America and Europe — A False Debate

A few days ago I came across Umair Haque’s post on how Europe is going to kick America’s ass in innovation and immediately tagged it in del.icio.us to blog_later. And yet, every time I tried to start a post on it, I found Umair’s logic so off that I didn’t know where to start. Umair’s thoughts are usually pretty good and he seems like a nice guy. Moreover, early comments on his post were complimentary. So I held off, a bit uncertain of my gut reaction. Then I saw Jeff Nolan call it a "whopper" and woke up this morning to Chris Yeh’s long, devastating take-down of Umair’s theory. Go read Umair’s original and then Chris’ response.

I only have time to add one more thing to the pot, and that is to reference my earlier post on globalization’s effect on unique culture. It’s very hard to attribute cultural exports to a single country or region and thus generalize about its aesthetic vibrancy. The character of cultures is increasingly cosmopolitan. Indeed, the spread of markets and commericalism has not diluted the best of culture, it has instead provided more and diverse choices for citizens. So, I think it’s unproductive to argue America vs. Europe and then especially derive predictions about innovation, a process that will be more and more de-nationalized.

Thanks Umair for sparking this conversation!

I categorized this Silicon Valley Junto since we discussed Americanism at our last lunch.

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