Archives:How the West Was Won: The Military and the Making of Silicon Valley


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Those who would emulate the example of Silicon Valley too often overlook a crucial part of the story. For better and for worse, Silicon Valley owes its present configuration largely to patterns of federal spending, corporate strategy, industry-university relationships, and technological innovation shaped by the assumptions and priorities of cold war defense policy. Indeed, the name Silicon Valley itself may be something of a misnomer, ignoring as it does the crucial role of microwave electronics and -aerospace in providing this archetype for American high-technology industry. Created and sustained in the name of national security, Silicon Valley may offer limited guidance at best for an industrial policy aimed at a very different kind of international competition.

Citation and Link

Stuart W. Leslie, "How the West Was Won: The Military and the Making of Silicon Valley," in Technological Competitiveness: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives on Electrical, Electronics, and Computer Industries (Piscataway, NJ: IEEE Press, 1993), 75-89. 


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