Lynn & Salzman: Techno-nationalism or building a global science and technology commons? (but what about China?)

August 30, 2023


As a cold war with China heats up, the U.S. and other members of the G7 need new approaches to their science and technology innovation (STI) policies. Dominance on the innovation frontier is no longer possible through traditional techno-nationalist policies that view nations as ‘competing’ through exclusive STI development. Instead, we must recognise that talent and intellectual property are globally distributed, and thus build global collaborations that draw on the world’s greatest talent while providing benefits equitably in a global STI commons. We need to recognise this new reality, not only for the benefits this would confer on humankind, but also to contend with China’s growing STI capabilities and, eventually perhaps, integrating China into a system of global collaboration. Additionally, and importantly, national policies must recognise the geographically untethered operations of multinational enterprises that are the developers and/or repositories of STI but have weak ties to any one nation, thus blunting policies that try to contain STI within a country’s borders. In this paper, we suggest approaches to advance these goals for global STI based on theories and cases of collective action.

Lynn, L. & Salzman, H. (2023) Techno-nationalism or building a global science and technology commons? (but what about China?) Global Policy, 00, 1–15. Available from:

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