Book Talk: How American Innovation Can Overcome the Asian Challenge



Adam Segal, Council on Foreign Relations

Date and Time

March 17, 2011 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM


Open to the public.

No RSVP required


Philippines Conference Room

As the United States struggles to emerge from recession, India and China's continued robust growth is the subject of much interest and concern. Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Senior Fellow Adam Segal will talk about his new book Advantage: How American Innovation Can Overcome the Asian Challenge, analyzing Asia's technological rise, questioning assumptions about the United States inevitable decline, and explaining how America can preserve and improve its position in the global economy by optimizing its strength of moving ideas from the lab to the marketplace.

In his book, Segal argues that the emergence of India and China does not mean the end of American economic and technological power. Instead, the United States should now leverage its many advantages.

Through his research, Segal concludes the United States has an advantage over Asia in the realm of the software of innovation. “In America, your ideas can make you rich. Intellectual property is protected, and individual scientists are able to exploit their breakthroughs for commercial gains,” he writes. “It is time to realize that software in its most expansive sense offers the most opportunities for the United States to ensure its competitive place in the world.” The challenge is “to recover a culture of innovation that was driven underground, overshadowed by sexy credit default swaps and easy spending.”


Adam Segal is the Ira A. Lipman senior fellow for counterterrorism and national security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). An expert on security issues, technology development, and Chinese domestic and foreign policy, Dr. Segal currently leads study groups on cybersecurity and cyber conflict as well as Asian innovation and technological entrepreneurship. His new book Advantage: How American Innovation Can Overcome the Asian Challenge (W.W. Norton, 2011) looks at the technological rise of Asia. Dr. Segal is a research associate of the National Asia Research Program and was the project director for a CFR-sponsored independent task force on Chinese military modernization.

Before coming to CFR, Dr. Segal was an arms control analyst for the China Project at the Union of Concerned Scientists. There, he wrote about missile defense, nuclear weapons, and Asian security issues. Dr. Segal has been a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Center for International Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, and Tsinghua University in Beijing. He has taught at Vassar College and Columbia University. Dr. Segal is the author of Digital Dragon: High-Technology Enterprises in China (Cornell University Press, 2003), as well as several articles and book chapters on Chinese technology policy. His work has recently appeared in the International Herald Tribune, Financial Times, Washington Quarterly, Los Angeles Times, and Foreign Affairs. Dr. Segal currently writes for the CFR blog, “Asia Unbound".

Dr. Segal has a BA and PhD in government from Cornell University, and an MA in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. He reads and speaks Chinese.

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