A really competitive society is perhaps one that holds competitions. I've written before about the cash prizes offered in America for the DARPA Grand Challenge (autonomous vehicles) and the Space Elevator prize. The latest has been announced:
U.S. soldiers will go into future combat situations wearing more than 20 pounds of batteries to run the electronic systems they take with them.These competitions are highly successful - the Grand Challenge is over, having been won. They are also, by the standards of government research budgets, astonishingly cheap. And they're FUN.
That burden is too high, so the Pentagon is offering a $1 million prize to any team that can cut that weight to 4 kilograms (8.8 pounds) or less.
We really ought to hold them here.