The innovation issue is about ‘creative destruction’, often the egregious destruction of viable systems just for the sake of ‘innovation’.
As Michael Lind points out, the fundamental breakthroughs happened earlier…way before the “Steve Jobs” era. They were directly related to government driven research. I would never point to Silicon Valley as a paragon of “innovation.” Most of what comes out of there are just shallow money-making schemes (Uber, AirBNB, etc.). Everybody seems to have some love affair with Google when, in the grand scheme of things, it’s just a search engine. Don’t get me wrong, these products make my life easier, but I’m never going to confuse these with the greatest products of the human mind:
“Apart from a revival of oil and gas production in the U.S., the economy’s main area of comparative strength has been technological innovation. The rise of self-driving vehicles and the “internet of things” are promising developments. But these mostly involve the extension of existing information technology to new sectors. The American tech economy has been living on intellectual capital accumulated before the 1980s, when the Defense Department funded the early breakthroughs in information technology. Compared to earlier breakthroughs like transistors and satellites, most of today’s innovations are trivial and contribute little or nothing either to living standards or national industrial power: “Hey, give me a billion dollars for my app that tells you when to pick up your laundry!””