Monday, December 23, 2019

#357 / Leftish

That is Mariana Mazucato, above, described by The New York Times as a "leftish economist." Mazucato describes herself as follows: 

I am a Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL), and Founder/Director of UCL's Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose. My work is focused on the relationship between innovation and the direction of growth, with emphasis on rethinking the public sector’s role to ensure growth is more innovation-led, inclusive and sustainable. I work with global leaders on ‘mission oriented’ policies, which can steer solutions towards grand challenges from the battle against climate warming to building resilient health systems. My 2013 book, The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths, looks at the ‘investor of first resort’ role that the State has played in the history of technological change — from the Internet to biotech— and the lessons for a Green New Deal. In 2016 I co-edited the book Rethinking Capitalism: Economics and Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth focussed on new economic thinking to drive more effective economic policies. My 2018 book, The Value of Everything: making and taking in the global economy, brings the debate about value back to the heart of economics, so to ensure we are rewarding value creation over value extraction and destruction.

In The Times' story about Mazucato, which appears on the front page of the "Sunday Business" section on December 1, 2019, Mazucato says that "the left is losing around the world because they focus too much on redistribution and not enough of the creation of wealth." Her analysis urges an "Entrepreneurial State," and complains about the "free-market wisdom that cutting public budgets spurs economic growth." In fact, she says, "there's been kind of a strange symbiosis between mainstream economic thinking and stupid policies."

I haven't read any of Mazucato's many books, but I like what she says in the article in The Times. Is there really "a symbiosis between mainstream economic thinking and stupid policies?" Is it really true that "the state," meaning the governmental institutions that have the potential, and mission, to represent us all, collectively, are really better innovators than those motivated by selfishly directed and individualistic materialism?

I think I can buy that. Color me convinced!

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