The Locust and the Bee: Predators and Creators in Capitalism's Future

Princeton University Press
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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.

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About the author

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.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Princeton University Press
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Published on
Feb 27, 2013
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Pages
344
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ISBN
9781400846658
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Business & Economics / Economics / General
Business & Economics / Economics / Theory
Political Science / History & Theory
Political Science / Public Policy / Economic Policy
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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A new field of collective intelligence has emerged in the last few years, prompted by a wave of digital technologies that make it possible for organizations and societies to think at large scale. This “bigger mind”—human and machine capabilities working together—has the potential to solve the great challenges of our time. So why do smart technologies not automatically lead to smart results? Gathering insights from diverse fields, including philosophy, computer science, and biology, Big Mind reveals how collective intelligence can guide corporations, governments, universities, and societies to make the most of human brains and digital technologies.

Geoff Mulgan explores how collective intelligence has to be consciously organized and orchestrated in order to harness its powers. He looks at recent experiments mobilizing millions of people to solve problems, and at groundbreaking technology like Google Maps and Dove satellites. He also considers why organizations full of smart people and machines can make foolish mistakes—from investment banks losing billions to intelligence agencies misjudging geopolitical events—and shows how to avoid them.

Highlighting differences between environments that stimulate intelligence and those that blunt it, Mulgan shows how human and machine intelligence could solve challenges in business, climate change, democracy, and public health. But for that to happen we’ll need radically new professions, institutions, and ways of thinking.

Informed by the latest work on data, web platforms, and artificial intelligence, Big Mind shows how collective intelligence could help us survive and thrive.

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. This edition of The Locust and the Bee includes a new afterword in which the author lays out some of the key challenges facing capitalism in the twenty-first century.

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