Patents Over Planning: Industrial Capital & Postwar Innovation Policy with Dan Traficonte
Gregory Hargreaves interviews Dan Traficonte about his research into federal programs for technology development and their relationship with private industrial interests. In support of his project, Traficonte, a PhD candidate in urban studies & planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, received an exploratory research grant from the Center for the History of Business, Technology, & Society.
During the twentieth century, the United States federal government emerged as a global leader in the research and development of advanced technologies. Should the public retain patent rights to the innovations made with public money? Debate over this question roiled the business and industrial community, as 1930s-era kneejerk antipathy to state involvement gave way to eager cooperation with the state in the postwar period, before lapsing once more into antipathy from the 1980s. Meanwhile, private contractors have made fortunes by assuming proprietorship of technologies developed by NASA, DARPA, and other federal innovation agencies.