Found in 8 comments
wdewind · 2018-04-19 · Original thread
There's a lot in here I agree with. I am not discounting the private sector's value in bringing state sponsored tech to market. This is huge. But what I am saying is that the state leads. Innovation has not traditionally been led by the private market, and again, the narrative that tech has flown from private markets to the military is just not correct, except maybe I guess when you consider the PAAS market bounded in the last 10 years? It really depends on where you draw your boundaries though: PAAS ultimately sits on 65 years of private sector innovation built on top of...a network created to monitor nuclear silos originally deployed by the military.

> The days where the govt seeded tech in the US are long gone. This is not to say there’s no contribution, but when was the last time someone cared about govt or defense contractor involvement?

The entire self-driving car industry is build on top of DARPA experiments from the 90s.

This is the second time I've recommended this book on HN in as many weeks, but it's really quite good in going into the structure and history of the private market/govt dichotomy:

wdewind · 2018-04-13 · Original thread
In fact, this is a really common thing we see in the market/government dichotomy: the market doesn't, and shouldn't, have a stomach for long term, high risk plays that could possibly benefit all of society. That's not the point. The government handles those levels of investments on a much longer time scale, allowing the market to exploit the technological platforms made by our government. We see this pattern with the space race, the internet etc.: government does the big heavy lifting in the 20-40 year time frame, then VC and the market comes along and "digests" those changes for the marketplace.

Here is an excellent book that describes this relationship in far greater detail:

acjohnson55 · 2016-09-26 · Original thread
My oft-recommended book Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy [1] hammers on this idea of that financing of speculative vs. mundane ventures are fundamentally different games. The author argues that speculative finance is a good thing, as long as it's not just speculating on finance itself. In fact, it's so useful that the government should encourage it. He cites the long-term advancements produced by incredible amounts of public money injected into the defense industry, the space industry, the National Institutes of Health, the NSF, and so forth. But, he argues that such speculation needs to be cordoned off from the mundane economy, so that when bubbles burst, they don't take down the systems everyday people rely on.


acjohnson55 · 2016-01-03 · Original thread
> Apple was a product of that system, not a cause of it. Companies like Apple do not happen in a pure deregulated neoliberal market paradise because markets don't have the kind of strategic intelligence that can fund projects like Whirlwind, TX-0, and the original Arpanet - all of which are essential steps on the road to making an Apple or a Google.

The book Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy [1] really hammers in this point. I highly recommend it to people who have an interest in this. I wrote a review that captures a lot of my reflections on the book itself and the subject matter [2].



acjohnson55 · 2015-07-20 · Original thread
Interestingly, this reminds me a lot of the view espoused by Bill Janeway in Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy [1], which, among many other things, studies the history of business cycles. It's a great book.


acjohnson55 · 2015-02-02 · Original thread
The fantastic book Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy [1] digs a lot into the roles of the market, the government, and the financial industry in the western economy. It's a challenging read, but a fantastic book if you can make it through.


acjohnson55 · 2013-11-19 · Original thread
Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy by William Janeway ( is not a history book per se, but it does contain a pretty thorough survey of bubbles and busts over the past several hundred years. It also contains a lot of history on the investment sector of the economy over the 20th century, and the rise of venture capital over the past 40 years. It's a challenging read, but very rewarding.
acjohnson55 · 2013-10-08 · Original thread
As so many things do, this reminds me of one of the more insightful books I've ever read:

Among many other things, the author, Bill Janeway, stresses that in his decades of experience in the venture investment world the only reliable rule he knows in that world is that cash and control are the only hedges against the inherent uncertainty of new ventures.

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