About five years ago, signs began appearing that economic growth in the United States was losing its vitality. In an economy as complex as that of the US it is not always easy to distinguish symptoms from causes. Industrial innovation has long been recognised as the engine of the American economy, and it was clear that this loss of power could not be explained simply in terms of OPEC and the rapid rise in the cost of energy. Many measures of the “State of Innovations” have shown signs of a downturn. President Carter initiated a cabinet-level study of the extent to which government regulation might be to blame, and numerous other groups have analysed the extent to which other factors have contributed to the decline.