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The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  994 ratings  ·  125 reviews
This book debunks the myth of the State as a large bureaucratic organization that can at best facilitate the creative innovation which happens in the dynamic private sector. Analysing various case studies of innovation-led growth, it describes the opposite situation, whereby the private sector only becomes bold enough to invest after the courageous State has made the high- ...more
ebook, 266 pages
Published June 10th 2013 by Anthem Press (first published 2011)
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3.95  · 
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 ·  994 ratings  ·  125 reviews

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Ben Thurley
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Check out the one-star reviews for this work and you'll quickly get an idea of why it is so very, very good. (G)libertarians and free-marketers are hyperventilating as Mazzucato Mariana surgically dissects their treasured myths about the desirability of a small and feeble State and the power and dynamism of unfettered capitalism, stretches their entrails out across the landscape, and leaves their corpses on public display.

The core myth that Mazzucato methodically skewers, punctures, deflates, sh
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I have been very much impressed by the Entrepreneurial State but I also have some major doubts and even some disagreements. Maybe I have been brain-washed in the last 20 years of my life but my experience in Silicon Valley and venture capital and also my less than satisfying experience with planned innovation by the State convince me that entrepreneurship is crucial and maybe more important than the State role in the innovation part (not the research or even the R&D).

Now I fully agree that s
Aug 31, 2013 rated it did not like it
This is a long review so stick with me. But I need to point out why you should not read this book or anything else this author writes pertaining to economics (maybe she knows something about art, who knows).

The author claims "there is a danger when
a general desire to reduce the size of the state translates into weak and non-ambitious economic policy." As though reducing the size of the state somehow makes the economy non-ambitious. Or the reverse, that increasing the size of the state would make
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A really interesting essay about innovation, the role of the State and the myths surrounding the risk-taking in the private sector, venture-capital (VC) or SMEs. Studying how Apple built its innovative products using State-financed innovation, or how Big Pharma is only expanding the existing public-based research, Mariana Mazzucato convincingly demonstrates how public policies should be focused on investments and innovation in the long run, creating a stable regulatory environment and sometimes ...more
Aug 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: innovation
This is an important book that shows how the state plays a crucial role for innovation at different stages of their development and implementation. It also debunks several myths about companies and VC propensity to take risks and their ability to carry out research leading to innovation.
Tara Brabazon
Mar 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a ripper. This is a magnificent book. Based on a DEMOS report and now expanded, this book should be read by every politician and policy maker who describes the private sector as exciting, innovative, profit-leading and dynamic and the state as boring, risk-averse and damaging to entrepreneurship.

Mazzucato makes a case and a powerful argument that for the big risks - the seriously innovative research that can enable leaps in business, technology, agriculture and industrialization - 'the mar
Bob Duke
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was ok
The book made some good arguments in regard to the state having an important role in fundamental research. I approached the "Green" chapters with much trepidation which was proven do be justified. The author had indeed drunk the Green Koolaide by quickly dissing any research into nuclear power and quoted the installed capacity of renewable energy sources rather than their actual output. The criticism of the role of the state in picking winners has often been illustrated by such things as Concord ...more
Laurent Franckx
Mar 12, 2018 rated it liked it
OK, so you have these books that claim they will change the way you view the world. And then you have these TED talks where the charismatic author of the book indeed tells you amazing and unknown facts that are discussed in the book and that make you want to find out more. But then, you're fifty, and you've read your share of books that were widely acclaimed and turned out to be mainly waffle, and you have a sneaking suspicion that most of the book's contents have been discussed in the TED talks ...more
Ibrahim Niftiyev
Apr 08, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: economics
Terrible reading experience. Just numbers and cold interpretations. The message is very simple: governments must spend more money on research and development and that's it!
Athan Tolis
Jan 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Could not be reading this book at a more appropriate time. Last week Merck announced they are firing some 7.500 scientists. This week it's Alcatel firing another 5,000. That's not any company, Alcatel, it's owned by Lucent, previously known as Bell Labs.

