The statist approach to open source

If everyone in a low-wage country is pointed toward existing open source technology, will they accomplish more than a portion of another nation's innovators, because they are less free to choose proprietary alternatives?

Here is a story bound to drive Matt Asay crazy.

Singapore is dedicated to making itself an innovation center, in direct competition with Silicon Valley. One way it's going to do this is through open source.

That's the word from Tan Geok Leng (right), CTO of the nation's Infocomm Development Authority.

He keynoted an open source conference in Singapore on Tuesday and gave special praise to Google's Android and Nokia's Symbian, whose open source efforts are opening the market for Singapore.

Singapore is known for its top-down industrial planning, Silicon Valley for its bottom-up innovation, so the question we should ask is which side will benefit most from open source?

If everyone in a low-wage country is pointed toward existing open source technology, will they accomplish more than a portion of another nation's innovators, because they are less free to choose proprietary alternatives?

It's likely you won't think so, but if so tell me why.