Innovation or Death

In Sunday's New York Times, that I actually did finally get to read (The debacle HERE) , there was a fantastic opinion piece by Thomas Friedman entitled, "Invent, Invent Invent."

Some of my highlights from this piece were the following:

* "How America should get out of its current economic crisis?" Craig Barrett, the former chairman of Intel's first proposal was this: Any American kid who wants to get a driver’s license has to finish high school. No diploma — no license. Hey, why would we want to put a kid who can barely add, read or write behind the wheel of a car?

* Historically, recessions have been a time when new companies, like Microsoft, get born, and good companies separate themselves from their competition. It makes sense. When times are tight, people look for new, less expensive ways to do old things. Necessity breeds invention.

* Russian companies that actually made things that the world wanted were virtually nonexistent: Two-thirds of Russia’s exports today are oil and gas. Gazprom makes the money, and Sberbank lends it out.

* Once you start censoring the Web, you restrict the ability to imagine and innovate. You are telling young Chinese that if they really want to explore, they need to go abroad. We should be taking advantage. Now is when we should be stapling a green card to the diploma of any foreign student who earns an advanced degree at any U.S. university, and we should be ending all H-1B visa restrictions on knowledge workers who want to come here. They would invent many more jobs than they would supplant. The world’s best brains are on sale. Let’s buy more!

* Sometimes, I worry, though, that what oil money is to Russia, our ability to print money is to America. Look at the billions we just printed to bail out two dinosaurs: General Motors and Chrysler.

* There has been way too much talk about minting dollars and too little about minting our next Thomas Edison, Bob Noyce, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Vint Cerf, Jerry Yang, Marc Andreessen, Sergey Brin, Bill Joy and Larry Page. Adding to that list is the only stimulus that matters. Otherwise, we’re just Russia with a printing press.