The Global Market of Ideas

Daniel A. Sumner
Agricultural Issues Center, Director
University of California, Davis

Regular readers of the Agricultural Issues Center quarterly may have noticed how much of what we do at the center has an international flavor. This does not reflect a conscious choice to emphasize the global nature of California agriculture as much as recognition of an inescapable reality.

A topic with clear international significance is measuring the contribution of agricultural research and extension, and implications for organizing and financing public research and extension. Even more than agricultural goods, ideas flow readily, if not freely, across international boundaries. This means our research in California has benefits for agriculture in other countries. It also means that we gain from innovations created elsewhere. Further, consumers and others in California benefit from innovations used in California agriculture, regardless of their source. Californians also benefit from innovations imbedded in products we import, just as customers around the world benefit from our innovation. Any reasonable evaluation of research and extension programs in California must take into account important international spill-ins and spill-outs. In the world of ideas, as in the world of commodities, we are in a global market.

Adapted from article in The UC/AIC Quarterly, Volume 12, Number 2, p. 1, 1998, "Director's Message."

Table of Contents

15 November 2004