One of the main theses of the book is that business these days concentrates its efforts in bidding up the share price through buybacks, that it puts more emphasis on returning money to its shareholders rather than fostering the research that bene
Constantinos (Gus) Kalogeropoulos
Professor Mazzucato does a wonderful service by illuminating the important vanguard role the state - especially the U.S state - has played in the technological innovations and inventions of the 20th and 21st centuries, especially the IT and internet revolutions and the biomedical industry. In so doing she challenges the narrative which is all too popular that the great technological innovations from the internet to the iphone to pharmacological breakthroughs are the result of the independent pri ...more
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A stellar debunking of the idea that most major scientific breakthroughs in the last 100 years have come from private business. The reality is that the state funded most of the foundational work which was then successfully and rapidly exploited by private corporations often with little return to the state. This is vital for understanding economic growth and re-balancing strategies for better economic performance. It also suggests the US stimulus of 2009 would have been better spent on science. W ...more
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
So I'm giving this 5 stars not because it's an exhilarating read, but because I think it's important. Every legislator and policy maker should be familiar with this material. That said while the first/introductory portion of the book can be a little repetitive and dull, it actually picks up once it gets into the details a little. Also, its more than just a history lesson regarding the role public/government research and investment plays in economies around the globe, it also presents some intere ...more
Raja Ramesh
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Billing itself as a political pamphlet, rather than a book-length policy memo or academic publication, Mazzucato's explicit call to action (repeated throughout the book) is for the reader to recognize the important role of the state in technological innovation. I became aware of this book from this tweet ( which got retweeted around Bernie campaign alumni twitter and from hearing Mazzucato's name being cited in discussion around a Green New Deal. While this book certainly ...more
Otto Lehto
Jan 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Mazzucato's book flips the narrative about the dynamic and innovative private sector on its head. It argues that the entrepreneurial state has been, and should continue to be, a vital player "not only in fixing markets, but in creating them."

The book applies the neo-Schumpeterian insights of evolutionary economics and innovation research to argue for a state-centric viewpoint on how innovation breaks new ground. Mazzucato correctly points out that radical innovation is subject to uncertain risk
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

2.5 Stars!

“If the rest of the world wants to emulate the US model they should do as the United States actually did, not as it says it did.”

Mazzucato illustrates why many companies in the health and energy sectors have benefited greatly from the support of the State, “But all we hear in the media is the one-sided myth of the lone entrepreneur.” She cites plenty of examples, talking about the US Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, offering high risk financing to companies at the cru
Feb 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: the-state
A glimpse of how the imperial state operates

[Through my ratings, reviews and edits I'm providing intellectual property and labor to Inc., listed on Nasdaq, which fully owns and in 2013 posted revenues for $74 billion and $274 million profits. Intellectual property and labor require compensation. Inc. is also requested to provide assurance that its employees and contractors' work conditions meet the highest health and safety standards at all the company's si
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bibliocase
The memorably vitriolic and immensely readable H.L.Mencken, once said, “Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.” While anything that is attempted to be run by a democratically elected Government has both its adversaries and advocates, one thing which the common populace neither acknowledges nor accuses the State of, is the possession of an entrepreneurial bent. In a world where innovation is attributed to ingenuity originating from run down garages and the cu ...more
Sarah GT
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A big star currently in the innovation space, Mazzucato has succeeded in piercing the general opprobrium we are expecting any “good” economist to have against the intervention of the State in the economy, especially through industrial policy. Well not all of course.

She succeeded by demonstrating that the State has been a major driver of innovation in the US economy by being a risk-taker and playing an entrepreneurial role. She also rams the venture capitalists out there as being short-termists,
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I always thought there was something wonky about the explanations people give of the magic of the private sector, they often describe the private sector similar to the magic of a game of thrones plot line. Sometimes when you hear people explain the magic of the "private sector" it is often an overly simplified explanation that makes your bullshit alarm go off in your head. This book takes an axe to these regurgitated beliefs that are replayed over and over from the moderate democrats to the enti ...more
Mike O'Brien
Jul 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As the intro says: 'this book...challenges the widespread idea that the State cannot pick winners, that it is clumsy, bureaucratic and incapable of entrepreneurial risk taking'

Essential reading for a more rounded view of the role of the state than is usually promulgated by much of the media.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
In "The Entrepreneurial State", Diane Mazzucato fleshes out a cogent and encompassing argument for the necessity of State-led intervention and direct financial investment within the realm of technical "innovation" (and related technological development).

To form her argument, Mazzucato first lays out her idea of the 'alternative hypothesis', or the traditional argument, that the best role of the State is to stay out of the free-market and to avoid "picking winners". This position, which is built
Emilio Garcia
Jan 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
A must read book if you have a left-wing vision of the mission of the State. And if you dont have it and you are open to new ideas, perhaps it would make you think about your own convictions. Because this book, as its subtitle said, is oriented to debunk some myths about the role that the public and private sector has historically played in making fly innovative ideas. Through a compilation of examples mainly from the digital economy, Marina Mazzucato put some prejudices upside down, showing tha ...more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: economics
The Entrepreneurial State (2013) by Marianna Mazzucato looks at how the state is, according to Mazzucato, entrepreneurial in its development of science and technology.

The first thing about the book is that it abuses the word 'Entrepreneur'. Mazzucato tries to put forward the idea that the state, by financing research is being 'Entrepreneurial'. But it's not really. The financial risk for the state itself isn't that great. The financial risk for the people who allocate the funding is also small. 
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Powerful book that hammers home an important point: the State plays and has played a pivotal and vital role in innovation that is very under-appreciated; many break-troughs and innovations are the result of the state taking risks and investing money.

Mazzucato convincingly shows that even darling Apple is much indebted to technology done by and paid for by the government. Forcefully debunks many myths, like the risk-appetite of venture capital (pretty short-term and not too high risk appetite) a
Piet Boels
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
A gem of a book for all those snow-flake lefties/liberals who are feeling left behind in the current onslaught of red-toothed and -clawed deregulationism and small-state-ism and its pernicious effects on... well, everything Essential reading for all those who keep on insisting that everything new, exciting, problem-solving, trailblazing and money-making idea comes from the individual, and only the individual, working alone in/at his/her shed/desk/room/headspace. Then again, those who insist on t ...more
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: economics
Mariana Mazzucato brilliantly debunks the myth that private sector and free market enterprise alone drive the innovation. She reveals larger role played by governments in technological development and creation of MNCs as massive wealth creators . Citing examples across IT & Electronics, Green technologies, Mazzucato argues that most private sectors has horizon of 3-4 years and hence less likely to come up with original innovation which require decades of research and ‘patient capital’. Priva ...more
John  Mihelic
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In this book, Mazzucato makes the argument that the state is the best actor to be the one to make long-range investments in technology, as private actors under capitalism are too focused on short term rewards to really be able to focus on real blue ocean development.

In fact, she argues, some of the more celebrated examples of private innovation can be linked to research and investment the state has made. This process of celebrating the private corporation has a way of erasing what the state has
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
One of the popular narratives of the past 35 years (I believe it began with Reagan) is that the federal government is an ineffective and generally useless part of our society. As a government employee, I have a number of friends and family who have happily reminded me of this for years. This book turns that narrative on its head by discussing the many instances in which government research and regulation have yielded outcomes that have benefitted commerce and society. The internet was invented b ...more
Jul 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dry in parts (clearly written by an economist) but worth it for Chapters 9 and 10 and the information about Apple throughout the book. It helped clear up a lot of myths I held previously about the role of government in funding innovation. It's especially interesting that despite the rhetoric of US politicians, their own government agencies have been aggressively developing new technologies for decades. They're responsible for a lot of the tech in an iPhone, for example, as well as the Internet, ...more
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Mariana Mazzucato is an economist with dual Italian and United States citizenship. She is a professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value and the director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London (UCL) and the RM Phillips Chair in the Economics of Innovation at the University of Sussex. She is also a member of the Scottish Government's Council of ...more
“Although there is much talk about small firms creating jobs, and increasingly a focus of policymakers, this is mainly a myth.” 5 likes
“The State cannot and should not bow down easily to interest groups who approach it to seek handouts, rents and unnecessary privileges like tax cuts. It should seek instead for those interest groups to work dynamically with it in its search for growth and technological change.” 2 likes
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