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The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  869 ratings  ·  110 reviews

From one of the world's leading economists, a bestselling expose of the state's crucial role in sparking innovation and growth-and the dangers of ignoring this truth

Conventional wisdom holds that innovation is the preserve of the private sector, best left in the hands of that modern day folk hero-the lone entrepreneur. In this popular tale, the role of the public sector is

Kindle Edition, 260 pages
Published March 22nd 2018 by Penguin (first published 2011)
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3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  869 ratings  ·  110 reviews

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Ben Thurley
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 31, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Martin Dubeci
Jul 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
V Menej štátu a podobných kruhoch sa často používa schopnosť súkromného sektoru prinášať inovácie za zmanenie jeho nadradenosti, v porovnaní so skosnatelým verejným. Táto kniha túto tézu celkom elegantne rozložila. Hen v toľko ospevovanom IPhone je vlastne väčšina technológii výsledkom štátom financovaného výskumu. (Firma to pospájala do pekného obalu a user experience, všetka česť) Na veľké vedecké prielomy je potrebná stabilita a širšie horizoty, ochota podporiť základný výskum, ktoré so sebou ...more
Bob Duke
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Athan Tolis
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
Sep 18, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
De centrale stelling van dit boek, dat de staat verantwoordelijk is voor veel technologische innovatie zonder daar de credits en beloning voor te krijgen, wordt goed uitgewerkt, al mis ik weerwoord. Interessant zijn de case studies van onder andere de farmaceutische industrie en apple, waarbij ook vermeld moet worden dat de auteur 1 richting op redeneert en geen voorbeelden laat ziet waarbij de innovatie niet vanuit de overheid is gekomen. Ja de overheid subsidieert de ontwikkeling van medicijne ...more
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Raja Ramesh
Dec 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Aug 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ogen openend boek over de rol van de overheid in investeringen in ontwikkelingen. Lezen.
Mar 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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. 
Piet Boels
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
John  Mihelic
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book gives rise to interesting thoughts regarding the state's role in the economy. What would happen with innovation in a society with a minimal state? The author is obviously very opinionated on the subject and drives the point that the state's role as an investor is vital for economic growth. However, the book could use more examples from around the world and it is heavily based on the author's own research. As it stands many of the same technologies are repeated over and over again, and d ...more
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mrs. Mazzucato's "The Entrepreneurial State" added materially to my understanding of how the world works - few reads can boast such result. The State gets hammered in PR and marketing, nevertheless it was and must continue to be the main supporter of innovation in any economy. The State is the only agent powerful (rich & stable) enough and motivated enough (long term) to support decades of expensive, risky research and development needed to find, test and market new technologies; the private ...more
Apr 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Champions of the free market call for the government to play a minimal role in the economy. They see government as useful in setting the conditions, and providing incentives, for private enterprise, and they might allow that government has a limited role in fixing a few things that the market fails to provide, such as roads and pollution cleanups. But essentially the public sector is regarded as fearful, sluggish, and bureaucratic, the enemy, a dead hand on the economy. Dynamism is the result so
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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.” 4 likes
“During a recent visit to the United States, French President François Mitterrand stopped to tour California’s Silicon Valley, where he hoped to learn more about the ingenuity and entrepreneurial drive that gave birth to so many companies there. Over lunch, Mitterrand listened as Thomas Perkins, a partner in the venture capital fund that started Genentech Inc., extolled the virtues of the risk-taking investors who finance the entrepreneurs. Perkins was cut off by Stanford University Professor Paul Berg, who won a Nobel Prize for work in genetic engineering. He asked, ‘Where were you guys in the ’50s and ’60s when all the funding had to be done in the basic science? Most of the discoveries that have fuelled [the industry] were created back then.’ Henderson and Schrage, in the Washington Post (1984)” 2 likes
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