Note — Oct 13, 2019

This Economist Has a Plan to Fix Capitalism

Longread about Mariana Mazzucato and her work on publicly supported innovation, and some of the projects she has participated in, including Ocasio-Cortez’ Green New Deal, which was news to me. I’ve linked to Mazzucato’s thinking before but it’s very much worth a read for a more detailed look at her vision for “mission-oriented organisations” and how this has brought about new programs in the UK and Europe. (Read this approach of publicly minded missions in parallel (opposition even) with the techno determinism below and the irresponsible creation of addictive software after that.)

If it was the state, not the private sector, which had traditionally assumed the risks of uncertain technological enterprises that led to the development of aviation, nuclear energy, computers, nanotechnology, biotechnology and the internet, how were we going to find the next wave of technologies to tackle urgent challenges such as catastrophic climate change, the epidemic of antibiotic resistance, the rise of dementia? […]

“The reason progressives often lose the argument is that they focus too much on wealth redistribution and not enough on wealth creation,” she says. “We need a progressive narrative that’s not only about spending, but investing in smarter ways.” […]

“When I use the word ‘state’ I am talking about a decentralised network of different state agencies,” she says. When such agencies are mission-oriented to solve problems and structured to take risks, they can be an engine of innovation.” […]

“Get the language right,” Mazzucato told Ocasio-Cortez. “Otherwise, you’re just going to be a nice social democratic, boring lefty politician.” […]

In May, the European Parliament voted and approved Mazzucato’s mission-oriented proposal for the Horizon Europe programme. After a lengthy consultation period, five mission areas were chosen: adaptation to climate change; cancer; healthy oceans, seas, coastal and inland waters; climate-neutral and smart cities; and soil health and food.