Jeremy Corbyn’s necessary agenda…

Mariana Mazzucato, Professor at University of Sussex and also one of the advisers of Jeremy Corbyn has a piece talking about the phenomenon and the agenda.

Seven economists (including Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Piketty, and me) have agreed to become economic advisers to Jeremy Corbyn, the new leader of the British Labour Party. I hope we will have a shared goal to help Labour shape an economic policy that is investment-led, inclusive, and sustainable. We will bring different ideas to the table, but these are my thoughts on the kind of progressive agenda the United Kingdom – and the rest of the world – now needs.
wealth creation is a collective process and that market outcomes are the product of how these various “wealth creators” interact.

We must drop the false dichotomy of governments versus markets and begin to think more clearly about the market outcomes we want. There is plenty to learn from public investments that were mission-oriented, instead of focused on “facilitating” or “incentivizing” business. Policy should actively shape and create markets, not just fix them when they go wrong.

Indeed, policies traditionally considered “business friendly,” such as tax credits and lower tax rates, can be bad for business in the long run if they limit governments’ future ability to invest in areas that increase innovation-led growth. Likewise, it is time to move on from the debate over austerity to a new conversation about how to build smart, mutually beneficial public-private partnerships to fuel decades of growth.

For starters, we must invest in education, human capital, technology, and research. Massive technological and organizational advances have raised productivity in many sectors. Many (if not most) of these breakthroughs have their origins in publicly funded research. Ensuring future advances will require direct policy interventions and investments in innovation across the entire innovation chain: basic research, applied research, and early-stage company financing.

Moreover, we need more patient, long-term finance. Most existing finance is too speculative and too focused on short-term outcomes. Exit-driven venture capital might be appropriate for gadgets; but technological revolutions have historically required patient, committed public financing. In some countries, like Germany and China, public banks take on this role. In others, the job is done by strategic public agencies.

This also means de-financializing the real economy, which has been overly focused on short-term concerns, so that profits are reinvested into production and research and development, rather than hoarded or spent on share buybacks. Over the last decade, Fortune 500 companies in areas like information technology, pharmaceuticals, and energy have spent more than $3 trillion buying back shares in order to boost stock prices, stock options, and executive pay. Meanwhile, in the United States and Europe alone, companies have hoarded nearly $4 trillion. Companies should be rewarded for reinvesting their profits in production, innovation, and human-capital formation.

Nothing new. Pretty standard stuff. Just that things have become so crazy in economics over the years, that going back to basics is itself a phenomenon.

It will be interesting to see how far Corbyn and his views will go..


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