Best Quotes from Geoff Mulgan

Societies can easily talk themselves into conflict and misery. But they can also talk, and act, their way out.

Geoff Mulgan

Social innovation thrives on collaboration; on doing things with others, rather than just to them or for them: hence the great interest in new ways of using the web to ‘crowdsource’ ideas, or the many experiments involving users in designing services.

Geoff Mulgan

As a civil servant in charge of the government’s Strategy Unit, I brought in many people from outside government, including academia and science, to work in the unit, dissecting and solving complex problems from GM crops to alcohol, nuclear proliferation to schools reform.

Geoff Mulgan

All of nationalism can be understood as a kind of collective narcissism.

Geoff Mulgan

As the Internet of things advances, the very notion of a clear dividing line between reality and virtual reality becomes blurred, sometimes in creative ways.

Geoff Mulgan

A modest dose of self-love is entirely healthy – who would want to live in a world where everyone hated themselves? But taken too far, it soon becomes poisonous.

Geoff Mulgan

The responsibility for good government lies not just with governments themselves but also with every other part of the system they operate in, including media, non-governmental organisations and the public.

Geoff Mulgan

Computing should be taught as a rigorous – but fun – discipline covering topics like programming, database structures, and algorithms. That doesn’t have to be boring.

Geoff Mulgan

There is incredible potential for digital technology in and beyond the classroom, but it is vital to rethink how learning is organised if we are to reap the rewards.

Geoff Mulgan

Recycling is an area where jobs could be created at low cost. Green collar workers. That’s not very sexy.

Geoff Mulgan

L’Oreal’s slogan ‘because you’re worth it’ has come to epitomise banal narcissism of early 21st century capitalism; easy indulgence and effortless self-love all available at a flick of the credit card.

Geoff Mulgan

People don’t want charities to usurp the state as the core provider of social services.

Geoff Mulgan

Democratic nation states remain far more capable of managing the circuit of coercion, taxation and legitimation than any transnational bodies.

Geoff Mulgan

There is a yearning for people to return to elementary moral virtues, such as integrity and commitment. We distrust people who have no centering of values. We greatly respect businessmen, for example, if they display those virtues, even if we don’t necessarily agree with the people.

Geoff Mulgan

All over the world, social innovation is tackling some of the most pressing problems facing society today – from fair trade, distance learning, hospices, urban farming and waste reduction to restorative justice and zero-carbon housing. But most of these are growing despite, not because of, help from governments.

Geoff Mulgan

Understanding capitalism is in some ways simple. At its best, capitalism rewards creators, makers and providers: the people and firms that create valuable things for others, like imaginative technologies and good food, cars and drugs.

Geoff Mulgan

The really interesting moment will be when you have a critical mass of people engaging through the networks, more than through the press and TV. When that happens, the culture of politics has to change, moving away from controlled one-way messages towards a political culture that is more questioning.

Geoff Mulgan

Democracy isn’t solely about polite conversations in parliaments. It needs to be continually refreshed with raw passions, anger and ideals.

Geoff Mulgan

Big business increasingly likes to portray itself as socially concerned, adopting the style of civic action through ‘campaigns’ of varying degrees of cynicism.

Geoff Mulgan

Huge sums are invested globally in medical research and development – and with good reason.

Geoff Mulgan

A tablet replacing an exercise book is not innovation, it’s just a different way to make notes.

Geoff Mulgan

The smug complacency of technology adverts disguises a pretty mixed picture, with too many people not connected, too many passive users of technologies designed for interactive, and far too much talk about empowerment but far too little action to make it happen.

Geoff Mulgan

The most important innovators often don’t need any technologies – just imagination and acute sensitivity to people’s needs.

Geoff Mulgan

The biggest barrier to dealing with climate change is us: our own attachment to habits that are hard to shift, and our great ability to park or ignore uncomfortable choices.

Geoff Mulgan

Lots of creativity is and should be solitary.

