Regarding the myth that government stifles industrial innovation


When right-wing pundit Conn Carroll challenged liberal pundit Jonathan Chait to cite the “record for innovation in government-led corporatist industries,” Chait RESPONDED THUSLY:

Being no expert in the field, but having the working knowledge that comes from living in the actual world rather than the world of Rush Limbaugh’s imagination, I immediately cited defense, aerospace, and biotechnology. I don’t see how you can deny that the progression of military technology from dudes with muskets to tanks and cruise missiles represents innovation. Likewise, we’re definitely better at sending stuff into outer space than we were when NASA was founded in 1958.

Many others have since sprang to mind. Agriculture has been dominated by socialistic regulation for 80 years, which is a terrible policy in my opinion, but certainly hasn’t stopped the industry from developing massively effective productivity improvements. Defense investment obviously includes the development of the Internet. Finance is pretty crony-ist, and I know Carroll agrees, and it’s innovated in a lot of ways I’d call negative, but it’s certainly innovated. The government-directed fracking technology and horizontal drilling. Plus lots more, including “innovations from machine tools to railroads, electricity transmission, transistors, lasers, the internet, GPS, and every aspect of energy exploration and development.”

“What has the government ever done for us?” turns out to be a loaded question with a disappointingly long answer.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *