As CEO of Intel, Paul Otellini knows a lot about the value of investments. And these days he's worried that the United States, after a decade of neglecting support for education, research, and digital infrastructure, is falling behind much of the world in its ability to compete economically and technologically.
Last year, during some of the grimmest days of the recession, Otellini announced that Intel would spend $7 billion to build fabrication plants in Oregon, New Mexico, and Arizona. While the move was meant to create manufacturing capacity for its new 32-nanometer chips, the timing, which came as Congress debated President Obama's stimulus bill, was also meant to signal its willingness to invest in the United States. This February, Otellini announced that Intel and a group of venture capital firms would supply $3.5 billion to U.S.-based technology startups over the next 18 to 24 months; a related initiative committed Intel and other high-tech companies to doubling their hiring of U.S. college graduates in 2010.
Fretting over U.S. competitiveness is nothing new: such concerns seem to make headlines every few years, peaking during poor economic times. So Technology Review editor David Rotman asked the Intel CEO why he is worried now.
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