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The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  2,377 ratings  ·  275 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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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 seed
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
Julian Worker
Oct 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a book whose contents should change people's views of the state as a bureaucratic apparatus at odds with a dynamic private sector. State funding has allowed key research that provided the basis for the Internet, Microsoft Windows, Stealth Fighters, GPS, and the screens found on almost smartphones including those made by Apple.

And yet how do the private companies who benefit from this innovation reward the State for the risk they took in providing the funds for the research? By keeping th
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
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
Carlos Martinez
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed it. Mariana Mazzucato argues very convincingly that the state has a pivotal role to play in terms of directing innovation-led growth that creates high quality jobs and raises productivity. She painstakingly deconstructs the myths of the free-wheeling Silicon Valley VC-backed entrepreneur, and points out that all the key technology innovations of the 20th century had some level of state backing. Taking a close look at the iPhone, she points out that all its important component tech ...more
I probably would've loved this book a lot if I read it a couple of years ago i guess. It makes a strong case against the 'free markets fosters innovation' argument but that is honestly where it ends. Reading now, I could not stop thinking about how it says almost nothing military-industry complex or how it lacks a theory of state while emphasizing on 'state led innovation', or about how it views technology and 'innovation' itself (especially the chapters on green techonology can be argued). Ofco ...more
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
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.
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! ...more
Mar 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
In The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths, Mariana Mazzucato points out that governments produce a lot of growth but their role is almost never realized. This erasure and this casting of government investment as wasteful rather than vital is now stifling growth. Here's the big story example: Tesla is genius and Solyndra is criminal but both companies got their start from the same public program. Given that the market mostly rewards people who already have deep pocke ...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
Sam F
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For those that think that government is the enemy, or has never done anything right... this book is for you. Guaranteed to make you think and view the world with a different perspective.

Edit: Reviewing the comments and reviews you'll see a wide gulf between people's philosophies - from "libertarian" anti-govt. intervention of any sort to pro-interventionists. While it is obvious people's personal philosophies will color their opinion of the book, it's important to note the distinction between re
Phi Unit
May 22, 2021 rated it liked it
Her argument makes sense: socialized risk makes sense for government to take on and that there should also be socialized (potential) gains from that risk-taking...just the book wasn’t very engaging
Aug 28, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating and important debunking of the claim that all important innovation is the product of gifted individuals operating unimpeded in a free market. In fact, for many of the most important innovations in modern history, the state has taken an important, nimble, and powerful hand in developing history-altering technology, and only in the latest, lowest-risk stages was private capital and the free market a factor.

Some of the material is dated at this point, but setting that aside, I found t
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 (https://bit.ly/2QKvEVn) 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
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 Amazon.com Inc., listed on Nasdaq, which fully owns Goodreads.com and in 2013 posted revenues for $74 billion and $274 million profits. Intellectual property and labor require compensation. Amazon.com 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
Constantinos Kalogeropoulos
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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
Jan 20, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Informative and well written, plenty of examples and evidence to support arguments. I especially liked that it provided recommendations on what a change in policy outlook should look like if there is to be sustainable, inclusive and long term strategic innovation in the future.

The development of Green energy, is a key industry where the State should take a dynamic and pioneering role by leading R&D and creating markets.

However this can only be efficiently done when the risks and rewards both a
David Tyler
5.4/10. Why use one word when fifty will do!
Stefan Gugler
I have mixed feelings about it.

- The first part was very theoretical and a bit hard to follow, since I'm not super up-to-date with the economy of innovation and venture capital movements. Most of the companies that were mentioned didn't speak to me much. Most of the laws, grants, projects etc. were from the US (which sort of makes sense), which doesn't make it more tangible to me. So at the end of the first part, it was a bit hard to estimate, what the concrete arguments are, apart from "states
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
Dec 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
This book could have been half the size and made the point just as well. While I think this is something more of the public ought to be aware of* overexplaining the point serves no purpose other than to bore the reader into taking several months in order to finish it. As Buckley said of Atlas Shrugged, "I basically had to flog myself to read it."

*The gist, herein, is that the state is a better investor and seed-funder to innovation and new technology (and I'm paraphrasing here) because they have
Mickey Dubs
May 31, 2022 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2022
I see that I have finished this before David Tyler so I am going to spoil the ending for him:

In this very dry book, Mariana Mazzucato quite methodically tears apart the argument of the free marketeers that business is dynamic and innovative only when left alone by 'Big Government'.

Instead, Mazzucato finds that the State often acts as the early investor who takes large risks by funding research into new technologies and that big tech corporations like those in Silicon Valley are just freeloading
Mar 30, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is an incredible book about the genuine sources of long-term economic innovation. Mazzucato offers a dense and meticulously cited takedown of the mythology around VC/private sector R&D, as short sighted fiscal opportunism built on decades of foundational discovery supported by taxpayers.

Given years of anti-public sector propaganda, public perception around this needs to adapt to align with the reality if we are to tackle our biggest challenges: Climate change, inequality, pandemics....

I hi
Jan 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book about the role of the different actors within an innovation system. In times of austerity measures and need of innovative solutions to wicked problems, a must read to anyone interested in economics
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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

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