Public Venture Capital: The Secret Life of US Science Policy
The U.S. has a knowledge-based industrial policy, a specific role for the federal government in creating and developing industries and jobs, beyond general measures to encourage economic health such as regulating the supply of money and credit. More specific than macro-economic policy for the entire economy, industrial policy is also broader than a measure cloaked in general principles to aid a particular company. When industrial policy is defined as, ‘...a nation’s declared, official, total effort to influence sectoral development,’ an American industrial development program may be difficult to recognize (Graham, 1992). While the very idea of government providing ‘seed capital’ to initiate new firms is anathema to some, a ‘public venture capital’ strategy can be discerned in post-war U.S. science policy.