Capitalisnt_1280x400_Banner (1)

Luigi Zingales (University of Chicago) and I host a bi-monthly podcast called Capitalisn’t about what’s working in capitalism today — and, more importantly, what isn’t. Check out the descriptions of our episodes below. You can listen to the episodes at capitalisnt.com, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts (or wherever you get your podcasts).

  • Reinventing Democracy, With Hélène Landemore
    What if we harnessed the collective wisdom of the crowds and delegated democratic leadership to the masses?In her book "Open Democracy: Reinventing Popular Rule for the 21st Century", Yale political scientist Hélène Landemore proposes a radically new vision for "what genuine democratic representation means and how we could open up our narrow electoral institutions to ordinary citizens, including via [what she calls] open mini-publics." Drawing from ancient Athenian democracy of the past and the promise of harnessing digital technologies of the future, she joins Bethany and Luigi to talk through this vision of participatory democracy. They discuss how to best harness human nature for agency and impact, ensure transparency to provide accountability in the face of private vested interests, and ultimately its implications for market capitalism.
  • Is Technological Progress Good For Everyone? With Daron Acemoglu
    In his new book, "Power and Progress: Our 1000-Year Struggle Over Technology and Prosperity", renowned MIT Professor of Economics Daron Acemoglu (with co-author Simon Johnson) argues that the benefits from technological progress are shaped by the distribution of power in society. In this episode, Acemoglu joins Bethany and Luigi to discuss the key challenges of ensuring that this progress benefits everyone, not just the wealthy and powerful. They discuss the rules, norms, and expectations around technology governance, the unintended consequences of AI development, and how the mismanagement of property rights, especially over data, can reinforce inequality and exploitation.Show Notes:In case you missed it, revisit our recent episode with David Autor, referenced in this discussionRevisit "Democracy and Economic Growth: New Evidence," co-authored by Daron Acemoglu, on ProMarket
  • Can Labor Markets Save Capitalism? With David Autor
    On this episode, our hosts Bethany McLean and Luigi Zingales sit down with renowned MIT economist David Autor to discuss the impact of technology, labor markets, and immigration on wage inequality and the economy at large. Autor is best known for his work on the "China Shock," the impact of rising Chinese exports on manufacturing employment in the United States and Europe after China's accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001. His most recent work sheds light on which groups have seen the largest nominal wage gains during the COVID recovery, the connections between wage growth and inflation, and more. Autor discusses how advances in technology have disrupted traditional labor markets, how to make better policy choices about the future of work, and the challenges and benefits of immigration in a globalized economy.Show Notes:Revisit our conversation with R. Glenn Hubbard, which is referenced in the interview with David AutorRead the Autor's paper discussed in the episode here.
  • Has ‘Thinking Like An Economist’ Distorted Our Politics?
    It is hard to think of an idea more central to capitalism than economics, particularly economic efficiency. Similarly, public policy is now — and has been for a while — conducted in the language of budgets, models, and cost-benefit analyses. But how accountable is this idea to the public?Elizabeth Popp Berman is a sociologist and historian of economic thought at the University of Michigan and the author of the new book "Thinking Like An Economist: How Efficiency Replaced Equality in U.S. Public Policy." In this episode, she joins Bethany and Luigi to discuss this history of economics as a pervasive influence in the halls of political power in Washington and the challenges of believing in economic models as "truth" in an increasingly complex world. Using case studies in health care, debt forgiveness, pandemic economic recovery, and beyond, the three of them debate whether there are spheres of public and political life where economics has overstepped its bounds and if it belongs there altogether.
