“Every major technological change in recent years traces most of its funding back to the state.” –Mariana Mazzucato, economist
We credit the private sector for the innovation and growth in our economy. But British University of Sussex economist Mariana Mazzucato’s book The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths argues that it is the government, not venture capitalists and tech visionaries, that is the source. Even early-stage private-sector venture capitalists come in after the government-funded big breakthroughs.
The parts of the smartphone that make it smart–GPS, touch-screens, the Internet–were seeded by the U.S. Defense Department. Leading electric car, Tesla’s, batteries came out of a Department of Energy grant. Google’s search algorithm was promulgated by a National Science Foundation innovation. Scores of new drugs develop from National Institute of Health studies.
Israel and Finland retain equity in firms that come out of basic government research. The U.S. government in the past has required companies to reinvest in Main Street rather than direct all profits to Wall Street investors. That’s how Bell Labs was born, according to Mazzucato. The federal government dictated AT&T to reinvest profits in further development and jobs. C++ programming language and cell-phone calling technology, among many other innovations, came out of that effort.
Horizonte, Salt Lake City School District’s alternative high school and adult education center, provides English language and high school instruction for the formerly unsuccessful, immigrants and refugees. Horizonte also provides privately funded applied tech and college scholarships for its high school graduates who qualify for post high school training and education. Those who receive this assistance, otherwise unavailable, are striving to be providers and contributors for and to America’s greater economic and social advancement.