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The public helped fund great tech – what should they get in return?

Mariana Mazzucato, in her book The value of everything:

Yet in presenting themselves as modern-day heroes, and justifying their record profits and cash mountains, Apple and other companies conveniently ignore the pioneering role of government in new technologies. Apple has unashamedly declared that its contribution to society should not be sought through tax but through recognition of its great gizmos. But where did the smart tech behind those gizmos come from? Public funds. The Internet, GPS, touchscreen, SIRI and the algorithm behind Google – all were funded by public institutions. Shouldn‘t the taxpayer thus get something back, beyond a series of undoubtedly brilliant gadgets? Simply to pose this question, however, underlies how we need a radically different type of narrative as to who created the wealth in the first place – and who has subsequently extracted it.

Mazzucato argues we need new stories and new ideas to shape how we think about value, capitalism, and economics. I‘ve only just started her book but she‘s building a strong case.

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