American Science and Technology Policy
Ugur Muldur's article reports on the evolution of American science and technology policy from the beginning of the nineteen eighties until today (from Reagan to Clinton) and of the medium and long term directions which are emerging. He bases his study both on the reality and the rhetoric, in particular the priorities stated by the White House, by showing how great the delay can be moving from words to deeds - when moreover they are not contradictory.
Thus dealing at first with the extent of the public R&D effort, the author shows how much under the theoritically liberal presidency of Reagan federal expenditures on R&D grew mainly to the benefit of the military-industrial complex. Then how much Presidents Bush and Clinton, despite one belonging to the Republican party and the other to the Democratic party, each strained to reduce the same federal expenditures while redirecting them towards more economic and social purposes.
U. Muldur, focusing on in the content of R&D policy, distinguishes three stages in the evolution of the aims of public policy, the first dominated by defence/ science, the second by the couple industry /technology, the third by the marriage society/innovation. He thus seeks to account for the evolution of the priorities assigned to R&D by the successive presidents of the United States an to underline how much Clinton himself attached to research with a social purpose as well as to research supporting American leadership in high technology.
The author makes clear that going from words to deeds requires a period of adaptation so that American R&D policy is only at the second stage. Nonetheless an evolution is emerging which in the medium and long term could be marked by important changes whose directions he describes.