1. The computer:
“This came from pure scientific thought, and not at all from an economic need for computing. Business and profit-making played no part in it.”
2. AC power & modern electricity (Nikola Tesla):
“Money does not represent such a value as men have placed upon it. All my money has been invested into experiments with which I have made new discoveries enabling mankind to have a little easier life.”
“Florey believed it would be inappropriate to patent penicillin, but learned his lesson when some of his American collaborators did just that… Florey took no profit for himself.”
“Meucci was recognized as the first inventor of the telephone by the US House.” “[He] was unable to raise sufficient funds to pay for the patent application… In 1861 his cottage was auctioned.”
5. The internet (The government and Tim Berners-Lee).
“Göbel [invented] the first practical bulb… in 1854, a quarter of a century before Edison’s patent.”
Yes, he died penniless too.
“Tesla is now credited with inventing modern radio as well; since the Supreme Court overturned Marconi’s patent in 1943 in favor of Tesla’s earlier patents.”
8. Acceleration of every industry through state funding of science, medicine, and university research.
The point? While some of us love for-profit economics, let’s not exaggerate their role either. At best they tend to succeed after state acceleration of new technologies.