.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sunday, October 31, 2010



Innovation is something that I believe most people can agree is a good thing and helps a society to become more prosperous. The argument on this subject begins when bringing government into the equation. Is more government control beneficial in fostering increased innovation or does it hurt innovation? There are both arguments for and against bigger government but Steven Johnson the author of the article titled “Innovation: It Isn’t a Matter of Left or Right” in The New York Times argues that there is no clear answer.

Johnson argues that there are four types of innovation:
“First, there is the classic solo entrepreneur, protecting innovations in order to benefit from them financially; then the amateur individual, exploring and inventing for the love of it. Then there are the private corporations collaborating on ideas while simultaneously competing with one another. And then there is what I call the “fourth quadrant”: the space of collaborative, nonproprietary innovation, exemplified in recent years by the Internet and the Web, two groundbreaking innovations not owned by anyone.”

I believe that these four distinct categories of innovation that Johnson sites seem to complicate the issue because most instances of innovation probably do not fall into just one of these categories. I believe that using what we have learned in Olson’s book we can conclude that yes the question of more or less government control is still a relevant issue. The more the government is able to use its force, the more entrepreneurs will choose to attempt to rent-seek for profit instead of to innovate and produce. In the case of more government control and its ability to “take” I believe that Olson explained that much effort that would have been used to be productive may be instead directed toward the taking from others and even fighting against technological advance by others. It seems to me that Johnson did not give the issues that Olson discussed the true consideration that they deserve.

Comments: Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?