Via Naked Capitalism: What the Steve Jobs Movie Won’t Tell You About Apple’s Success (excerpts)
Everything you can do with an iPhone was government-funded. From the Internet that allows you to surf the Web, to GPS that lets you use Google Maps, to touch screen display and even the SIRI voice activated system —all of these things were funded by Uncle Sam through the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), NASA, the Navy, and even the CIA!
We see the new Steve Jobs film, which is based on a 600-page book, where not one word mentions any of the public funding behind Apple’s empire. But the real iPhone story — or the story behind biotechnology — reveals a very different narrative in which government-funded research made the most exciting innovations possible.
Economists argue that the government gets that upside through taxes paid by the companies benefiting from the investments; and by economic growth, which should generate higher tax receipts more broadly; and also through the spillovers from the investment into other areas, which helps the economy. But those mechanisms are limited, because of decreased corporate tax rates (and abundant loopholes), as well as the fall in what the top 1 percent pays [its workers, compared to what they pay themselves — not to mention, the offshoring of manufacturing jobs to China].
One commenter noted: One huge area of government inaction/non-participation that is a key to success of apple in the 21st century is the change to lax enforcement of anti-trust. Apple would be nowhere had it not had such easy time with retail price maintenance and vertical integration of its distribution, allowing for previously unimaginable profitability from such a sparse lineup of products. All its competitors whose previous success relied upon what then was the normal retail environment could not because of “legacy” commitments meet the challenge and were caught asleep as well. Apple’s success owes a lot to the legal environment, design (as in looks), extremely well controlled marketing/sales. Technology of Apple is he most overrated component.
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