Government as Primary innovator?

I’ve written passionately about the stultifying, influence-peddling, and depressing results of local governments engaging in ‘Economic Development.’

But the thing I like best in the world** is a smart, contrarian argument that shows how I’ve not considered all sides of an issue. Like this TEDTalk for example.
We often easily dismiss the government’s role in innovation, myself included.

Watching this type of argument helps me think better.


The TEDTalk teaser for this video:

Why doesn’t the government just get out of the way and let the private sector — the “real revolutionaries” — innovate? It’s rhetoric you hear everywhere, and Mariana Mazzucato wants to dispel it. In an energetic talk, she shows how the state — which many see as a slow, hunkering behemoth — is really one of our most exciting risk-takers and market-shapers.

Which actor in the economy is most responsible for making radical innovation happen? Mariana Mazzucato comes up with a surprising answer: the state.


**Ok, there are a few things I like better in the world. Double Stuff Oreos come to mind. Red Sox World Series victories, as well.


ted talks

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One Reply to “Government as Primary innovator?”

  1. I thought about this a few times today. My contribution is Solyndra. The government is in a unique position to control the flow of information in such a way that the true state of affairs can be either well hidden or so well spun that it might as well be hidden. This makes them both a participant and arbiter in their own twisted innovation.

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Public Speaking


I founded Bankers Anonymous because, as a recovering banker, I believe that the gap between the financial world as I know it and the public discourse about finance is more than just a problem for a family trying to balance their checkbook, or politicians trying to score points over next year’s budget – it is a weakness of our civil society. For reals. It’s also really fun for me.

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