Peter Garritano
January 3, 2019 6:05 AM EST

Isaacson, a former editor of TIME and a professor at Tulane University, is the author of The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race, to be published in March. After the Pfizer vaccine was approved, he opted to remain in the clinical trial and has not yet been “unblinded.”

For the past 50 years, the rational exuberance of the American economy has been propelled by the combination of three innovations: the computer, the microchip and the Internet. The research and development that produced each came from a triangular alliance of government, academia and private business.

This tripartite machine of government working with universities and private corporations was not merely a random array with each group pursuing its own aims. Instead, during and after World War II, the three groups had been purposely fused into an innovation triangle.

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This appears in the January 14, 2019 issue of TIME.

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