Even before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, capitalism was stuck. It had no answers to a host of problems, including disease, inequality, the digital divide and, perhaps most blatantly, the environmental crisis. Taking her inspiration from the 'moonshot' programmes which successfully co-ordinated public and private sectors on a massive scale, Mariana Mazzucato calls for the same level of boldness and experimentation to be applied to the biggest problems of our time. We must, she argues, rethink the capacities and role of government within the economy and society, and above all recover a sense of public purpose. Mission Economy, whose ideas are already being adopted around the world, offers a way out of our impasse to a more optimistic future.
Mariana Mazzucato (PhD) is a Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL), where she is the Founding Director of the UCL Institute for Innovation & Public Purpose (IIPP). She is a winner of international prizes including the 2020 John Von Neumann Award, the 2019 All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values and the 2018 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. She was named as one of the '3 most important thinkers about innovation' by the New Republic and one of the 25 leaders shaping the future of capitalism by Wired. Her highly acclaimed book The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs. Private Sector Myths (2013) investigates the critical role the state plays in driving growth and her book The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy (2018) looks at how value creation needs to be rewarded over value extraction. She advises policymakers around the world on innovation-led inclusive and sustainable growth. Her current roles include being a member of the Scottish Government's Council of Economic Advisors; the South African President's Economic Advisory Council; the OECD Secretary General's Advisory Group on a New Growth Narrative; and the UN's Committee for Development Policy (CDP). Through her role as Special Advisor for the EC Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, she authored the high impact report on Mission-Oriented Research & Innovation in the European Union, turning "missions" into a crucial new instrument in the European Commission's Horizon innovation programme.
"One of the most influential economists in the world"
"The case for a new approach is overwhelming and Mariana Mazzucato's project is ambitious [...] Mission Economy injects the kind of vision, ambition and imagination so desperately missing from government today [...] All those in favour of a better future – of prosperity that is broadly shared, first class public services to be enjoyed by all, and a solution to the climate crisis – should read this book."
– Tom Kibasi, The Guardian
"One of the most agile thinkers on post-Brexit, post-COVID Britain."
– Alex Brummer, Daily Mail
"a wider and more radical critique of modern capitalism [...] Mazzucato is a fantastic example of a charismatic policy entrepreneur having a real impact [...] Mazzucato rightly shows that the state can rise to grand challenges and set ambitious missions."
– David Willetts, Research Professional News
"A timely and optimistic vision [...] Mazzucato presents her arguments so simply and clearly that they can seem obvious. In fact, they are revolutionary. Rethinking the role of government nationally and in the international economy – to put public purpose first and solve the problems that matter to people – are now the central questions for humanity"
– Jayati Ghosh, Nature
"In Mission Economy Mariana Mazzucato argues that societies ought to abjure tired ideologies and embrace the policy approach that put astronauts on the Moon. By setting grand missions for themselves, she writes, and deploying the power of the state in practical ways, they can become more prosperous and equitable [...] Mazzucato is an Italian-born economist of a heterodox bent, whose work has long challenged standard economic thinking about the role of markets and government in generating innovation [...] compelling [...] arresting"
"Mazzucato's new book criticises the narrowness of the philosophy that says the only role for government is to correct "market failures", stepping in when the private sector cannot deliver adequately by itself [...] Mission Economy argues for a more agile, flexible public sector, free to adapt to changing circumstances and new challenges. Mazzucato advocates institutional innovation and citizen engagement in the setting of missions and challenges."
– Diane Coyle, Prospect
"Mazzucato's solution is to redesign capitalism in the interests of stakeholders rather than shareholders, and to reshape the relationship between government and the state as a "mission economy". Civil servants should be active, not passive [...] Britain and America, she believes, need to abandon the neoliberal belief in minimalist government that merely regulates the market and lets the private sector drive innovation."
– Emma Duncan, The Times
"In her new book, Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism, she argues that the state must lead the way [...] Mazzucato is particularly good on the dubious benefits of outsourcing government functions to management consultants and other carpetbaggers."
– Peter Franklin, UnHerd
"Mazzucato's [...] boldness and long-term vision [...] argues Western market-led capitalism has failed. Years of privatising state-owned companies and outsourcing essential services, she says, have left governments weakened without benefitting society or saving taxpayers' money [...] Governments, economist Mariana Mazzucato contends, should now channel the same spirit and back bold goals to improve the planet and society."
– Lisa Jucca, Reuters