Corporate Fidelity May Not Extend Very Far in Nanotech

About a year-and-a-half ago I suggested that all those regional economic development groups that were attempting to attract a so-called, and largely yet-to-materialize, nanotechnology industry to their region were sadly misguided.

Government officials are learning the hard way just how far their financial support will inspire corporate loyalty: not very far.

New York figured that they had the perfect foundation for investing state funds to make its region even more attractive to nanotechnology companies. It had IBM and other big technology firms, strong technology-oriented universities, and an economy that had been on a decline. Just throw some money at the situation and upstate New York would become the new Silicon Valley for nanotech.

But after millions of dollars of state funds to help IBM, New York State officials are concerned that IBM may be planning to move jobs overseas.

In the Computer World article referenced above, New York State Assemblyman Greg Ball is reportedly calling for a legislative hearing to look into recent IBM's layoffs.

How does nanotechnology fit in? Well the quid pro quo that was struck last July had the State of New York providing $140 million in grants to IBM in return for investing $1.5 billion to create 1,000 new jobs in nanotechnology.

Let me help out here. Businesses are established to produce profits, not create public good. That is their charter. In fact, if they pursue the public good to the detriment of profit they can be prosecuted; itâ''s against the law.

Letâ''s just hope the New York State legislators had a good contract for their deal.

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