jun Simplify tax code to stimulate economic growth. Mar Enough is enough; American people deserve tax relief. Sep Taxpayer dollars must be spent wisely or not at all. Oct Cut taxes on everybody. Oct Ad: The largest tax relief in history.

Jul Tax relief is working. Jan Fact Check: Tax relief fueled spending, but not job growth. Jan Bush economic plan accelerates tax cuts. Aug Deliver substantial tax relief to 91 million Americans. Aug Not too big, not too small, tax cut was just the right size. Feb Retroactive tax cuts may bolster faltering economy. Jan Claims lower income people benefit more than rich; untrue. Oct Yes, wealthy get tax relief, but 6M poor will pay no tax. Jun More deductions for kids, education, charity, and marriage.

May Reduce share of tax burden on low- and middle-income. Apr Tax cuts, so help me God. Jan No national sales tax or VAT. Bush on Technology. Covert program to undermine Iran nukes with cyber attack. Dec Internet has not redefined business cycle. Nov Vetoed "Fairness Doctrine" requiring balance in talk radio. Nov Oath of office authorizes use of surveillance technology. Sep Manned mission to the Moon and Mars. Feb Privacy is a fundamental right; ensure it on the Internet. Oct Fewer strings to obtain technology for schools.

Jun Internet a tool, not a crutch. Apr Technology programs are obsolete before they start. Jan Extend Internet sales tax ban; but wary of Main St. Dec V-chip OK, but cultural changes are better. Nov Nov Trivialize shoe-throwing journalist to avoid frenzy. Sep Feb. Apr We will not allow Tehran to acquire nuclear weapons. Oct Terrorists would move the battlefield to our own shores.

Jan War on Terror is not about intelligence and law enforcement. Sep I wake up every day thinking about protecting our country. Sep Confront threats to America before it is too late.


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  • George W. Bush on the Issues!
  • Illuminating Humor of the Bible.

Sep Will defend America every time. Sep Freedom is the greatest fear of the terrorists. Aug Bush Doctrine: harboring terrorists treated as terrorism. Oct This is a new war: Pearl Harbor in the 21st century. Sep OpEd: s enlistment was into privileged non-combat unit. Oct Afghanistan Greatest regret: not bringing bin Laden to justice.

A Third Term for Obamanomics

Nov Rejected bipartisan bill for more Afghanistan funding. Oct Deploy troops out of bases and into hotspots. Oct Busted the A. Khan network and convinced Libya to disarm. Nov Afghanistan model-successful plan first-used for Iraq. Nov Homeland security focus: bioterror; airports; intelligence. Jan Iraq Pre, Saddam was a manageable problem, but not after. Nov "Mission Accomplished" banner was a big mistake. Nov "Bring 'em on" comment left wrong impression. Nov Biggest failure of Iraq war: cutting troop level too quickly. Nov troop levels for victory in Iraq, not victory in polls.

Nov For first time, worried we might not succeed in Iraq. Nov Fully fund troops, with no timetable for withdrawal. Nov Saddam posed unique threat post Nov May Combat operations are ended; mission accomplished. Oct If they want to attack us in Iraq, bring 'em on. Oct Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. Oct Transition from leading operations to partnering with Iraqis. Jan FactCheck: Troop drawdown of 20, still above pre-surge. Jan surge: 20, more troops with aggressive engagement. Oct Clear that war vote was to strike Iraq, not diplomacy.