Politicians and pundits constantly call for the government to step out of the way and let entrepreneurs and “job creators” build the industries of the future. New Left Project argues that this current conventional wisdom is all wrong, and more often than not, game-changing innovation is funded by the government, not the private sector:
The current debate, in the UK and abroad, on the need to cut back the state in order to unleash the power of entrepreneurship and innovation in the private sector, builds upon a stark contrast that is repeatedly drawn by the media, business and libertarian politicians: a dynamic, creative competitive private sector versus a sluggish, bureaucratic, inert, `meddling’ public sector.
It is assumed that the private sector is inherently more innovative, more able to think out of the `box’ and to lead a country towards long-run innovation-led growth. But many examples in the history of innovation, entrepreneurship and competition, in different sectors and across different countries, paint a very different picture – of a risk taking innovative state – especially in the most uncertain phases of technological development and/or in the most risky sectors – versus a more inert private sector, which only invests (in innovation, in new start- ups, in networks) once the state has absorbed most of the uncertainty.