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posted by martyb on Friday January 14, @04:23PM   Printer-friendly

The Secret to Building the Next Silicon Valley:

POLITICAL LEADERS HAVE been trying to replicate Silicon Valley’s high-tech magic since the invention of the microchip. A tech-curious Charles de Gaulle, then president of France, toured Palo Alto in his convertible limousine in 1960. Russian Federation President Dmitri Medvedev dressed business casual to meet and tweet with Valley social media tycoons in 2010. Hundreds of eager delegations, foreign and domestic, visited in between. “Silicon Valley,” inventor and entrepreneur Robert Metcalfe once remarked, “is the only place on earth not trying to figure out how to become Silicon Valley.”

In the US, too, leaders have long tried to engineer another Silicon Valley. Yet billions of dollars of tax breaks and “Silicon Something” marketing campaigns later, no place has matched the original’s track record for firm creation and venture capital investment—and these efforts often ended up benefiting multinational corporations far more than the regions themselves. Wisconsin promised more than $4 billion in tax breaks and subsidies to Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn in 2017, only to see plans for a $10 billion factory and 13,000 jobs evaporate after hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars had already been spent to prepare for Foxconn’s arrival. Amazon’s 2017 search for a second headquarters had 238 American cities falling over each other to woo one of the world’s richest corporations with tax-and-subsidy packages, only to see HQ2 go to two places Amazon likely would have chosen anyway because of their preexisting tech talent. One of the winners, Northern Virginia, promised Amazon up to $773 million in state and local tax subsidies—a public price tag for gleaming high-tech towers that seems especially steep as Amazon joins other tech giants in indefinitely pushing back post-pandemic plans to return to the office.

While the American tech industry is vastly larger than it used to be, the list of top tech clusters—the Bay Area, Seattle, Boston, Austin—has remained largely unchanged since the days of 64K desktop computers and floppy disks. Even the disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic have done little to alter this remarkably static and highly imbalanced tech geography.

[...] It wasn’t just tech policy that made these regions what they are, however. Social spending mattered too. In the prosperous postwar years, the GI Bill sent millions of veterans to college and helped them buy homes. States like California enlarged public higher education systems, making it easy to obtain a low-cost, top-flight university education. Schools and local infrastructure were well-funded, especially in the growing suburbs that many tech people and companies called home.

[...] The US government had a transformative impact on high-tech development when its leaders were willing to spend big money on research, advanced technology, and higher education—and keep at it for quite some time.

[...] The next Silicon Valley will not come from a race to the bottom, from who can offer the most tax cuts, the leanest government, the loosest regulations. It will result from the kind of broad, sustained public investment that built the original Valley.

[Based on a Book] The Code - SILICON VALLEY AND THE REMAKING OF AMERICA By MARGARET O’MARA

Why do you think "Silicon Valleys" elsewhere did not become as successful?


Original Submission

 

Reply to: Re:step one

    (Score: 2) by Rich on Friday January 14, @09:25PM

    by Rich (945) on Friday January 14, @09:25PM (#1212770)

    Don't forget the military money. Once you have mentioned conditions in place, which are a pretty good sum-up, large amounts of money have to be poured over it. With the condition of getting something equal in value in return. The tax breaks and subsidies in all the attempts are neither large (in that sense), nor bound to any tangible success expectations. The Silicon Valley got a good percentage of the whole money spent on the cold war, including Vietnam, to provide innovations to stay on the edge of technology. That can be seen in the early 80s, when the Japanese took over a good part of the market, because they built their industry to compete commercially, while the Americans still made their cash of the milspec parts, while also catering to a few happy hobbyists.

    I wonder if a bounty or goal oriented scheme at proper scale might help. Have the government (or a related company) issue a request for offers over 200 million RISC-V CPUs, Quad Core, 2.5GHz, 4-issue out-of-order at max. 50 bucks each - to be designed and manufactured locally. (With a few lines of fine print to give some to those coming in second as well, or a bit more or less if certain tech milestones (EUV) are met, etc...). Cash on delivery, the banks will be better to judge whether any investments will bear fruit... Once the chips arrive, sell them at a price where 10 million every month are taken, wedge them into the mainstream market, and take that over. Oh, and also use the GDPR with full force and ensure you also get the whole software platform for that.

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