  • Raghuram Rajan: Why The Banking Crisis Isn’t Over
    Several questions continue to swirl around the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and its larger implications. In this special episode, Chicago Booth’s Raghuram Rajan – former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and IMF Chief Economist – joins Bethany and Luigi to explore the risks in the financial system and possible solutions.Rajan discusses a paper he presented (with NYU Professor Viral Acharya) at the Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole conference in 2022, arguing that the Fed’s liquidity provision left the financial sector more sensitive to shocks, and suggesting that the expansion and shrinkage of central bank balance sheets involves tradeoffs between monetary policy and financial stability. Together with the hosts, Rajan discusses the path forward on inflation, given economic and political pressures, and his recommendations on how to manage risks and tradeoffs.Link to the advertised Chicago Booth Review podcast:https://www.chicagobooth.edu/review/podcast?source=cbr-sn-cap-camp:podcast23-20230320Check out ProMarket's ongoing coverage of the recent banking turmoil, including a summary of Raghuram Rajan's paper and new research by Luigi, referenced towards the end of the episode, on the new dangers of ‘bank walks.’
  • Are The Twitter Files A Scandal?
    Read ProMarket's ongoing coverage of the Twitter Files, including the research summary of the Twitter Files prepared by Stigler Center Research Professional Utsav Gandhi in preparation for this episodeRead the Stigler Center's 2019 Report on Digital Platforms, addressing many of the underlying issues discussed in this episode: trust and transparency in social media, business models of journalism, platform regulation when it comes to content moderation, and more.
  • SVB: The End of Banking as We Know It?
    We had initially prepared an entirely different episode for today, but last week's Silicon Valley Bank collapse, the largest in U.S. history since 2008, meant a quick change of plans.What happened? What is unique about this bank run, and what isn't? How much should regulators be blamed, and how much should bank management be? Do social media and today's frantic digital environment mean this is the end of banking as we know it?Luigi and Bethany talk to two experts with unique insights into the crisis: Chicago Booth Professor Douglas Diamond, who won the 2022 Nobel Prize for his decades-long work on bank runs, and Eric Rosengren, former Boston Fed President, for his view as a regulator. They discuss the factors that led to the collapse, including risky lending practices, lack of oversight, and the challenges of regulating the rapidly evolving world of banking. They also explore the broader implications of the collapse, including the impact on the broader financial system and the role of regulation in promoting financial stability.Show Notes:Nobel Laureate Douglas Diamond on How the Fed Could Have Prevented SVB’s Collapse, by Brooke Fox, on ProMarketHow Do We Avoid the Next SVB? by Chicago Booth Professor Anil Kashyap, on ProMarketLink to the advertised Chicago Booth Review podcast: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/review/podcast?source=cbr-sn-cap-camp:podcast23-20230320
  • The Capitalisn't Of Consulting: McKinsey And Beyond
    Revisit:When the Profit Motive Kills, with Anand Giridharadas, on Capitalisn'tWhy the US Government Buys Overpriced Services From McKinsey, by Matt Stoller in ProMarket
  • ProMarket: Why Martin Wolf Changed His Mind on Milton Friedman
    Read the following articles in ProMarket:There Is a Direct Line from Milton Friedman to Donald Trump's Assault on Democracy, by Martin WolfGeorge Stigler and the Challenge of Democracy, by Anat AdmatiCorporations Are Not “We the People,” by Geoffrey StoneeBook: Milton Friedman 50 Years Later, a ReevaluationAlso, check out relevant past Capitalisn't episodes:Martin Wolf: Is Capitalism Killing Democracy?Why Capitalism Needs DemocracyThe Breaking Point Of Democracy With Morton Schapiro and Gary Morson
  • Martin Wolf: Is Capitalism Killing Democracy?
    Read the following articles in ProMarket:There Is a Direct Line from Milton Friedman to Donald Trump's Assault on Democracy, by Martin WolfGeorge Stigler and the Challenge of Democracy, by Anat AdmatiCorporations Are Not “We the People,” by Geoffrey StoneeBook: Milton Friedman 50 Years Later, a ReevaluationAlso, check out relevant past Capitalisn't episodes:Why Capitalism Needs DemocracyThe Breaking Point Of Democracy With Morton Schapiro and Gary Morson
  • Google: The New Vampire Squid? With Dina Srinivasan
     In a Wall Street Journal article about Google’s Secret ‘Project Bernanke,’ Jeff Horwitz and Keach Hagey quoted Google Chief Economist Hal Varian's answer to a question he was asked during the Stigler Center's 2019 Antitrust and Competition Conference. Watch the video excerpt here."Why Google Dominates Advertising Markets," by Dina Srinivasan, Stanford Technology Law Review, December 2019Read ProMarket's ongoing coverage of Google here.
