New book: ‘The Venture Capital State’

The Venture Capital State: The Silicon Valley Model in East Asia.
Robyn Klingler-Vidra, Cornell University Press 2018.

Silicon Valley has become shorthand for a globally acclaimed way to unleash the creative potential of venture capital, supporting innovation and creating jobs. In The Venture Capital State, Robyn Klingler-Vidra traces how and why different states have adopted distinct versions of the Silicon Valley model. Venture capital seeks high rewards but is enveloped in high risk. The author’s deep investigations of venture capital policymaking in East Asian states (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore) show that success does not reflect policymakers’ ability to replicate the Silicon Valley model. Instead, she argues, performance reflects their skill in adapting a highly lauded model to their local context. Policymakers are “contextually rational” in their learning; their context-rooted norms shape their preferences. The normative context for learning about policy—how elites see themselves and what they deem as locally appropriate—informs how they design their efforts. The Venture Capital State offers a novel conceptualization of rationality, bridging diametrically opposed versions of bounded and conventional rationality. This new understanding of rationality is simultaneously fully informed and context based, and it provides a framework by which analysts can bring domestic factors to the very heart of international diffusion of policy. Klingler-Vidra concludes that states have a visible hand in constituting even quintessentially neoliberal markets.