Our Challenge in an Era of Global Competition

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  • (From left) James P. Dougherty, Edward Alden, Vivek Kundra, Paul Mascarenas, Michael S. Teitelbaum

    (From left) James P. Dougherty, Edward Alden, Vivek Kundra, Paul Mascarenas, Michael S. Teitelbaum

  • Paul Mascarenas (l) and Michael S. Teitelbaum

    Paul Mascarenas (l) and Michael S. Teitelbaum

  • Vivek Kundra

    Vivek Kundra

  • Edward Alden

    Edward Alden

  • James P. Dougherty

    James P. Dougherty

Panelists

Edward Alden
Director, Renewing America Program, Council on Foreign Relations

Vivek Kundra
First CIO of the U.S. and EVP, Emerging Markets, salesforce.com

Paul Mascarenas
Chief Technical Officer, Ford Motor Company

Michael S. Teitelbaum
Wertheim Fellow, Harvard University, and Senior Advisor, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Moderator

James P. Dougherty
Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relations


Many other nations put more effort and money into education and infrastructure than the US. And how should we think about immigration, which provides critical workers both at the high end and in manual labor? How is the US really doing? What are top competitors doing? What pragmatic near-term steps can we take? Read excerpts from the discussion below. To download a full transcript, click here.

Dougherty: Immigration, education, and infrastructure—is the United States competitive on those issues?

Kundra: My view is that it is still the best country on the planet for starting up a business. But immigration is broken. It makes no sense to educate people with advanced degrees and then ask them to leave and start up companies elsewhere. Why aren’t we stapling a green card to their graduate diploma?

Mascarenas: We face a crisis in recruiting critical skills into the auto industry in the STEM disciplines, particularly controls engineers and software engineers.

Teitelbaum: At the university level, the U.S. is still the predominant science and engineering producer in the world, though other countries are catching up. In K-12, things are quite different. The U.S. has huge inequalities in its K-12 system. So its average performance on all the indicators is medium among developed countries—some would say mediocre. We’re leaving behind the bottom quartile. That’s an equity issue.

Alden: For innovation, entrepreneurship, start-ups, the U.S. continues to be unparalleled. But in spreading economic benefits broadly throughout the economy, we have not done well the last 30 years. We have to think strategically about how we do better for more of our people in this next era of disruptive change.

Kundra: Talent and capital is going to flow where it’s most welcome. We need to make sure we’re advancing a public policy agenda that welcomes both. The big problem at the base of this pyramid is fundamentally education. Across the country, there are 3.6 million job openings today. We haven’t done enough in retooling the workforce.

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