Economic Competitiveness in the 21st Century

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Craig Barrett, Former Chairman of the Board, Intel Corporation
Eugene P. Wigner Distinguished Lecture Series
SNS Central Laboratory and Office Building (8600)
Email: Lindsey Twardy


While talking about the recovery (or lack of recovery) from the economic meltdown starting in 2008, most analyses focus on the short-term aspects of GDP growth, job recovery, wage rates and asset valuation. Lost in this discussion of short-term economic factors are the longer-term changes taking place. The 3,000,000,000 new capitalists who entered the world’s free economic system in the late 20th century with increasingly competitive skills are probably a bigger factor in economic competitiveness than banking failures, auto bailouts, and government stimulus programs. Looking forward, countries have limited options in driving economic growth. Investments in education (the value add associated with the work force), investments in research and development (new ideas for the next generation of products and services), and setting the right environment for smart people to take smart ideas and create something of value (IP protection, venture capital, tax rates, and overall government policy), are the key variables that will determine winners and losers. Central to this theme of competitiveness is the U.S. research university and its association with our National Labs, perhaps the most important U.S. innovation in the 20th century, and something the rest of the world is trying to copy. A review of U.S. competitiveness suggests we have much work to accomplish to make the 21st century a success.

About the Speaker:

Barrett is the former chairman of the board of Intel Corporation, a post he held until 2009. He is a leading advocate for improving education in the United States and around the world, and raising social and economic standards globally through technology.

Barrett chairs Change the Equation, a national STEM education coalition. He served as chairman of the United Nations Global Alliance for Information and Communication Technologies and Development, working to expand technology to developing parts of the world. Barrett was a member of the President’s Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations and the Clinton Global Initiative Education Advisory Board. He received BS, MS, and PhD degrees from Stanford University in Materials Science and was a faculty member until joining Intel in 1974.

Transportation to and from the SNS will be available the morning of the lecture. Shuttles will run from the main campus beginning at 9 a.m. ORNL buses will run from the Visitor Center to SNS, including one pick-up at Bldg. 1520 at 9:15 a.m. Buses will resume after the talk, and attendance is encouraged. Questions for Barrett may be submitted during the lecture, as well as in advance. Send questions via email ( or Twitter (@ORNL).

Refreshments will be served in the SNS lobby. The talk will also be webcast. Watch ORNL Today for the link.


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