Who's doing the most innovating, the public or the private sector? Tonight, you have a chance to hear an economist examine many of the same arguments on this topic that you've likely seen in comment sections across the internet, and to systematically dismantle at least some of them.

"Where do the boldest innovations, with the deepest consequences for society, come from?" the Long Now Foundation asks. "Business leaders, entrepreneurs, and libertarians claim that the private sector leads the way always, and government at best follows by decades and at worst impedes the process with bureaucratic regulations. Mariana Mazzucato proves otherwise."

Mazzucato, an award-winning expert on, she says, the "economics of innovation; finance and economic growth; and the role of the State in modern capitalism," is the author of The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Private vs. Public Sector Myths, one of the Financial Times' best books of 2013.

"Many of the most profound innovations—from the Internet and GPS to nanotech and biotech —had their origin in government programs developed specifically to explore innovations that might eventually attract private sector interest," Mazzucato says.

"Governments can take on multi-decade, slow-payoff, ambitious projects where most businesses cannot. The process works pretty well now. How can it work better?"

Some of Mazzucato's answers to that question, we presume, will be presented tonight.

What: Mariana Mazzucato presents The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Private vs. Public Sector Myths
When: Doors open 7:00 PM, talk at 7:30 PM lasting ~1.5 hours
Where: SFJAZZ Center, 201 Franklin St.
Cost: Tickets are available at the door for $15