  • The End Of China’s Miracle?
    Show notes:On February 9th, 2023, "China’s New Covid Strategy," the next webinar in the Stigler Center's series on China's political economy, will feature Chang-Tai Hsieh, along with Schwarzman Scholars/Harvard Medical School's Joan Kaufman and the Financial Times' Nian Liu (Stigler Center Journalist in Residence, 2021). Register here.Revisit previous webinars hosted by the Stigler Center on China’s political economy and read a summary: https://www.promarket.org/2023/02/02/event-notes-chinas-political-economy-in-review/ Economists share blame for China’s ‘monstrous’ turn, Janos Kornai in the Financial Times.
  • Shattering Immigration Myths: Data Beyond Borders
  • Revisiting The Meritocracy Debate With Adrian Wooldridge And Michael Sandel
    Capitalisn't will be back in your feeds with a brand new episode on January 19. Don't forget to rate and review our podcast if you haven't already, and leave us a voicemail at https://www.speakpipe.com/Capitalisnt.
  • He Foresaw Inflation. Here’s What He Expects Next. Feat. Lord Mervyn King
  • Taylor Swift, Ticketmaster, and Chokepoint Capitalism with Cory Doctorow
  • The "Woke" Capitalism Game With Vivek Ramaswamy
    We're taking the holiday off to be with our families, but that doesn't stop the economic news. And there is no story bigger than the collapse of the crypto exchange, FTX. One aspect that attracted our attention was Sam Bankman-Fried, the young CEO of FTX, officially bought into a philosophy called Effective Altruism, where you make the most money to give it to the poor. However, in a text exchange with a Vox reporter SBF said "this dumb game we woke westerns play where we say all the right things and so everybody likes us". It reminded us of what Vivek Ramaswamy said about woke capitalism on the show last year. We've decided to replay that show for you, and we'll be back in two weeks with a brand new episode of Capitalisn't. Vivek Ramaswamy, a scientist, lawyer, and former venture capitalist and entrepreneur, has a new book out: "Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam". In this book, he argues that "wokeism" has become a way for corporations to wrap themselves in a mantle, which then furthers the idea of crony capitalism and extends their power into spaces they were never meant to be in. Luigi Zingales and Bethany McLean sit down with Ramaswamy to discuss his perspectives on the role of virtue, ethics, and politics in business and society.
  • The Capitalisn't of Elon Musk's Twitter
    [Show Notes: During the episode, Luigi mentions the paper of a Stigler Center Fellow. Here is a ProMarket piece describing this research in further detail: https://www.promarket.org/2022/11/10/the-economics-of-content-moderation-on-social-media/%5D
  • A Different Story Of Inflation With John Cochrane
    In June 2022, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said, "we [now] understand better how little we understand about inflation." So what do we actually know about inflation? In this episode, Luigi and Bethany explore the origins of inflation with John Cochrane, Senior Fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution and author of the popular "Grumpy Economist" blog. They discuss Cochrane's new book, "The Fiscal Theory of the Price Level", where he offers a novel understanding of monetary policy by merging fiscal theory with the standard models of interest-setting central banks. Through a discussion of foundational economic principles such as Milton Friedman's theories – and the role of government debt, taxation, and spending levels – they shed light on what might drive inflation, and also on the requisite balance between democratically-elected institutions and independent central banks in the functioning of capitalism.
  • [Unedited]: Thomas Piketty On Creating A More Equal Society
    French economist Thomas Piketty is one of the leading intellectuals documenting inequality, with his 2013 book “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” becoming widely read and cited. His new book, "A Brief History of Equality," is more optimistic: In it, Piketty documents how our world has become relatively more equal since the end of the 18th century. In this unedited conversation, Piketty talks to Bethany and Luigi about the lessons from this movement toward equality and where it could go next – especially regarding policy choices such as taxes, reparations, and redistribution toward more racial, democratic, and global equality. Among others, they discuss: Would people favor massive redistribution? What kind of institutions would be required to oversee markets? Can true progress be achieved without equality?
