The recent economic crisis was a dramatic reminder that capitalism can both produce and destroy. It's a system that by its very nature encourages predators and creators, locusts and bees. But, as Geoff Mulgan argues in this compelling, imaginative, and important book, the economic crisis also presents a historic opportunity to choose a radically different future for capitalism, one that maximizes its creative power and minimizes its destructive force.
In an engaging and wide-ranging argument, Mulgan digs into the history of capitalism across the world to show its animating ideas, its utopias and dystopias, as well as its contradictions and possibilities. Drawing on a subtle framework for understanding systemic change, he shows how new political settlements reshaped capitalism in the past and are likely to do so in the future. By reconnecting value to real-life ideas of growth, he argues, efficiency and entrepreneurship can be harnessed to promote better lives and relationships rather than just a growth in the quantity of material consumption. Healthcare, education, and green industries are already becoming dominant sectors in the wealthier economies, and the fields of social innovation, enterprise, and investment are rapidly moving into the mainstream--all indicators of how capital could be made more of a servant and less a master.
This is a book for anyone who wonders where capitalism might be heading next--and who wants to help make sure that its future avoids the mistakes of the past.
Geoff Mulgan is the author of Good and Bad Power (Penguin) and The Art of Public Strategy, among other books. A globally recognized pioneer in the field of social innovation, he was the founder of the think tank Demos and served as director of the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit and director of policy under Tony Blair. He is currently chief executive of the UK's National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts.
"[I]nteresting and thought-provoking."--Frank Dillon, Irish Times
"Geoff Mulgan's The Locust and the Bee is an important contribution to this field."--John Lloyd, Financial Times
"There is much in Mulgan's analysis that will repay careful scrutiny. . . . The Locust and the Bee abounds with arresting observations of this kind and no one will finish the book without having learned something new and important."--John Gray, New Statesman
"Mulgan is my former boss, but that doesn't stop me from saying that what he writes is always rewarding because he intellectually coaxes you into believing--however fleetingly--that a rotten system doesn't have to be this way."--Yvonne Roberts, Observer
"[E]xcellent."--Frank Pasquale, Concurring Opinions
"Geoff Mulgan's extraordinary book strikes a balance between innovative thought and grounded pragmatism and serves as an urgent invitation to discourse--discourse about how we can harness the most inclusive aspects of capitalism and explore new approaches for our shared work of building the common good. Mulgan challenges us to find the best in ourselves and in the systems that provide the hope for human flourishing."--John J. DeGioia, president of Georgetown University
"Geoff Mulgan is a brilliant thinker--lucid, deep, and with a set of clear and progressive values. In this book he brings all his qualities to bear on the question of how we make capitalism productive, responsible, and fair. It should be read by anyone who wants to understand how to create a more equal and just world."--Ed Miliband, MP, leader of the UK Labour Party
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