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A tale of ‘cautious pessimism’: Biotechnology, recession and the ‘new economy’

Kewell, Elizabeth and Webster, A. (2009) A tale of ‘cautious pessimism’: Biotechnology, recession and the ‘new economy’ Biotechnology Journal, 4 (8). 1106–1108-1106–1108.

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Barack Obama’s best selling memoir, The Audacity of Hope [1] was first published in 2006. Chapter 5, entitled ‘Opportunity’, set out an agenda for rekindling an American economy that had entered into decline, despite the espoused prosperity of an enriched Wall Street venture capital culture. Obama’s vision of a reinvigorated America has since become a blueprint for recovery from the ‘third quarter crash’ (or credit crunch) of 2008. Obama’s plan is to reassemble the ‘New Economy’ of the 1990s in the 2010s, remodelling its least palatable features – ineffective Schumpeterian innovation policies [2,3], the Enron model of corporate ‘venturisation’, speculative investment in technology stocks, and the concentration of wealth generation capabilities within private equity houses and hedge funds (financialisation) [4]. These policy changes presage a ‘new deal’ for the life and environmental sciences, in which gross domestic product will depend on neither cars nor coal as the source of future wealth creation. Instead, current Whitehouse policy seems to pin its hopes on a virtuous cycle of patent-led bioscience, cleantech and computer industry engineered prosperity [5]. The United Kingdom (UK) is following suit in this respect, as seen in recent government responses to Sir David Cooksey’s report on the competitive position of the UK biotechnology [6], while the European Commissioner for Research, Janez Potocnik, has called for more investment in the biosciences to help ‘relaunch the economy’. The prevailing view assumes that as children of the ‘New Economy’ paradigm, biosciences and biotechnology can help rescue it, if they are made ready for this purpose. Thus, whilst a renewal of government commitments to science, engineering and biotechnology is always welcome, on this occasion, new investment may come with a heavy price tag.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
Webster, A.
Date : August 2009
DOI : 10.1002/biot.200900140
Copyright Disclaimer : © 2009 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
Additional Information : Special Issue: Biotech in the financial crisis
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 30 May 2017 14:20
Last Modified : 16 Jan 2019 18:52

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