Are Europeans less innovative than Americans since WW2?

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,214
Welsh Marches
I think we all know that it isn't just a matter of scale, and that the development of the EU isn't going to do anything to turn Europe into an innovative commercial culture to rival that of the USA.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
I think we all know that it isn't just a matter of scale, and that the development of the EU isn't going to do anything to turn Europe into an innovative commercial culture to rival that of the USA.
Today, it seems most innovation and development is costly. Tax breaks do help as an incentive. Take pharmaceuticals. I know they are demonized, some of it justified. However, I have read the cost involved to develop a new drug, or for the medical field to develop a new procedure, is enormous. And, there is a great deal of failure, in the trial and error process. So, naturally, those who engage in this wish to recoup their investment. This is why a newly established drug is patented for so many years, although generic forms become available, at a cheaper rate. Outside of the U.S., are any European nations heavily involved in R&D for new medical procedures or pharmaceutical drugs?
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,214
Welsh Marches
Yes, the UK in the lead in Europe with GlaxoSmithKline and AstroZeneca at the head, third highest expenditure in the world with Germany and France somewhat (but not a great deal) behind; but the USA is way ahead, with about half of the world's expenditure, and the UK under a tenth. Japan falls in between, closer to the UK than to the USA.
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,171
US
Yes, the UK in the lead in Europe with GlaxoSmithKline and AstroZeneca at the head, third highest expenditure in the world with Germany and France somewhat (but not a great deal) behind; but the USA is way ahead, with about half of the world's expenditure, and the UK under a tenth. Japan falls in between, closer to the UK than to the USA.
I have heard of those two companies. I didn't realize they were British.
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
16,214
Welsh Marches
I think all these big companies are pretty international, but those two have their headquarters in the UK, and partsof GlaxoSmithKline go well back into Victorian times (e.g. Beechams, which started with laxatives, all that heavy Victorian food). The UK is genrally pretty good on scientific research, even if it doesn't always draw as much economic advantage from that as it might.
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,533
Europix
Today, it seems most innovation and development is costly. Tax breaks do help as an incentive. Take pharmaceuticals. I know they are demonized, some of it justified. However, I have read the cost involved to develop a new drug, or for the medical field to develop a new procedure, is enormous. And, there is a great deal of failure, in the trial and error process. So, naturally, those who engage in this wish to recoup their investment. This is why a newly established drug is patented for so many years, although generic forms become available, at a cheaper rate. Outside of the U.S., are any European nations heavily involved in R&D for new medical procedures or pharmaceutical drugs?
In fact, yes, they are (and not only in Europe). But that is falling in the same "circle" as the IT start-ups and small entrerprises: inventing/discovering isn't lately the real challenge but putting it efficiently on the market.

In pharmaceutical industry is a lot worse than in IT. The paperwork and budgets for omologate a new drug are huge. So it's GSK that is buying the new drug and going further.

You might threat Your illnesses with a super-drug coming from the best US pharmaceutical company ... a drug based a the molecule discovered by a professor and two students from Liege .

Anyway, as an example on how relative is all this "European less innovative .... ", I'll recommend reading this, for example:. Why Eastern Europe is a Threat to Silicon Valley's Tech Industry
 
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Kotromanic

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
5,009
Iowa USA
You CAN make these arguments. But they seem WAAAYYY to simplistic to be taken very seriously,.

With Europe bombed to the craphouse they were not exactly starting the post war world on some sort of even playing field. Britian had some very good early computer work. But they chose to destory it all and deny it ever existsed.

Are innovators hardworking? Maybe only lazy people are really creative, hard workers just do the job they are questioning tje job.
Are innovators individualists? Maybe innovation works better in collaborative sharing environment,

The US post war boom was massive buyt the key ingredient was Brot9ioan was bankrupt almost by teh war and teh rest of Eruope teh aforementioned bombing. With teh US booming and had oddles of cash, innovative risky projects were much more likely to get funded in the USA.

Some very nice points here, Sir. I can't elaborate right now, maybe tomorrow morning.
 
Aug 2014
296
New York, USA
I think all these big companies are pretty international, but those two have their headquarters in the UK, and partsof GlaxoSmithKline go well back into Victorian times (e.g. Beechams, which started with laxatives, all that heavy Victorian food). The UK is genrally pretty good on scientific research, even if it doesn't always draw as much economic advantage from that as it might.
For what its worth, GlaxoSmithKline does have big operations in the States. Even though it is a British company, I don't know how much R&D is done in the US vs Britain.
That's the argument to not bring in. Because it hasn't anything to do with inventivity, creativity. It has all to do with market and money.

I made a genius app, that conquered the users.

Only that I'm Slovenian, I have a 2 million market. Did You ever heard of me ? Nope. Because the next step was Google that paid me a huge amount for the app (more than I made by selling it on the Slovenian marked, to be honest) and co-opted me. You know in fact my app (and another one that I worked on), You're using it. As it's labelled "Google", You'll ask Yourself why European are less creative ....
What you're describing happens a lot more often in the US. It is pretty common for European, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese companies to buy out US startups. Its a lot more common for larger US tech giants to buy smaller US startups as well. The size of EU tech M&A market is pretty small relatively speaking, to the point where a lot of big US VC firms, like Sequoia, don't even maintain permanent presence in Europe.

The argument is not whether Europeans are just "dumber" or "less educated" than Americans, clearly they are not. The argument is that the system in Europe just isn't conducive to innovation. If you are a creative entrepreneurial person in Europe, you have a better probability to make it by moving to the US. However, if you want to just be another cog in the wheel, and work in a food packing plant, you are better off in the EU. Most people are mediocre, so the EU system works well for the masses.
 
Last edited:
Dec 2011
1,304
I didn't say that innovation and originality are signs of decline, but that the emphasis that is placed on mere originality, as though this were a primary value, is such a sign; because what really matters is the quality and depth of the art, and that has usually best been achieved by building on long traditions (including craft traditions), whereas what one sees nowadays is a fetishization of the avant-garde. This has led to the visual arts and much of modern classical music becoming a specialist activity with very little connection with the wider culture. I wasn't suggesting that passively following tradition is any solution to this, especially in view of the fact that any continuity has been lost. The problem isn't so bad in literature. On the more general question, I think it is best just to look at whether Americans have been more creative in the arts and literature - i.e have produced more of lasting value - than Europeans since 1945, and I am inclined to doubt that, to say the least.
I stand corrected on the part concerning the "signs of decline" you identified.

However, if your view of "creativity" in the arts and literature is who produced "more of lasting value" - and I guess this is your substitute for an answer to my question of your definition of "creativity" - than I would beg to differ. While creativity certainly isn't only "originality", originality is the prime factor in what constitutes creativity, even if it is only a necessary condition and not a sufficient one.
 

deaf tuner

Ad Honoris
Oct 2013
14,533
Europix
The argument is that the system in Europe just isn't conducive to innovation. If you are a creative entrepreneurial person in Europe, you have a better probability to make it by moving to the US.
I am not that sure.

I don't think that that "European system" isn't conductive to innovation, but rather less conductive to entrepreneurial initiative. Innovation and implementing innovation isn't exactly the same thing.
 
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