Opinion | Stop Whining About Big Government

By Kara Swisher

Who leads innovation? If you’re picturing a Silicon Valley billionaire, you’ve got it all wrong, says the economist Mariana Mazzucato.

Ms. Mazzucato — who counts the pope, the billionaire Bill Gates and the U.S. congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among her readers — says governments should act more like venture capitalists, rather than let the private sector hog all the glory and the rewards.

Her message to Elon Musk after he received $5 billion in support from the U.S. government is simple: “Say thank you.”

On this episode of “Sway,” Ms. Mazzucato tells Kara why the 1960s Apollo program proved that bold, empowered governments can solve our biggest problems; how that model might work to tackle challenges like climate change; and why the Covid crisis is the best time to put moon-shot thinking into action.

Thoughts? Email us at [email protected] Transcripts of each episode are available midday.

Special thanks to Shannon Busta and Liriel Higa.

“Sway” is produced by Nayeema Raza, Heba Elorbany, Matt Kwong, Daphne Chen and Vishakha Darbha and edited by Nayeema Raza and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair and Michelle Harris; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; mixing by Erick Gomez.

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