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IAS Lies Public Lecture Series: Myths around the public sector and whose in...

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IAS Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building, UCL

Gower Street

WC1E 6BT

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UCL Institute of Advanced Studies Lies Public Lecture Series

Myths around the public sector and whose interests are served by the underlying lies

Prof Mariana Mazzucato

What conditions breed innovation and entrepreneurship? Most people seem to agree that the state playing a large role in the economy is not one of them. Indeed, burdensome government bureaucracy is typically juxtaposed in opposition to the ambitious, risk-taking entrepreneurs who have driven the technological revolution of the past few decades, and now operate the world’s largest and most dynamic corporations. There is no Silicon Valley in Europe, so the argument goes, because Europe lacks America’s free market capitalism and minimal state intervention. This assumption, says Mariana Mazzucato, is not only factually wrong but dangerous for the future of innovation and increases inequality. The false dichotomy between “the public sector” and “the private sector” leaves out the vital role that government has played – and must continue to play – in acting as financial backer and risk-taker in the most important innovations of our time that can help tackle the grand challenges facing us. Furthermore the lie ends up causing a situation by which risks are socialised while returns are privatised.

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Mariana Mazzucato is Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL), and Director of UCL's Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose. Her work is focused on the economics of innovation; patient finance; economic growth and the role of the State in modern capitalism. She advises policy makers around the world on how to achieve economic growth that is more innovation-led, inclusive and sustainable. Her 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 clean-tech — and the implications for future innovation and for achieving public-private partnerships that are more symbiotic. In 2016 she co-edited a book called Rethinking Capitalism: Economics and Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth focusing on the need for new economic thinking to drive more effective economic policies. Her new book The Value of Everything, coming out in April 2018, looks at the need to revisit the difference between value creation and value extraction, and the problems that arise when one is confused with the other.

The IAS Lies Public Lecture Series is part of our 2017-18 research theme Lies and is generously supported by Mishcon de Reya's Mishcon Academy.


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IAS Common Ground, Ground Floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building, UCL

Gower Street

WC1E 6BT

United Kingdom

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