[Marxism] Fwd: What the Steve Jobs Movie Won’t Tell You About Apple’s Success | Alternet
lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Oct 28 04:18:51 MDT 2015
Lynn Parramore: We constantly hear that anything to do with government
is incompetent and inefficient. Yet as you show, many of the industries
and products that make our lives better wouldn’t exist without
government-funded research. The whole process of economic growth is
hugely interdependent with governmental action.
What about something like the iPhone? Is it a product of Silicon Valley
magic and the genius of Steve Jobs? Or is there more to the story?
Mariana Mazzucato: Economists have recognized that government has a role
to play in markets, but only to fix failures, like monopolies, for
example. Yet if we look at what governments have done around the world,
they have not just stepped in to address failures. They have actually
actively shaped and created markets. This is the case in IT, biotech,
nanotech and in today’s emerging green economy. Public sector funds have
not only supported basic research, but also applied research and even
early-stage, high-risk company finance. This is important because most
venture capital funds are too short-termist and exit-driven to deal with
the highly uncertain and lengthy innovation process.
I often use the iPhone as an example of how governments shape markets,
because what makes the iPhone ‘smart’ and not stupid is what you can do
with it. And yes, everything you can do with an iPhone was
government-funded. From the Internet that allows you to surf the Web, to
GPS that lets you use Google Maps, to touchscreen display and even the
SIRI voice activated system —all of these things were funded by Uncle
Sam through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), NASA,
the Navy, and even the CIA.
These agencies are all mission driven, which matters to their success,
including who they are able to hire. The Department of Energy was
recently run by Steve Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, who wanted
the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) to do for energy
what DARPA did for the Internet. Would he have bothered leaving academia
to join the civil service just to "fix" markets? Surely not. That’s boring.
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