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Summary

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Value of Everything by Mariana Mazzucato, read by Amy Finegan. 

Who really creates wealth in our world? And how do we decide the value of what they do? At the heart of today's financial and economic crisis is a problem hiding in plain sight. 

In modern capitalism, value extraction is rewarded more highly than value creation: the productive process that drives a healthy economy and society. From companies driven solely to maximise shareholder value to astronomically high prices of medicines justified through big pharma's 'value pricing', we misidentify taking with making and have lost sight of what value really means. Once a central plank of economic thought, this concept of value - what it is, why it matters to us - is simply no longer discussed. 

Yet, argues Mariana Mazzucato in this penetrating and passionate new book, if we are to reform capitalism - radically to transform an increasingly sick system rather than continue feeding it - we urgently need to rethink where wealth comes from. Which activities create it, which extract it, which destroy it? Answers to these questions are key if we want to replace the current parasitic system with a type of capitalism that is more sustainable, more symbiotic - that works for us all. The Value of Everything will reignite a long-needed debate about the kind of world we really want to live in.

©2018 Mariana Mazzucato (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

What listeners say about The Value of Everything

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    4 out of 5 stars

Essential reading to build a better economic system

A clever book that looks beyond political ideologies and away from polarised debates on private versus public - to the very heart of what determines how well the economic system serves all of us. By redefining value and what is valuable to us the entire system can be realigned to better serve everyone and achieve fair, inclusive and sustainable growth for all.

Most of the book traces the history of how value has been defined and redefined since the industrial revolution and then moves on to an in depth critique of how our current value definitions lead to rent seeking and value extraction rather than value creation across different parts of the economy. This is highly detailed academic prose and can be challenging to follow at times, but is rewarding and insightful.

The end of the book offers hope and a vision for the future on how simply redefining value can lead to a revolutionary shift in our global economy to one that will better serve all of humanity.

2 people found this helpful

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Valuable!

This book answered a lot of questions about how the modern economy operates and also served as a useful way to gain an understanding of the evolution of this area through various figures, without requiring a great deal of initial study. Its also pretty easy to understanding for a book in this area.

A greater understanding of how value is extracted from people, companies and the economy is certainly needed. Only recently I was shocked that a friend was about to take a loan at 50% APR, even though they are not really that bad a risk. And had VCs not sold the company I work for it would have gone under before much longer, starved of resources.

It is neither left wing or right wing to want an economy less prone to 'rent seeking' as the book goes over. The complexity of the financial and economic system means there are huge numbers of ways to twist the system to do that. Most likely the job of trying to steer the system in favour of valuable end products and results will be a long one and never end.

It is to some degree a moral question, for example do I seek to gain a patent simply to prevent anyone else working in this area, rather than to protect a legitimate invention? Do I sell houses to people with rip off lease hold contracts where the rent doubles every few years, just to make a higher profit? Will I fail to fix a problem with a car, knowing that it is dangerous and people will die as a result because I don't want to pay for a recall?

I think the author has done a great job researching and bringing these aspects to light and suggesting how things can work better and I am quite certain that we can do better economically with more thought and action in this area.

5 people found this helpful

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Naive but valuable

A bit naive in its overt social democratic ‘make capitalism work again’ approach, but still a very valuable contribution to a massively important topic.

1 person found this helpful

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Hard but hugely stimulating.

Fascinating account of how we got here (up sh*t creek) but she has a great design for a paddle.

3 people found this helpful

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A very interesting and thought provoking book.

The book begins with some philosophical discussions about value creating activities in an economy versus rent seeking and how the emphasis of policy makers should be on increasing investment in value creation. Then, the author argues that the world of finance as it is now is more involved in rent seeking rather than value creating and that the governments around the world should curb finance's rent seeking and play a bolder role in long term value creating investment.

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Great read, awful narrator

Why do publishers inflict this in audio? Especially on an audience like the UK, why not Peter Nobel, Ric Jerom, Jonathan Kebble, Simon Vance, Stephen Fry, Jeremy Irons, Kate Winslet, Emma Thompson or any actor able to emote and speak in a clear variable intonation about a clearly interesting topic? So many books it's the same bottom line of thought: that it's cheaper to have one narrator so UK can just be shelled out the American one! But it makes it like getting through mud to me. The author, Mazuccato, speaking would be better even because normal people vary their voice which would be more interesting than Ms Roboto here.

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Food for thought

Very interesting!! A challenge to meanstrem economics. I think it should be read by everyone interested in economics

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good oversight a bit plain

Loved authors view and proposals
Accretive exposure of current value philosophy
Overall good performance
Eloquent and contagious

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Thought Provoking although a bit repetitive

Very good expose on the difference between value creation and value extraction, and how current political
pixies have led us down the wrong path, resulting in ever increasing wealth inequality, and undervalued public services.
Perhaps labours the point a bit too much at times, but it is difficult to argue with the logic or the conclusions.

1 person found this helpful

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Extremely Boring

I must say it's one of the most boring books I listened recently. Basically the author tries to sell basic economic ideas with left leaning narrative and connect it to the economists of the past without any logical connection.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Eloa
  • 17-04-21

great content, terrible to navigate audiobook

audible, please, add table of contents to the audiobooks! very hard to navigate!
not nice experience.