Author: Matt Holyoak
The idea that made Mariana Mazzucato one of the most influential economists in the world came to her in early 2011. It had been three years since the financial crisis of 2008 and, in the UK, the coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had chosen to pursue a fiscal policy of austerity that was forcing councils to cut back public services and leading to a rise of homelessness and crime. “In my neighbourhood after-school clubs, youth centres, public libraries, policing and mental health budgets were all cut, affecting the most vulnerable people in society,” she recalls. “It was very sad.” What particularly infuriated Mazzucato was the prevailing narrative that such cuts were necessary to boost competitiveness and innovation.