A few weeks ago I got published with an article I wrote about the role governments can and cannot play in stimulating innovation. I responded to a piece that Rutger Bregman posted for the De Correspondent about the biggest inventor and innovator in the world: the government. He claims that governments are responsible for all major technological breakthroughs in the past 100 years and that they are the ultimate venture capitalists. The government should take a stronger role as a technological innovator at the expense of the free market.
Much of the literature on venture capital (VC) policies is inspired by the success of a handful highly visible companies such as Microsoft, Compaq, Intel, Google, and Apple. These companies, nowadays, are huge and extremely powerful, but at some point in their development they had to resort to VC. These companies are, of course, the envy of many countries – who wouldn’t want to have such firms flourishing in his or her country?
Working at the Ministry of Finance in the Hague was a very pleasant and rewarding experience, despite the lengthy daily train journeys. I worked in a directorate with young people, who helped me enormously with my research. I have been there for over 4 fulltime months. At the beginning I had no real clue about venture capitalism aside from a general understanding of its mechanisms, let alone about public policies that optimally support venture capital investments.