The Value of Everything

The Value of Everything Who Makes and Who Takes from the Real Economy

A work of tremendous ambition, academic rigor, and originality, The Value of Everything argues that American companies have for too long been valued according to the amount of wealth they capture for themselves rather than for the value they create for the economy. In fact, Pfizer, Amazon, and countless other companies that claim to drive innovation are actually hopelessly dependent on public money, spend their resources on boosting share prices and executive pay, and reap ever-expanding rewards without offering the market real value. Such parasitic behavior is only getting worse: leading American companies are profiting from the redistribution of wealth and knowledge without giving anything back to the communities that have made them so profitable. In her previous groundbreaking and controversial work, The Entrepreneurial State, Mariana Mazzucato argued that public investment has been the most significant driver of innovation and product development. The iPhone as it exists would not have been possible without government-sponsored technology like Siri, GPS, the Internet, and Touch ID. Yet Apple today, like numerous other technology and biotech companies, is engaging in a massive repurchase scheme, and for the first time has prioritized value-extraction practices such as spending to boost shareholder profit and lobbying to diminish the state and its tax policies-the very initiatives that funded their software. If private companies continue down this path, they will succeed in diminishing the size of their largest and most successful investor-the state-and will destroy powerful opportunities, shrivel markets, and depress wealth. The lesson here is urgent and sobering: to rescue our economy from the next, inevitable crisis and foster long-term economic growth, we will need to rethink capitalism, rethink the state rather than downsize it, and redefine how we measure value in our society.
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