More bogus Solyndra defenses from the left

Is capitalism really incapable of providing the capital to commercialize promising innovations? Isn’t that kinda the whole point of capitalism? If it can’t do that, who needs it? But if you read the Andy Grove piece to which Nocera links, Grove is not arguing that banks do not fund the commercialization of promising innovations (because they are somehow “paralyzed by the financial crisis and don’t understand the economics of solar power”–Nocera’s implausible excuses). Grove argues that we do fund the commercialization of promising innovations but that the commercialization plans indeed involve doing the manufacturing work–and creating all the factory jobs–in China…

Nocera suggests private backers of big “green” energy projects seek government funding because they can’t raise the extra cash. Isn’t it more likely that they seek government funding because one of the big risks they take is the possibility of a change in energy regulation or policy–and a big DOE investment offers some assurance that this won’t happen. It’s an indicator of future government support and protection, a “mandate of heaven,” if you will. These energy deals, in this view, are inherently corporatist–they assume the state will act to favor select business partners.

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