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116 Mariana Mazzucato: Mission Economy

Capitalism can be transformed to address society’s most pressing challenges by pursuing “missions” through collaborative innovation and strategic public investment.

Mariana Mazzucato: Mission Economy


In "Mission Economy," economist Mariana Mazzucato argues that capitalism is failing to address society's most pressing challenges, including climate change, public health, and inequality. She proposes a new approach to economic policy that centers on "missions" to tackle these challenges through collaborative innovation and strategic public investment. Mazzucato provides detailed case studies of successful mission-oriented policies, from the Apollo program to the Human Genome Project, and argues that these efforts can drive economic growth while also serving the public interest. She also addresses the role of the private sector and the need for more inclusive and democratic decision-making in mission-oriented policies.


Title: Mission Economy: A Moonshot Guide to Changing Capitalism

Author: Mariana Mazzucato

Year of publication: 2021

Publisher: Allen Lane

Length in hours: 6 hours and 45 minutes

5 main ideas

  1. Missions can transform capitalism: Mazzucato argues that missions, or ambitious goals aimed at addressing societal challenges, can be used to transform capitalism from a system that prioritizes short-term profits to one that serves the public interest. Missions require collaborative innovation across sectors and strategic public investment.
  2. Government has a critical role to play: Mazzucato emphasizes the importance of government in driving mission-oriented policies. She argues that government can play a strategic role in setting the direction of innovation and investment, and in ensuring that benefits are distributed equitably.
  3. Public-private partnerships can be effective: Mazzucato highlights the potential of public-private partnerships in driving mission-oriented policies. She argues that these partnerships can bring together the strengths of both sectors, and that effective partnerships require careful negotiation and management.
  4. Inclusive decision-making is essential: Mazzucato emphasizes the need for inclusive and democratic decision-making in mission-oriented policies. She argues that these efforts must involve a diverse range of stakeholders and prioritize transparency and accountability.
  5. Case studies provide valuable lessons: Mazzucato provides detailed case studies of successful mission-oriented policies, including the Apollo program and the Human Genome Project. She argues that these case studies can provide valuable lessons for policymakers and entrepreneurs seeking to drive mission-oriented policies today.
Mariana Mazzucato: Mission Economy

5 funny quotes

  1. "Sometimes it seems like the only thing economists can agree on is that other economists are wrong."
  2. "No one has a crystal ball. But we do have data, analysis, and a little bit of magic."
  3. "Economics is a discipline that is much better at predicting the past than the future."
  4. "The best way to predict the future is to create it. And that means setting bold missions and working together to achieve them."
  5. "The future is full of uncertainty. But that doesn't mean we can't plan for it."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "Missions are not just good for society: they are good for the economy too. It is time for a mission-oriented approach to capitalism."
  2. "To imagine a different future, we need to change the way we think about the economy."
  3. "A successful mission-oriented approach requires embracing failure as an inevitable part of the innovation process."
  4. "The economy is a complex and adaptive system that requires purposeful direction to ensure it is oriented towards solving societal challenges."
  5. "The future we create depends on the choices we make today, and the missions we set ourselves."

5 dilemmas

  1. Balancing the need for innovation with the potential risks and unintended consequences that can come with it.
  2. Deciding which societal challenges to focus on and which solutions to pursue.
  3. Addressing the tension between short-term economic goals and long-term societal goals.
  4. Managing the role of government in setting and achieving missions, while also allowing for private sector innovation.
  5. Ensuring that missions are inclusive and equitable, and don't leave behind certain groups or communities.

5 examples

  1. The United States' mission to land a man on the moon, led by President John F. Kennedy and NASA administrator James Webb.
  2. The development of the internet, spearheaded by researchers like Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn, and Tim Berners-Lee.
  3. The Human Genome Project, which was led by scientists Francis Collins and Craig Venter.
  4. Germany's Energiewende, a national effort to transition to renewable energy sources, championed by Chancellor Angela Merkel.
  5. The Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, which funds research into tackling diseases like malaria and tuberculosis, led by Bill and Melinda Gates.

Referenced books

  1. "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism" by Shoshana Zuboff
  2. "The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties" by Paul Collier
  3. "Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist" by Kate Raworth
  4. "The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses" by Eric Ries
  5. "Capital in the Twenty-First Century" by Thomas Piketty

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"To imagine a different future, we need to change the way we think about the economy."

Mariana Mazzucato: Mission Economy
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