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The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  1,069 ratings  ·  137 reviews
Modern economies reward activities that extract value rather than create it. This must change to insure a capitalism that works for us all.

In this scathing indictment of our current global financial system, The Value of Everything rigorously scrutinizes the way in which economic value has been determined and reveals how the difference between value creation and value extra
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Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 11th 2018 by PublicAffairs
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Daniel Wei-hsuan It's not an easy read, but it's a rewarding read and you will feel like you learned a lot about the history of economics through the book.

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Mehrsa
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must-read for finance people and economists. This is an excellent history of bad ideas and theories in economics. Most especially, about how the government got removed and discounted as a creator of value. In fact, government investments create much of the value that the market uses and builds upon. When people think about government investments, they think about Solyndra. Mazzucato asks us to consider Tesla and the smartphone and the internet and all of the foundational modern technologies an ...more
Dan
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mazzucato's observations and conclusions won't surprise readers who've read more than one or two works of contemporary critical theory. But the fact that she is writing in a different register and for a largely different audience matters a great deal in this case, and I found the book very rewarding (and even rather moving in her concluding call for an "economics of hope").
Daniel
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Capitalism has a problem - and that is to confuse price with value. So not only we think a $6 apple must be nicer than a $2 one, we also think that someone earning $100k must be better than one earning $60k etc. Firms are also told to only maximise shareholder returns (a.k.a. ever lower Price/earning ratios), so they dutifully increase revenue (raise price), cut costs (outsource and sack staff). To boost stock price, they also buy back shares to decrease the number of outstanding stocks. Not onl ...more
Tony Philpin
Jul 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Mariana is a post Keynesian, hence relies on observations of actual economic behaviour rather than doctrine and illogical theoretical assumptions (as did Keynes in his writings) and some of this book follows Keynes' discussions in his General Theory. She debunks the classicists in a comparable fashion. It is refreshingly entertaining writing.
The whole book is readable, and is a logical sequel to her previous 'entrepreneurial state', developing similar themes.
The chapters on theory of value do n
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Tom Gagne
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
I heard an interview with the author on the Brian Lehrer show. Her perspective on "value" leans a little more socialist than mine, but it's healthy to read opinions different from your own.

Certainly, her opinions are different than mine, though I can hear echoes of her opinions in comments made by President Obama, Secretary Hillary Clinton, and Senator Bernie Sanders.

The book strikes me as a little too idealistic, imagining government and society as a Disney movie, where all the critters chirp
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Charles J
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have long known in my gut that usual measures of social wealth, most of all GDP, are fraudulent, in that they falsely identify value where there is none. I have intuited we were all being lied to, and that those who assured us that ever more value was being generated by our society by what appear to be objectively valueless activities were, at best, hiding something. This outstanding book, by left-wing economist Mariana Mazzucato, explains what is being hidden, what hard truths are being avoid ...more
Louis
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was ok
A very disappointing book. Since it was billed as a refreshing alternative to free market capitalism, I was excited to see an academic take on what sustainable left-leaning policies look like, rather than the typical left-wing media take that relies heavily on moral obligations but fails to offer practical alternatives.

Mazzucato does offer a plausible criticism of modern economics (although I have little experience with economics so am not in much of a position to criticise) - the role of value
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Maciej Nowicki
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
The value of everything by Mariana Mazzucato is about value creation and value extraction, making versus taking, which is a subtitle of the book. We currently have corporate governance structures which are very much not just aimed at short-termism but actually very much centred around extracting value. The book talks about particular practices of value extraction, for example, the increasing practice of just buying back your own shares to boost your share price or options and, unsurprisingly, ex ...more
John  Mihelic
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mazzucato is one of the most interesting economists working today. I say this because her project in the last two books focus on a ground-up redetermination of what is important in the economy. To someone like me, who is interested in the social generation and distribution of resources but who think that policy makers went the wrong way in recent years (especially before 2008, see Bernanke to Friedman: “Let me end my talk by abusing slightly my status as an official representative of the Federal ...more
Richard Thompson
I wanted to like this book. I thought that Mazzucato had her heart in the right place. I kept hoping that she was going to deliver a new theory of value that was going take us into value's Copernican universe so that both the old discredited labor theory of value and the Neoclassical idea that value is a function of demand would look like the Ptolemaic epicycles of value theory. But she didn't. She seems to be saying that value is a function of overall social utility. Fair enough. But then she d ...more
Jeff Kaye
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a follow-up to the Entrepreneurial State and is a consideration of how the public sector should be shown to be adding economic value rather than being seen as a drain on the economy.