Geoff Mulgan

Many of the greatest composers and musicians do their best work in extreme confinement but we are seeing it in other fields – uses of technology to link people together in networks to solve problems and almost certainly we’ll get better ideas than we would from them just doing it on their own.

Geoff Mulgan

The City of London has never been known for understanding technology and has never matched Silicon Valley’s tradition of knowledgeable investment in technology start-ups, just as the U.K. government has never matched the vast investment made by the U.S. government.

Geoff Mulgan

As with products on supermarket shelves, the public has a right to know where their financial products and services come from.

Geoff Mulgan

Capitalism is not so much an aberration as a step on an evolutionary path, and one that contains within it some of the answers to its own contradictions.

Geoff Mulgan

All real capitalisms are impure hybrids, mongrels mixed with other strains.

Geoff Mulgan

The idea of entrepreneurship applies as much in politics, religion, society and the arts as it does in business.

Geoff Mulgan

The market turns out to be just one special case of collective decision-making.

Geoff Mulgan

Europe has shown how government can be organised in a network. Its institutions both compete and co-operate and include a directly elected parliament that does not appoint the executive, independent judiciaries and a complex set of relationships between the Commission, the Council of Ministers and the Parliament.

Geoff Mulgan

It matters more how governments behave than how big they are.

Geoff Mulgan

Most governments do have inbuilt biases in favour of the rich and powerful, and most do contain plenty of manipulators who love intrigue, who have lost whatever moral compass they may once have had and who protect themselves with steely cynicism.

Geoff Mulgan

I have a lot of admiration for people willing to face the public, but I’d prefer not to.

Geoff Mulgan

On the environment and climate change, I suspect that future generations will think there was too much timidity, too much fear of upsetting business. Basically, New Labour was very nervous about regulating business, or requiring it to do anything, even when there was a very clear social or environmental case for doing so.

Geoff Mulgan

A lot of people in government don’t really read books at all.

Geoff Mulgan

The classic think-tank is supposed to be sitting in an attic thinking up grand ideas.

Geoff Mulgan

I can think of nothing worse than a think-tank where everybody agreed.

Geoff Mulgan

I didn’t much like being in Parliament physically. I found it a bit depressing. It’s very dark and heavy. I like being out and about.

Geoff Mulgan

Over 5,000 years, states have made surprisingly consistent claims about their duties. They have promised to protect people from threats; promote their welfare; deliver justice and also, perhaps less obviously, uphold truth – originally truths about the cosmos, and more recently truths drawn from reason and knowledge.

Geoff Mulgan

States which used to communicate directly to their citizens now do so through the media, where their messages are reshaped by the logics of news values and commentary.

Geoff Mulgan

Vigorous independent and critical media are indispensable in a democracy.

Geoff Mulgan

Governments should want and even crave the best possible scientific advice. With reliable knowledge come better decisions, fewer mistakes and more results achieved for each pound spent.

Geoff Mulgan

Advisers who think that they are very clever while all around them are a bit thick, and that all the problems of the world would be solved if the thick listened to the clever, are liable to be disappointed.

Geoff Mulgan

In Britain, polls show large majorities in favour of mansion taxes and higher taxes on the finance sector.

Geoff Mulgan

Predation is part of the everyday life of capitalism, in sectors as mainstream as pharmaceuticals, software and oil – where people’s money, their data, their time and their attention are routinely taken in fundamentally asymmetrical exchanges.

Geoff Mulgan

In every capitalist economy there are anti-capitalist movements, activists, and even political parties; in a way, that there are no longer anti-democratic movements, activists, and parties.

Geoff Mulgan

Economies are complex beasts that need people to do an extraordinary range of tasks.

Geoff Mulgan

There are hardly any apprenticeships in care; hardly any schools preparing teenagers for jobs in care; and few signs that politicians know what to do to raise the status and rewards for what will soon be one of our most important industries.

Geoff Mulgan

Immigration isn’t always good for the economy or jobs.

Geoff Mulgan