Silicon Israel

[City Journal] George Gilder - The most precious resource in the world economy is human genius, which we may define as the ability to devise significant inventions that enhance survival and prosperity. During the twentieth century, an astounding proportion of geniuses have been Jewish, and the fate of nations has largely reflected how they have treated their Jews. When Jews came to New York and Los Angeles, those cities towered over the global economy and culture. When Jews escaped Europe for Los Alamos and, more recently, for Silicon Valley, the world's economy and military balance shifted decisively. Israel has very recently become a center of innovation, second in absolute achievement only to the U.S., and on a per-capita basis dwarfing the contributions of all other nations, America included. How Israel is treated by the rest of the world thus represents a crucial test for civilization. Just as Hong Kong ultimately reshaped the Chinese economy in its own image, Israel could become a force for economic liberation in the Middle East, reaching out to Palestinians and other Arabs. After all, it has long been Israeli enterprise that has attracted Arabs to Palestine. Between 1967 and 1987, when the first intifada erupted, the West Bank and Gaza had one of the fastest-growing economies on earth. True peace lies waiting to be picked up by those Palestinians and Israelis who are willing to invest in creation over destruction. The writer is the author of The Israel Test.

2009-10-09 06:00:00

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