Silicon Valley's innovators have rocked the world, but they were only able to do so because the U.S. government long ago funded basic research and created early markets for their products, argues William Janeway. This doesn't mean that front-line innovators aren't crucial, only that such efforts dating back to railroads and electricity have always fared best when backed by government investment, he writes. "We cannot expect the present generation of techno-philanthropists to replace the agencies of the state," he writes.

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