The end of start-up nation?
At Intel Israel's annual conference in Tel Aviv on Sunday, President Mooly Eden warned that start-up nation isn't forever
“This isn’t forever,” he said at the company’s annual
conference in Tel Aviv, against a backdrop of convertible touch-screen laptops,
tablets, smartphones and other highpowered gadgets. “Are we investing enough in
Israel on a national level, so that in the future we will a have ‘Israel: The
Start-up Nation, Part Two,’ or will this be a history book?” Eden raised the
question after announcing a banner year for Intel Israel. The company more than
doubled its exports, from $2.2 billion in 2011 to $4.6b. in 2012. That figure
represents 10 percent of Israel’s total exports (excluding diamonds) and 20% of
the country’s $21.5b. in hi-tech exports.
“This should be a flashing red
light,” said Eden, looking like a European Steve Jobs with his backward Kangel
beret matching his all-black attire. Although the company’s remarkable success
in Israel gave him great pride, he said, there were plenty of other tech-savvy
nations that will outpace Israel if it doesn’t make the right
“We aren’t the only start-up nation in the world. There’s a
start-up nation in India and a start-up nation in China and a start-up nation in
Brazil,” he said, attributing the current Israeli hi-tech boom, in part, to the
influx of relatively educated immigrants from the Soviet Union in the
But far from endorsing specific policies, Eden simply paid lip
service to the fields of taxation, export law and education.
The brain drain from high tax rates is a huge problem, and it's the one I see the government doing the least to stop. Out government is addicted to spending, and our older industries are still dominated in many case by the national labor union, which continues to extort exorbitant salaries for little work (see, for example, the ports, including the airport, and the Electric Company).
Labels: Intel, Israeli high tech, start-up companies