Congressional Research Service Memorandum: The Global Competitive Environment, Drivers of Change, and Potential Implications for Federal Policy [May 21, 2008] [open pdf - 153KB]
"This memorandum is in response to your request for information on the influences that are reshaping the global competitive environment and potential implications for U.S. policy. Congress has maintained continuing interest in the nation's competitiveness due to its implications for U.S. economic growth, job creation, standard of living, quality of life, and national security. Technology and innovation have been central themes in discussions about competitiveness, along with key factors such as the U.S. workforce (e.g., education and training, with an emphasis on developing scientists and engineers), business climate (e.g. economic, trade, tax, tort, regulatory, and intellectual property policies), and infrastructure (e.g., roads, bridges, ports, airports, energy generation and transmission, telecommunications, national research facilities and equipment). Many analysts have observed that a variety of powerful influences have converged during the past two decades to reshape the global business environment. Underpinned by advances in information and communications technology, market-based economic reforms, and free trade agreements, globalization and the integration of the world's national economies have accelerated. Historically, the interests of private enterprises, universities, individuals, and other institutions were strongly aligned with the nations in which they resided. Global drivers of change appear to have partially decoupled the interests of nations and some of the institutions that reside within. This memorandum is focused on addressing selected influences driving changes in the global competitive environment; how these influences have shaped, and may continue to shape, the global competitive environment; and some of the potential implications for federal policy."