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L’état créatif

LONDRES – La vision la plus courante dans la théorie économique contemporaine dominante veut que l’État soit peu en mesure de susciter l’innovation. L’État devrait intervenir le moins possible dans l’économie, selon la théorie, uniquement dans les cas où le marché échoue. Tout cela est peu vraisemblable.

En fait, l’État peut jouer un rôle essentiel dans la dynamisation de l’innovation – créant activement de nouveaux marchés, au lieu de seulement les réparer. Évidemment, les partisans d’un rôle économique limité de l’État estiment que l’échec du marché justifie une certaine forme de financement pour les infrastructures et la recherche scientifique de base. Mais de telles interventions limitées peuvent difficilement expliquer les milliards de dollars du secteur public versés en aval vers la recherche appliquée, assurant même le financement de départ de sociétés. En fait, dans certains des plus grands pôles d’innovation mondiale, l’État a joué un rôle « d’entrepreneur » prépondérant, imaginant et finançant la création de champs de recherche entièrement nouveaux, des technologies de l’information à la biotechnologie, de la nanotechnologie aux technologies vertes. 

Dans la Silicon Valley, par exemple, l’État a agi comme investisseur stratégique par l’entremise d’un réseau décentralisé d’institutions publiques : l’agence gouvernementale DARPA pour le financement des projets de recherche avancée, la NASA, le programme SBIR pour l’innovation des PME la National Science Foundation.

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