Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Time to think
Today President Obama made his State of the Union speech, where he highlighted the issues of climate change, energy and the need to foster the research and development in the areas of high tech and clean technologies. Specific emphasis was made on the effort to regain leadership in technology and innovation, which America is loosing. These were very similar points I was trying to make in my last article - only applied to Canada. We are loosing our edge in space technologies (MDA). Our former pride - RIM is a shadow of its former self (do you still remember time when the same Obama did not go anywhere without his Blackberry?) We had a Vancouver-based company, which using their proprietary advanced technology, manufactured probably the best photovoltaic modules in the world, Day4 Energy - they are being squeezed out by the price war. Before that, Burnaby BC-based Ballard, one of the leaders in fuel cell technology, stopped working in this direction. While China, Taiwan and South Korea are investing heavily in new technologies, Canada is trying to hang on its oil and gas exports, becoming a raw materials supplier to the Asian tigers? And what are we going to do when they will not need them anymore, which will happen inevitably, because they are rapidly increasing their share of alternative energy? You say China will need natural resources for a long time? Not for a long - Russia will supply enough and more than we can bring with the ships - through the pipelines from Siberia, and cheaper than we will ever can afford.
By the way, our praised Canadian banking system turned to be not so great either - almost all Canadian banks have been downgraded by Standard & Poor as well as by Moody's.
The crisis, which "fell" on our heads in 2007, has crushed many, and stomped a number of promising developments. One of the examples, The Brook, the most advanced real-life residential building in North Vancouver, which was supposed to become a base for the line of the high-performance buildings, did not stand the financial tide, as many other businesses in the area. At the same time some government and semi-government organizations, have dressed themself in "green" - without a need of being too much concerned about cost-effectiveness or even about the functioning of the technology they spent money on.
The crisis, which some think is over, in fact is just about to begin. We need a serious and thorough thinking about what is going on in the world and the global trends, or we are in the danger of becoming a third-world country. Canada has the intellectual resource - the best possible and non-exhaustible - which can and has to be used to be a leader as it can be.