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The Entrepreneurial State

Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths

By Mariana Mazzucato
9-minute read
The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths by Mariana Mazzucato

The Entrepreneurial State (2014) sheds light on the state’s role as a daring investor in emerging technology. From the iPhone to sustainable energy, these blinks reveal the central role governments have played in creating the world we know today, and how they can help to secure our planet’s future.

  • Founders seeking alternative opportunities for funding
  • Consumers curious about the role of their government in business and the economy
  • Individuals interested in the future of sustainable technology

Mariana Mazzucato is a renowned professor of Economics of Innovation who teaches at the University of Sussex. The Entrepreneurial State was the Financial Times and Huffington Post Book of the Year.

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The Entrepreneurial State

Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths

By Mariana Mazzucato
  • Read in 9 minutes
  • Contains 5 key ideas
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The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths by Mariana Mazzucato
Synopsis

The Entrepreneurial State (2014) sheds light on the state’s role as a daring investor in emerging technology. From the iPhone to sustainable energy, these blinks reveal the central role governments have played in creating the world we know today, and how they can help to secure our planet’s future.

Key idea 1 of 5

Believe it or not, the state has proven itself to be a savvy investor.

It seems like market leaders Google, Facebook and Apple announce stunning new innovations every week. It’s hard not to be impressed by these top-performing companies. But should we really give them all the credit?

Believe it or not, those companies and even technology itself wouldn’t be where they are today without the help of one key player: the state.

Take Google, for example. For the past decade, Google has been one of the most influential companies on earth. It’s an innovative force that controls the way we use the internet. Google’s domination began with one innovation in particular: its search algorithm, an invention that Google alone was responsible for . . . right?

Wrong! The research and development for Google’s winning algorithm was made possible through state funding. The private sector didn’t have a hand in it – investors were simply too scared to back Google’s revolutionary project.

This isn’t the only case where the public sector has displayed remarkable foresight. And yet, why are public opinion and even economists so strongly against public sector involvement in the market?

The truth is that history has been warped. While the achievements of the state have been celebrated as the victories of an innovative and daring private sector, the failures of the private sector are portrayed as fatal mistakes made by the state.

Take the financial crisis of 2007, for example. Most of us would blame that devastating market collapse on overwhelming public sector debts. In 2011, British Prime Minister David Cameron even vowed to give the private sector more freedom to combat the ill-advised government investments and convoluted bureaucracy that seemed to be the root of the crisis.

And yet, we should know by now that the greatest contributor to the crisis was in fact the private sector. Companies desperately trying to increase their profit, most notably in the US real estate market, spiraled out of control. This created a massive financial bubble, which caused the crisis.

With this in mind, it’s about time we reconsidered the role of the state in business.

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