Spend $1 billion, rape and pillage California’s best universities, and set Texas up for one hundred years with the best academics around. Great universities drive economic success. Unfortunately we’re behind. Texas’s universities have 52 members in the National Academy of Sciences; California’s have 625. Of course, California also has a $42 billion deficit. Thus a once-in-a-century opportunity to change the game. One billion dollars would recruit two hundred to five hundred of the best, most innovative, and most productive academics in the nation. California couldn’t respond. Is it fair? Not really . . . which is why it’s so cool.

Barchas is the director of the Austin Technology Incubator at UT-Austin.

(On the Web: a related idea from Harrison Keller, the vice provost for higher education policy and research at UT-Austin.)

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