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As part of the Interrogating Development Series, the Department of International Development is hosting a seminar with Rosie Collington, co-author of the book 'The Big Con – How the consulting industry weakens our businesses, infantilizes our governments and warps our economies' (Penguin, 2023).


Mariana Mazzucato's and Rosie Collington's book aims to highlight how our economies' reliance on companies such as McKinsey, Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company, PwC, Deloitte, KPMG and EY stunts innovation, obfuscates corporate and political accountability and impedes our collective mission of halting climate breakdown.

The 'Big Con' describes the confidence trick the consulting industry performs in contracts with hollowed-out and risk-averse governments and shareholder value-maximising firms. It grew from the 1980s and 1990s in the wake of reforms by both the neoliberal right and Third Way progressives, and it thrives on the ills of modern capitalism, from financialisation and privatisation to the climate crisis. It is possible because of the unique power that big consultancies wield through extensive contracts and networks - as advisors, legitimators and outsourcers - and the illusion that they are objective sources of expertise and capacity. To make matters worse, our best and brightest graduates are often redirected away from public service into consulting. In all these ways, the Big Con weakens our businesses, infantilises our governments and warps our economies.

Rosie Collington

About the speaker

Rosie Collington

Rosie is a PhD candidate at the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, University College London. She is a political economist and writer, researching the state, (global) governance, and the climate crisis. Her academic research has been published in New Political Economy. She has previously worked as an Adjunct Lecturer in Political Economy (SOAS University of London, 2021) and as a Seminar Lead at both undergraduate and Master’s levels at UCL.

About the seminar series

The 'Interrogating Development' seminar series is organised by the Department of International Development at King's College London. The series examines some of the most pressing issues facing global society today, from social development to emerging political economies.

This is an in-person event. The talk will be followed by a drinks reception.

Event details

Bush House South East Wing
Strand, London WC2R 1AE