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Market Myth One

The Market is the only source of innovation and it must be left alone if we want to accelerate technological change

The technological dynamism of the U.S. economy is rooted in networks of scientists and engineers whose research is largely supported by government funding. Many of these researchers also work in public universities or government laboratories. The success of U.S. based corporations is largely a result of their ability to use technological breakthroughs that originated in publicly funded research. The case studies provided below give examples of how some our most familiar new technologies derived directly from public research spending. 

In some of these cases, the government’s role in innovation was even greater than funding initial breakthroughs. With certain technologies, governmental decisions helped private firms overcome obstacles to commercial development of these technologies. 


The Origin of the “Personal” Computer

The Invention of the Laser

The Birth of the Microchip

The Rise of the Internet

The Story of Magnetic Resonance Imagining

The Development of a Key Cancer Drug: Taxol

Unless otherwise indicated, these case studies were written and researched by Athmeya Jayaram.

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