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« "The Cure" in Arizona | Main | Broadway Babies Say Goodnight »

We're #3!

The Milken Institute has released its 2008 State Science and Technology rankings, and Colorado ranked #3, behind Massachussetts and (gasp!) Maryland. And it's not as though this is a sudden leap, the result of the magnanimous and enlightened policies of Gov. Ritter. No, Colorado ranked 3rd in 2004, and 2nd in 2002.

The study is designed to measure the intangibles such as education, R&D spending, and capital formation, that contribute to a successful high-tech economy.

Keep this in mind the next time you hear someone asking for more of your money for the teachers' unions, for instance. The notion that, without additional massive government investments in schools or in economically marginal technologies, we're all going to be reduced to carbon-neutral sheep-herding in a few years, seems a little far-fetched, eh?

For the record, this event didn't go entirely un-noticed by the local media. The Rocky actually assigned a local reporter to write up the report:

"The state is creating high-quality jobs. And it's well-positioned to create high-quality, high-paying jobs in the future," said Ross DeVol, director of regional economics at the Milken Institute, the economic think tank that issued the report.

The state benefited, in particular, from its high concentration of scientists and engineers as well as its educated work force.


DeVol said Colorado stands in a relatively unique position because it placed among the top five states in all five categories.

"Across a very broad spectrum, Colorado does very well," DeVol said.

The Post, by contrast, buried the news in an AP wire story that doesn't mention Colorado until the 5th paragraph.

Milken breaks the five major categories down into 77 subcategories, and with three studies' worth of data available, it would be interesting to see what categories and subcategories appear to be leading or trailing indicators.

Also telling - and disheartening - is the extent to which even entrepreneurs have internalized the notion that the state government is the place to go for direct funding:

"It's amazing. Colorado has such an amazingly entrepreneurial spirit, but there's a lack of direct funding from within the state," said CEO Jon Nordmark, referring both to direct state funding and private funding sources.

He noted the governor's strategic focus on four industry clusters, in particular: bioscience, energy, tourism and aerospace.

Nordmark contended Ritter's administration had "selectively chosen" a few industries to zero in on, adding that "they completely ignored" software and Internet companies.

Ritter spokesman Evan Dreyer didn't dispute the governor's focus on those areas. He said high-tech "is an undergirder - or overarching umbrella - for all four of those sectors."

Leaving aside Evan Dreyer's metaphorical confusion - high-tech is either an undergirder or an overarcher - the point here is that when the government takes on the role of picking winners, the losers will spend time and money lobbying it rather than producing more...stuff.


Maryland has a lot of high tech defense jobs and biotech focus.

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