Policymaking doesn’t move at the speed of technology

Some in Washington say it is, in fact, Silicon Valley that should learn to live with the realities of policymaking. “I’ve never really heard a member of Congress say technology is not important; I’ve heard a lot of tech leaders say, ‘I don’t need politics, I don’t need Washington, policy is going to hurt us,’” Dempsey said long after that perplexing May hearing at which he testified.

Actually A LOT of things don’t move at the speed of technology.

Though I am a huge fan of tech, I have to agree with this member of Congress. I would broaden it to say that there is an overall disdain for politics in the tech space (unless the technologists are directly involved in politics somehow). This needs to change.

UPDATE: There’s been a response from the Cato Institute. I think it’s an astute response and speaks to the problems of both the tech community and D.C. Both are sort of insular bubbles in their respective niches. The problems start when the two have to collaborate or discuss an issue. They often find that they don’t even speak the same language.


  1. Anonymous July 6, 2010

    The argument from the tech world is generally that regulation and legislation can’t keep up with the pace of innovation. Since innovation is the bread and butter of the technology industry, where goods and services become obsolete in a week, industry leaders get frustrated waiting around for Congress to fund this, or the FCC to regulate that. In a globalized economy, where many other countries around the globe don’t have the snail’s pace political processes that we do, it’s a wonder that many tech firms still participate in US markets. We’re the wealthiest country in the world, though, and consumer resources are the only thing that anchor firms here.

  2. Anna Tarkov July 6, 2010

    Wow, interesting comment. First off, I’d like to know how the political process works faster in other countries. Which countries do you mean and how do things work there to better serve the tech community?

  3. Anonymous July 6, 2010

    It’s not that other countries do better things to serve the tech community – it’s that they don’t do as much to get in the way. Device manufacturers are a perfect example, and how they set up manufacturing operations & tech support call centers overseas. Wage hikes in America got in the way of manufacturing corporations meeting their fiscal goals, and so they moved the jobs overseas. Corporate tax rates in America are another good example, prompting corporations to break apart and become multi-national entities.

    I’m not a comparative political scientist, so I can’t give you an institutional run-down of every modern state, post-globalization. I’m also not a technologist, so this isn’t necessarily my position – I’m just a tech policy guy who works with industry on a number of fronts, and this is a pretty popular topic.

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