On the other hand, Orange County should not develop high technology as the sole source of its bread and butter. As experienced by Houston, Detroit and Pennsylvania, economic dependence on a single industry can bring about devastating vulnerability through cyclic or catastrophic market fluctuations.
In other words, Orange County must continue to encourage the growth of a broad base of industry. The semiconductor and computer industries may take on the responsibility as leaders in the growth, serving as the foundations on which other building blocks are placed. But ultimately, the responsibility to encourage this growth and diversification must be assumed by all elements of the community--government, education and business.
If the answer is yes, we must re-examine our efforts to slow the pace of development and decide either to give in to the physical inconveniences identified with growth or work to eliminate them. Land usage, transportation, and environmental issues could be resolved through governmental measures that would ensure reasonable remedies for the inconveniences that come with development. Change is intimidating, but Orange County has all the key elements to take a leadership position in Southern California's development.
Government, through subsidy incentives and tax benefits, could encourage the development of key industries. Government can also establish long-term policies for transportation, housing, and education consistent with the long-range county growth plan. The county must establish a good business climate to develop and attract, from a worldwide pool of resources, the proper talents and tools to enhance our systems of education, government, research, business and finance.
We must do what we can to encourage innovation. Computer literacy must be a major goal in the primary and secondary education of our children, for the computer is a universal information tool used in all disciplines of higher education and all industries. Orange County can lead the way in setting this standard.
Higher education is crucial to the development of an industrial center, and UC Irvine can increase its key role in this development, aggressively recruiting research and teaching talent and developing top-notch research centers and laboratories, while encouraging innovative technology by granting its researchers creative license and financial freedom.
The county's businesses and educational institutions should encourage partnerships to promote the application of research and development and, like the Stanford Technology Park, provide support to young entrepreneurs and their start-up companies.
Major corporations, although few in Orange County (only three public companies report sales of more than $1 billion), will be looked upon in the future to lead the way in research and development. The Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, as an example, has brought to the Silicon Valley a wealth of technological resources, resulting in a cooperative synergy of talents and high-technology advances.
The promotion of technology will have a wide range of benefits for Orange County residents, bringing a higher standard of living, the vitality that comes with innovation and the prestige of being on the cutting edge--we may no longer have to explain to people that Orange County is 40 miles south of Los Angeles!
As the 21st Century draws near, the world standard is shifting. Industrial might is no longer measured by tons of steel or bushels of grain, but by advances in high technology. And if we want Orange County to be the business center of Southern California or a gateway to the Pacific Rim, then we must encourage the growth of the high-technology industry so the county can enhance its identity and take a strong leadership position in the coming century.