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December 08, 2008

Blogging the 2008 Nobel Week Public Sector Summit

It's 4:50 pm and night has fallen in Stockholm. I spent most of the day at the University of Stockholm. Each year, Nobel Laureates are invited to offer a 50 minute lecture about their story and their contribution. More times than not, most of these brilliant people stay focused on the story of their craft rather than their personal story. Osamu Shimomura was the exception. He was 1/3rd of this year's Nobel Laureate's in Chemistry. His story opens on the day of the atomic bomb hit. He was a 16 year old high school student. His lecture wove the science of the discovery of isolating the green fluorescent protein, GFP, with stories about his mentors, colleagues, families, and the politics of scientific discovery.

Paul Krugman has spent an academic lifetime enlarging our understanding of classical trade theory into what has become known as new trade theory. He offered a bit of insight on the road he's traveled these past 25 years. As I noted in my Tweets and FB updates live from the lecture, the irony of Krugman's talk was that for 25 years he has been at the forefront of a revisionism in economics to account for trade patterns and economic activity that helped to turn classical Ricardo on its head. After explicating some of the empirical and theoretical basis of that activity he concluded (in the last 3 minutes of his presentation) that while he has contributed to a better understanding of foreign trade over the past 50 years of global transactions, the next 50 years appear to be leading towards a 'return of the classical foreign trade economics' based on comparative advantage.

At tonight's opening of the 2008 City of Stockholm and Cisco Systems Public Sector Innovation Summit, some 300 delegates from around the world gathered to compare notes on the unfolding of the broadband economy and innovations in the health, education, and public services arena. Interesting enough, a wide cross section of delegates from the OECD as well as Asia, Africa, and the Middle East were talking about their government's economic stimulus plans. Each of the persons I spoke with was convinced that their governments would be offering a significant infrastructure stimulus to catalyze an effort at economic turn around. However, unlike the conversation in the United States, or certainly in Ohio to date, I heard time and time again about stimulus investments in public broadband efforts, extending broadband enabled services in health care, education, and core government services. It was striking how forward looking the European and Asian stories were (in particular). Beyond the headlines, there may never be a more important time then mobilizing our thought leaders and civic leaders in our State capitals, cities, and universities to press the case for economic stimulus for a 21st century broadband future. For one view on what this might look like in NEOhio take a look at this earlier analysis.

Tomorrow, Government Ministers, University Presidents, and other public sector leaders conduct a full day of indepth case studies and architecting of broadband futures in about 50 countries represented at the Summit.

Lev Gonick
December 7, 2008
Stockholm, Sweden

Posted by lsg8 at December 8, 2008 05:44 PM

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