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The Locust and the Bee

2013, Princeton University Press

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. 

‘Geoff Mulgan’s extraordinary book strikes a balance between innovative thought and grounded pragmatism. Mulgan challenges us to find the best in ourselves and in the systems that provide the hope for human flourishing.” John J. DeGioia, President of Georgetown University


“An important book: imaginative, erudite, wise. Mulgan’s vision of a capitalism that maintains and deepens human relationships is enormously attractive and eminently attainable.” —Anne-Marie Slaughter, Princeton University


“Geoff Mulgan is one of the best theorists and practitioners of social innovation in the world today. In The Locust and the Bee he offers a penetrating account…. Here is a handbook for practical visionaries, written by one of them.” —Roberto Mangabeira Unger, Harvard University

“Geoff Mulgan has a disciplined mind and an adventurer’s soul, and the result is a clear-eyed tale that brings creativity and courage to our most essential problems. Mulgan has a way of penetrating to the core of a question and then delivering an answer that makes a tremendous amount of sense.” Joshua Cooper Ramo, vice chairman of Kissinger Associates and author of The Age of the Unthinkable

“Geoff Mulgan is a brilliant thinker—lucid, deep, and with a set of clear and progressive values. In this book he brings all his qualities to bear on the question of how we make capitalism productive, responsible, and fair.” Ed Miliband, MP, leader of the UK Labour Party


“With daring historical insights, Mulgan shows convincingly that societies can choose their own destiny.” — Lord Richard Layard, LSE


‘An important contribution… The changes he envisages would be radical, the more so because capitalism ‘a vast system of pumping and pushing, of things in perpetual motion’ – is both outside of and within us, giving its present forms the aura of inevitability’. John Lloyd, Financial Times

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