Rethinking the State

A conversation with Mariana Mazzucato about the post-COVID reset, public value, and reinventing the state

  
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For this new episode of the “Building Bridges” podcast, I’m happy to share the conversation I had with Professor Mariana Mazzucato.

Mariana is a professor at University College London in Economics of Innovation and Public Value and she founded (and directs) their Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP), which she talks about in this podcast.

Her book The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths was published in 2013, and was translated into many languages. It was (finally) also translated into French and released in France in September 2020 (L'État entrepreneur : Pour en finir avec l'opposition public-privé, Fayard).

The Entrepreneurial State, as well as her most recent The Value of Everything: making and taking in the global economy feel more relevant than ever in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. Indeed, public services (in particular health services) were put under strain in this crisis while their “value” was made more obvious to all.

Most governments are now spending on a massive scale to save industries and mitigate the economic consequences of several lockdowns. Mazzucato argues there should be no more “free lunches” (public debt / privatised gains). Governments should use this opportunity to position their economies for a more sustainable future.

Here’s what she wrote recently in a Foreign Affairs article titled “Capitalism After the Pandemic”:

“For too long, governments have socialized risks but privatized rewards: the public has paid the price for cleaning up messes, but the benefits of those cleanups have accrued largely to companies and their investors. In times of need, many businesses are quick to ask for government help, yet in good times, they demand that the government step away.”

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(Credits: Franz Liszt, Mephisto Waltz, S.514-extract from the album Miroirs by Jonas Vitaud, NoMadMusic.)