Reply to post: Masturbatory self-aggrandizement

It's the white heat of the tech revolution, again!

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Masturbatory self-aggrandizement

It's easy to propose ideas at a party conference. Holidays for Grandma! Free puppies for all! Rather harder to govern. President Obama's "change we can believe in" rapidly became "change I can get done despite two wars that refuse to die down and a Republican party that refuses to accept a black man has won the White House".

The problem as I see it is that government intervention invariably picks winners and losers instead of creating opportunities for innovation, most of which will fail. It's the market's job to harvest winners and cull losers. Governments help by tilling the ground: property and contract law, funding blue sky university research, and making access to capital easier (sensible bankruptcy laws, venture capital etc.) They get "paid" by the economic activity that results.

An example of where govts go wrong is spending money too late in the innovation cycle. Spaffing $$ on a makers loft in Shoreditch is nonsense. Spending $$ to fund a project in how to make mobile phone glass is picking winners. Spending money to fund PhD students investigate lasers and foreign languages, and to teach them how to start a business, is money well spent. You get an educated population some of whom will go on to do great things.

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