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Meet the economist who helped AOC shape the Green New Deal

For encouraging government to take early-stage risks, Mariana Mazzucato is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business for 2020.

Meet the economist who helped AOC shape the Green New Deal

Economist Mariana Mazzucato’s ideas have won her the ear of everyone from Pope Francis, who invited her to join the Vatican’s COVID-19 economy task force, to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose Green New Deal was shaped by their conversations. Too often, Mazzucato argues, public investment creates value, and then corporations extract it on behalf of their shareholders, leaving bureaucrats and taxpayers with little to show for their contributions. “If the state is taking risks,” she asks, “are citizens getting the rewards?” In her 2018 book, The Value of Everything, Mazzucato argues that governments should play the role of early-stage venture capitalist and that their bets on potentially transformative ideas are essential for tackling problems like climate change and cancer. Mazzucato recently designed a moonshot policy playbook for the European Commission and, through her Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at University College London, is training a new generation to follow her.

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About the author

Senior Writer Ainsley Harris joined Fast Company in 2014. Follow her on Twitter at @ainsleyoc.

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