We embraced dysfunctional growth, change course


Welcome to the high-level podcast series run by the UNESCO Inclusive Policy Lab. This series introduces listeners to the world’s leading figures as they discuss how we can reset in a fairer and a smarter way. 


This episode brings Mariana Mazzucato as a guest. Mazzucato is a professor and director at University College London. She is also an influential, bestselling author on public value and the role of the state in shaping markets to solve the grand challenges facing humanity.


In April 2023, Mazzucato joined other thought leaders at the UNESCO MOST Forum in Paris. The key concern was how to tangibly shift societies and economies to finally deliver on the promise of shared prosperity.


Listen to Mazzucato as she says current systems are geared towards the pursuit of dysfunctional – i.e., financialised, consumption-led, climate-damaging – growth. They are also designed to fail, operating in a fixing, patching-up and reactive rather than proactive mode. The current crises are clear lessons for all.  The direction has to change and the systems require re-shaping to fit that purpose.


Mazzucato does not stop at diagnosing problems. She explains that there are concrete levers to be employed in this shift. First, public procurement is a powerful instrument at the disposal of the governments – big and small – that needs to become outcome-oriented as to deliver against common needs, such as green transition or zeroing the digital divide. Second, investments have to be structured around real collective intelligence and reward sharing, rather than extractive relationship between the parties that have been witnessed throughout the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Third, a common good and portfolio mindset in required on the public investment side so that access and rewards are shared as equitably as the risks have been taken.


Have you seen?

The Policy Nerd podcast

Social safety nets catch us in crisis, invest in those

Recast your economic rulebook, deliver for people


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Mariana Mazzucato is a Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London where she is the founding director of the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose. She is the winner of international prizes including the 2020 John von Neumann Award and the 2018 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.


The facts, ideas, and opinions expressed in this video are those of the presenter; they are not necessarily those of UNESCO or any of its partners and stakeholders and do not commit nor imply any responsibility thereof. The designations employed and the presentation of material throughout this piece do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city, or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.