This is done via an analysis of rent seekers in the 21st C like banks that have taken over from land owners in their rent-seeking capacity.

It then reviews the concepts of the previous book - how government adds value to research and risk-taking to enable companies in the private sector to stand on their shou
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Jason Harrop
Sep 19, 2018 rated it liked it
The author does a good job of drawing attention to the evils of rent seeking behaviour. Parasites!

Although I agree there is a role for government in encouraging innovation, the author overstates government's contribution. This claim is stated repeatedly, but never treated in any depth.

The government invented the Internet? It would have been interesting to discuss the great man theory of invention.

In asserting government should get a larger share of the spoils, she ignores its take via tax. In th
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Mike O'Brien
May 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must read!

"While wealth is created through a collective effort, the massive imbalance in the distribution of the gains from economic growth has often been more the result of wealth extraction, whose potential scale globalization has greatly magnified...

I will argue that the way the word ‘value’ is used in modern economics has made it easier for value-extracting activities to masquerade as value-creating activities. And in the process rents (unearned income) get confused with profits (earned in
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Romilly
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I fear that confirmation bias makes me a poor judge; the author articulates and explains what I have been feeling for years.

She's a respected economist and writes accessibly. If you feel that something may be wrong with our rulers' views on the nature of value, read this book .
Darren Chuah
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am punching above my intellectual bag with this read as i find it rather academic and theoretical. First half recapitulation of history and theories of economic thinkers was rather dry but it gets really good on the second half. This book confronts the future viability of capitalism and author is being very bold in inviting the paradigm shift of mindset in the definition of value and wealth creation. Tech Companies, Financial traders, rapacious lenders, and property flippers are being bashed r ...more
Justin Evans
Jul 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An excellent argument for the relativity of 'value,' made from the perspective of an economist rather than a critical theorist. How do we calculate economic growth? In short, we include things made by private businesses, and exclude the work--'economic' or otherwise--of those who are not being employed by private businesses. Once you've done that, it's pretty easy to claim that tax cuts for the rich are the only ways to increase growth. Of course, once you recognize this, you should recognize th ...more
Jesper Döpping
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Easy read with a strong argument for re-instating value as a key concern

I bought this book because I read the entrepreneurial state. This book in my opinion in a very easy to understand way for non-economists argues that we have to return to a much more basic question - the question of value creation, what is it and what is it not?

The book starts with a theory historical perspective that are incredible easy to understand on how value have been conceptualized. This theory perspective gives a cle
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Daniel Wei-hsuan
Apr 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
The economy might as well be a self full-filling prophecy machine, "How we discuss value affects the way all of us, from giant corporations to the most modest shopper, behave as actors in the economy and in turn feeds back into the economy, and how we measure its performance." This book has demonstrated the importance of how we perceive and narrate "value" in our lives because our every little thought counts and they eventually feed back into the system to determine both the "price" and "value" ...more
Praveen
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mariana Mazzucato's The Value Of Everything - Making And Taking in The Global Economy. discuss on the distinction between value extraction and value creation which have far reaching consequences to the companies , their workers and beyond all in the whole societies. The social , economic and political impacts of value extraction are huge. Because in the modern capitalistic world value extractors get rewarded more than the value creators.

Capitalisim rewards "rent seekers" over true "wealth Creat
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Henrik Warne
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book poses very interesting questions: What does creating value mean? Who is making, and who is taking?

