How the Government Created Your Cell Phone
Steve Jobs is just one example of the startup mythology that surrounds Silicon Valley–we credit the private sector for the innovation and growth in our economy. But 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 hero. “Every major technological change in recent years traces most of its funding back to the state,” says Mazzucato. Even early-stage private-sector VCs come in after the big breakthroughs have been made.
The book recounts how the parts of the smartphone that make it smart–GPS, touchscreens, the Internet–were advanced by the Defense Department. Tesla’s batteries came out of a Department of Energy grant. Google’s search algorithm was boosted by a National Science Foundation innovation. Many new drugs have come out of NIH research.
How much the private sector owes to government will be a hot-button issue in 2016. But Mazzucato says there’s a better model: Israel and Finland retain equity in firms that come out of basic government research. And the U.S. government in the past has dictated that companies reinvest money in Main Street rather than give it to Wall Street. That’s how Bell Labs was born, after the federal government pressured AT&T to reinvest profits in innovation. We got the C++ programming language and cell-phone calling technology, among many other advances, out of that. Not a bad precedent.
Other government funded inventions.
The Jeep ( developed with government funding as an all weather all terrain recon vehicle in WW2)
Duct tape ( Developed as a seal for ammo cases by the US Army)
Epipen ( Developed by the DoD so soldiers could self medicate quickly during a chemical weapons attack)
Freeze Drying ( Developed in WW2 to preserve medical supplies that needed refrigeration)
Computers (ENIAC developed by the government)
The Internet (ARAPANET developed by the military to tie multiple computers into a single network)
Bar codes and scanners
Goodyear Tires ( Government grant to develop a rubberized coating for landing rovers on Mars went into making Goodyear Tires some of the longest lasting)
The micro chip
Vaccines for Hepatitis A and B and HPV ( researched and developed at the National Institutes of health)
Fire resistant clothing
Aero dynamic semi trucks
internet security (Symantech/ Norton started with a government grant)
development of the Interstate Highway system ( invented by Germany but Eisenhower was so impressed that it was the key goal of his administration.)
the cell phone (see above)
GOOGLE. Don't believe me then google it!
We the people have funded research and development of some of the worlds greatest innovations. Inventions that were then patented to those people or companies for whom the money for research was given- some of the same people who today feel it is their right to hide the profits from these inventions offshore to avoid repaying the government of the people for past help in the early development of their products. Maybe our good friend Israel got it right on this one-the government retains equity rights in all government funded inventions.