All eyes are focused on the global credit crunch and financial crisis, and the rapidly declining dollar. A Wall Street Journal editorial asks, The Buck Stops – Where?

Some commentators are optimistic, taking a long view and suggesting that America will bounce back from this short-term cyclical decline. America, they note, is the still world’s technology leaders. America will rebound.

But a study done by five Georgia Institute of Technology scholars, widely reported, and released in January, suggests otherwise.

They measure a variety of technology and competitiveness indicators for a cross-section of 33 countries, going back to 1993 and going up to 2007. For the “technological standing” indicator (which measures “a country’s recent overall success in export high technology products”), they present what they euphemistically call “quite interesting results”:

* The U.S. peaked at 95 in 1999, and is now down to 76.1; America is no longer first.
* China has increased from 22.5 in 1996 to 82.8 in 2007. It is now in first place.
* Japan peaked at 93.9 in 1996 and is now down to 66.0. (“Recall,” say the authors, “that the indicators are relative”). 

The countries showing sizeable declines in 2007 include “the two traditional leaders, USA and Japan, note the scholars.”
And another worrisome postscript: Israel’s Technology Standing score is only 25, ranking Israel well behind, for instance, Malaysia and Mexico. Moreover, Israel’s competitiveness between 1993 and 2007 has declined, according to the researchers.

A. Porter, N. Newman, X. Jin, D. Johnson, J.Roessner, “High Tech Indicators: Technology-Based Competitiveness of 33 Nations”, 2007 Report,  Georgia Inst. Of Technology, Jan. 22/2008.