The first few chapters detail the history of economics from the perspective of value creation. The central problem is where to draw the production boundary – activities inside it create value, whereas activities outside it do not. The ideas from many famous economists, such as Adam Smith, David Ricardo and Karl Marx, are explained. Typically agriculture and manufacturing were placed inside
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A Man Called Ove
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Q - What is GDP ?
A - It is the monetary VALUE of all finished goods and services made within a country during a specific period.
Q - What is Value ?
A - Read this book :P
What activities add "value" to an economy ? Do all activities that have monetary value create wealth or do some merely extract value ? In particular, does the financial services sector privatise profits and socialise losses ? And say even if it did not, does it create wealth or extract value ? And what about a factory that is succ
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Kirti
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Value should be centric to economy. Rather than value generation due to the price that an activity or an object raises, it should be the price to be determined basis the value generated by that activity or object. This perspective is immediately needed to be adopted by the economists and the policy makers to differentiate clearly between value creation and value extraction. Rather than major part of economy being part of rent or price changing hands, it should be about producing the real value. ...more
Sandeep Tammu
Dec 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book encapsulates everything that is wrong with our current understanding of "value". Mariana argues that by connecting value directly to the price, we are letting ourselves exploited by rent-seekers. By this logic, an expensive Apple must be valuable not because it is nutritious but it is priced high. This book poses more questions than it can answer and that's a good thing.
Full review here
...more
Janek
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal book that encapsulates many years of groundbreaking research both strictly economic and more philosophical. Based on her work, Mariana Mazzucato might pave the way for real changes in Western Capitalism. I fully expect to see her as a Nobel Laureate one day!
Daphne
May 05, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn’t agree with everything (far from it!) and I thought there was some cherrypicking - e.g. pensions referred to as institutional investors when she thinks they are acting in a reprehensible manner, but as people’s pensions when they are acting responsibly. Still, some interesting ideas, a refreshing look at classic economic approaches and some food for thought on how we can make a fairer world.
Zoltan Pogatsa
Mar 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A fantastic summary of: 1) value theory in different schools of economics, 2) all the problems of GDP accounting.

I especially liked how she problematizes 1) neoliberal notions of how the state produces no value, and how current gdp accounting is used to reinfirce this fale idea, 2) carework, and how it could be accounted for in GDP like renting and home ownership are, 3) how current R&D regimes halt medical advancement, 4) private sector startups like Tesla, and hkw they are aides crucially by t
...more
Marco
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
The value of everything addresses a vital question in today's economics. Where does value come from? What is it? Who creates it? Who extracts it? Mazzucato does a great job at exploring the conversation on value through the centuries and arrives at today's economy, touching upon finance, innovation, banking, investing, and the role of the public sector in shaping the long-term direction of our economies beyond being mere referees of the game. This book is highly informative and contributes many ...more
Josh Kanownik
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
Ugh. I love Mariana Mazzucato and love the topic of this book. I wanted to love this book. I wanted to be able to send it to my mom and my sister and any other family member not currently part of a cult and have them love it. Unfortunately it is not a great book. I don't even think it is a good book. Mazzucato states that the "aim is for the book to stir a new debate" around value. I think it fails miserably at that goal. A 20 minute TED talk or forum at Davos is much more effective at that. By ...more
Gustavo Herrera
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was a huge challenge for me, not because its subject nor Mazzucato's writing style (which is exceedingly clear, engaging and friendly towards non economists), but because of how much it defies the notions of what we all understand about how economics, value and society in general work.
In fact, it is really refreshing to find a book that analyses the different ways in which we humans have understood the concept of value (from mercantilists to the neoclassicals) while keeping a critical
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Ayman
The Value of Everything

This new book by economist Mariana Mazzucato is an interesting take on the fundamentals of Economics 101. I believe, Some elementary finance and economics knowledge is necessary to follow and appreciate this book, however, here is my simplified layman summary:

The book starts with a short background on the concepts of production boundary which is the scope of economic activities that are deemed "productive" as developed by classical economists, David Ricardo who considered
...more
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Mariana Mazzucato is an economist with dual Italian and United States citizenship. She is a professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value and the director of the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London (UCL) and the RM Phillips Chair in the Economics of Innovation at the University of Sussex. She is also a member of the Scottish Government's Council of ...more

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“Some heterodox economists today argue that growth will fall if finance becomes too big relative to the rest of the economy (industry) because real profits come from the production of new goods and services rather than from simple transfers of money earned from those goods and services.40 To ‘rebalance’ the economy, the argument runs, we must allow genuine profits from production to win over rents–which, as we can see here, is exactly the argument Ricardo made 200 years ago, and John Maynard Keynes was to make 100 years later.41” 2 likes
“Governments and central banks were quietly admitting something they were still reluctant to announce publicly: the extraordinary power of private-sector banks lending to determine the pace of money creation, and therefore economic growth.” 2 likes
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