We’re number … seven?

DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP The World Economic Forum has released its annual Network Readiness rankings, which assesses how well a country can engage in and benefit from developments in information technology. Denmark nabs the top spot this year, followed by Sweden, Singapore, Finland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands. The United States, which topped the list last year, fell ...

602972_070328_denmark_05.jpg
602972_070328_denmark_05.jpg

DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP

The World Economic Forum has released its annual Network Readiness rankings, which assesses how well a country can engage in and benefit from developments in information technology. Denmark nabs the top spot this year, followed by Sweden, Singapore, Finland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

The United States, which topped the list last year, fell to seventh place this time around. Authors of the report cited problems in the justice system, the low rate of mobile phone use, and the low quality of science and math education as reasons behind the slide. They also singled out the lack of government leadership as harming American dominance in tech development.

DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP

The World Economic Forum has released its annual Network Readiness rankings, which assesses how well a country can engage in and benefit from developments in information technology. Denmark nabs the top spot this year, followed by Sweden, Singapore, Finland, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

The United States, which topped the list last year, fell to seventh place this time around. Authors of the report cited problems in the justice system, the low rate of mobile phone use, and the low quality of science and math education as reasons behind the slide. They also singled out the lack of government leadership as harming American dominance in tech development.

Remember a few years back, when European and Asian countries were developing their third-generation (3G) technologies for mobile phones, which were leaps and bounds ahead of the U.S.?  The United States is still playing catch-up. It seem that allowing market forces to run amok may not always result in the best technology. A more regulated environment for mobile technology in Europe and Asia allows for more unity in technological advances, whereas in the United States, competing standards can cause logjams. The same logic applies to some other aspects of IT as well, such as broadband penetration. It turns out government involvement can be a good thing, if it’s efficient and well-informed.

Christine Y. Chen is a senior editor at Foreign Policy.

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