Six Years after the Crisis: is a different capitalism possible?

Geoff Mulgan, Chief Executive of Nesta, the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts

Co-presented with the Co-presented with the Sydney Democracy Network and the Graduate School of Government

More than five years after the financial crisis the world is still struggling to make sense of what went wrong and what needs to be done. Geoff Mulgan argues that the roots of the current situation lie in the deep structure of capitalism – and in particular the ways in which markets reward both predatory and creative behaviour. This was recognised by Adam Smith two centuries ago but has repeatedly been forgotten. Crises occur when returns to predatory behaviour rise relative to creative enterprise – as happened in the 2000s. The solutions by contrast have to rein in the predatory side of capitalism and dramatically amplify its creative potential. But, so far, as after past crises, the first efforts have all gone into rebuilding the old status quo – not jumping ahead. Geoff Mulgan sets out what new political settlements might look like – reshaping how the economy is organised, as well as the very nature of government.

Geoff Mulgan

Geoff Mulgan is Chief Executive of Nesta, the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. Previously he was Chief Executive of the Young Foundation, a leading centre for social innovation. Between 1997-2004 he worked in the UK government including as director of the Government’s Strategy Unit and head of policy in the Prime Minister’s office. He was the founder director of the think-tank Demos, and has been an occasional reporter for BBC TV and radio, visiting professor at several universities and adviser to many governments around the world on policy and strategy. He is a director of Big Society Capital, chair of the Studio Schools Trust; co-founder of Action for Happiness; and chair of the Social Innovation Exchange (SIX). Publications include Communication and Control: networks and the new economies of communication (1991); Good and Bad Power (2006); The Art of Public Strategy (2009) and The Locust and the Bee (2013).