2020 has exposed failures in economic strategies, but there's hope. World View has been helping to film and produce Jim Merkel's documentary, "Saving Walden's World," which addresses many of the issues seen in a recent NY Times article, about Mariana Mazzacuto, a University College London economics professor, whose ideas and view point has achieved the kind of celebrity status that is uncommon for academics."
"In February, British GQ named her (Mazzacuto) one of the 50 most influential people in Britain, alongside David Beckham and Phoebe Waller-Bridge. The Financial Times described one of her panel discussions as “electrifying.” She’s got the ears of politicians and chief executives around the world, from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the U.S. and President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa, to Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Pope Francis, who all turn to her for advice or lean on her work for ideas.” NY Times writer, Alisha Haridasani Gupta continues, "Ostensibly, her mission is to reimagine capitalism and boost the state-backed public sector, but her work has nonetheless resonated not just with leftist thinkers but also in fiscally conservative, free market circles where even the slightest whiff of socialism would usually set off alarms. The fiercely pro-free-market Financial Times, for example, noted that the argument laid out in one of Dr. Mazzucato’s books, “The Entrepreneurial State: Debunking Public vs Private Sector Myths,” is basically right.”
"The core tenets of her life’s work, which she lays out in several books, are (1) the ways we currently define economic growth are far too narrow and (2) that many of the world’s greatest achievements — the moon landing or the invention of the internet, for example — stem from government investment, not the private sector, as is widely assumed.
“Indeed, every technology that makes the iPhone smart and not stupid owes its funding to both basic and applied research funded by the State,” she writes in The Entrepreneurial State. She doesn’t mean to suggest that Steve Jobs wasn’t critical to Apple’s success, but “ignoring the ‘public’ side of that story will prevent future Apples from being born.”
So what is the connection with Merkel's documentary? Merkel has been observing many of these public initiatives first hand for over 30 years. He's recently returned to those countries to see the effects of policies like empowering women, free education, universal healthcare, environmental initiatives and more, which he shares in the documentary. "Saving Walden’s World," refers to Merkel's young son Walden, who's generation will inherit the results of our decisions today. Interestingly enough, one of those locations Merkel visited both in 1993 & again in 2018, is Kerala India, whose commitments have paid off.
In the Times article, Dr. Mazzucato states, "I am fascinated by the successes of states like Kerala in the Covid crisis, where long-term state investment in health was supported by a rapid lockdown, aggressive contact tracing and extensive mental health services, which have reached over 11.5 million people. And all this coordinated by an impressive female leader — K. K. Shailaja, the minister of health and social welfare." Merkel points out that still the question arises, if the US had the Kerala rate, might 230,000 Americans still be alive? Many Kerala businesses stayed open, but community spread was curtailed because the general public trusted K.K. Shailaja, a.k.a. the COVID slayer’s advice, donning a mask, while maintaining physical distance.
Merkel's future thinking documentary is in the later stages of post production, and is looking for additional funding & distribution. World View Productions Bob Maraist helped film one of the segments, and is helping to produce. Others behind this insightful doc include two time academy award winner Debra Shaffer, recent academy award winner Julia Reichert (American Factory), and more.
To read the rest of the NY Times article, written by Alisha Haridasani Gupta, click here.
To learn more about Jim Merkel (pictured below), go to https://www.facebook.com/100yearplan/
Jim Merkel films a women's event in Kerala. Photo by David Wright
I started in this industry with an interest in sharing the life changing stories of those who otherwise could not, so that I and others may learn and grow.