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China The Almighty Buck Science Technology

China Tops Europe In R&D Intensity 134

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the someone-has-to-do-it dept.
ananyo writes "By pouring cash into science and technology faster than its economy has expanded, China has for the first time overtaken Europe on a key measure of innovation: the share of its economy devoted to research and development. In 2012, China invested 1.98% of its gross domestic product (GDP) into R&D — just edging out the 28 member states of the European Union, which together managed 1.96%, according to the latest estimates of research intensity, to be released this month by the OECD. The figures show that China's research intensity has tripled since 1998, whereas Europe's has barely increased (see graph). The numbers are dominated by business spending, reflecting China's push in the manufacturing and information- and communication-technology industries."
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China Tops Europe In R&D Intensity

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  • by rioki (1328185) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @10:26AM (#45897309) Homepage

    1. China does not top Europe in any way, the absolute numbers are fully and totally the opposite. The TFA refers to percent of GDP, which is meaningless.

    2. Being on welfare in Germany compares to working off you ass on low to medium job in the US. You just need to do the minimum of research on the different programs.

    3. There is something called elevator effect, in which the median standard of living is raised. The low end of German income will get you a middle class standard of living compared to 30 years ago. The only shitty practice are the total lack of minimum wage in Germany, where people have a job and get welfare to prop them up.

    Yes complaining, that is what we Germans are really good at...

  • by afidel (530433) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @10:48AM (#45897479)

    When the third largest economy in the world (or second depending on how you put Europe together) is outspending you on metrics that lead to future growth it absolutely is a meaningful metric. As to scientific progress, this isn't just about science, it's about economics as TFA mentions this is all R&D and much of it in China is companies spending on developing existing knowledge into better, cheaper products.

    As an example take solar cells, we've had them for decades and while new research might be upping the maximum possible efficiency by 1-2% per decade at this point the Chinese have been reducing the cost per watt by 90% per decade, which is more important overall?

  • by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @11:09AM (#45897647) Homepage Journal

    Your point could have been made without the racist implicit assumption that "evil chinese" are trying to poison westerners. They just have lax environmental standards, and the people of China are starting to take notice of how badly it hurts their lives, and the government there is begining to cave, just like the early days before the EPA in the USA.

    The rise of the East is good for the world, the more places that have an educated middle class, the less room there is for exploitation. It just happens in a way where exploitation goes way up before it goes down.

  • by jalopezp (2622345) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @11:17AM (#45897707)

    You forget that these spending numbers are percentages of GDP, not absolute numbers. In this regard, China does not have the spending capacity. In terms of nominal GDP (World Bank, 2012), the EU spent $3.27e11 (327 short billions) in R&D, while China spent $1.65e11 - only just over half. The US, with a slightly smaller GDP than Europe but a higher R&D expenditure is still winning the spending race with $4.35e11. You'll notice TFA also spends most of its time criticising the quality of Chinese research, consistent with the western notion that academic freedom and a competitive market are integral to scientific and technological progress.

    The countries with the highest GERD in the OECD are:

    1. Israel (4.38),
    2. Finland (3.78),
    3. Korea (3.74),
    4. Sweden (3.37),
    5. Japan (3.26),
    6. Denmark (3.06).

    source [oecd-ilibrary.org]

  • by ebno-10db (1459097) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @11:57AM (#45898135)

    For example they can not bow to American pressure to make their currency unatractive like Japan did and end up with lost decades.

    In other words, it's ok for China to be mercantilist and keep their currency artificially low, but wrong for the US to object to it.

    As for "bow[ing] to American pressure", would that include the US threatening to impose tariffs and quotas on Chinese imports? As a sovereign country the US can do that. Don't bother giving me any nonsense about "violation of international agreements", because China has been in such blatant violation of so many agreements for so long that it's laughable.

    You're also completely wrong about what caused Japan's lost decade(s). It was caused by a collapse of stock and real estate bubbles. It's similar to what happened here more recently, except that fortunately for us, they didn't happen at the same time. And as absurd as our real estate bubble was, it was nothing compared to Japan's. It got so ridiculous that the valuation of the grounds of the Imperial Palace was higher than for the entire state of California.

  • by bluegutang (2814641) on Wednesday January 08, 2014 @12:12PM (#45898289)

    Percentages relative to GDP are available too: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_research_and_development_spending [wikipedia.org]

    The list goes as follows:

    1. Israel 4.2%
    2. South Korea 3.74%
    3. Japan 3.67%
    4. Sweden 3.3%
    5. Finland 3.1%
    6. United States 2.7% ...
    14. China 1.97%

    China's figure is still pretty impressive since it is the only developing country over 1% (you would expect developing countries to have low values, since providing for basic necessities is a more pressing need than in rich countries).

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