  • Antitrust-Isn't: The Story Of Declining Enforcement In America
    Academics and policymakers alike draw a significant correlation between some of today's biggest problems - such as economic inequality - with rising corporate concentration and the ever-decreasing lack of antitrust enforcement. How did this narrative come to be? Is it necessarily correct, and how has it persisted over time? A new paper provides just this data, and it's co-authored by our very own co-host Luigi Zingales, along with Filippo Lancieri, JSD alum, and Eric Posner, Professor, both from the University of Chicago Law School. Using data around public demand, Supreme Court nominations, State of the Union speeches, and more, Luigi and his co-authors reveal that the key driver behind declining enforcement wasn't the Chicago School of Economics, but rather, special interests. In this episode, Luigi and Bethany chart this story right from the beginning, its lessons for today, ways to change the current state of affairs, and most importantly, why antitrust matters. Link to paper: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4011335 Show note: For aspiring pre-doctoral students who wish to work with Luigi for two years on this research and more, he is hiring a Research Professional! Check out the job description and apply/share: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/research/stigler/about/job-opportunities.
  • Capitalism In Our Attention Economy With Albert Wenger
    Albert Wenger is Managing Partner at Union Square Ventures, which has invested in some of today's most exciting technology companies. In his new book, “The World After Capital", he argues that capitalism cannot allocate all resources efficiently in the digital age – where the new shortage isn't capital, but rather, human attention. While economically incentivized activities will not go away, he says, we must make room for the things we cannot put a price on. He proposes increasing three freedoms: economic, informational, and psychological, to ensure the continuation of human knowledge production. His book is available free of charge at https://worldaftercapital.org/.
  • The Student Debt Dilemma With Constantine Yannelis
    We’re taking a week off here at the end of the summer, but with Biden’s recent student loan announcement we couldn’t help but think back to our episode about student debt with Constatine Yannelis. Before he was elected, Biden had promised to remove 50K in debt from borrowers. His recent announcement doesn’t quite match that promise, but this episode still contains an incredible amount of vital information about our student debt problem, who really benefits from forgiveness, and what are real solutions for the future. We hope you enjoy, and thanks for listening. Your support is crucial to keeping our show going, so please tell your friends and family to give us a listen and a review. We’ll be back in two weeks with a brand new episode of Capitalisn’t. As Bethany mentions during the episode, if you are a journalist with some years of media experience and have an interest in deepening your knowledge and understanding of the many issues we cover on this podcast, you are encouraged to apply for the Stigler Center Journalists in Residence program, which offers training in business fundamentals at Chicago Booth. Learn more, share, and apply: http://www.chicagobooth.edu/stiglerjir
  • Does Software Actually Slow Innovation?
    Why have labor and productivity growth slowed? Software entrepreneur-turned-academic researcher, James Bessen, argues the problem isn't fewer productive startups, or M&A activity (which has actually slowed), but big corporations dominating by mastering "proprietary" software — the intersection of technology and data — which has had major negative societal consequences. He walks Luigi and Bethany through examples such as IBM, Amazon Web Services, Volkswagen, and more to discuss what's wrong with our current patent system and makes a case for opening up technology, data, and knowledge in order to restore competition. Bessen is the Executive Director of the Technology & Policy Research Initiative at Boston University and his book, "The New Goliaths: How Corporations Use Software to Dominate Industries, Kill Innovation, and Undermine Regulation", is out now.
  • Is Labor Benefiting From The Union Boom?
    Richard B. Freeman is a Professor of Economics at Harvard University and has been studying the role of labor unions in our economy for over forty years. His seminal publication, "What Do Unions Do?" (1984), concluded that unions are on balance beneficial for the economy and society, and remains one of the most widely cited books in this area of research. Luigi and Bethany sit down with Freeman to ask: What do unions do today? How have technology, global competition, and the open economy led to their decline? And as seen by recent unionization moves at Amazon, Starbucks, and elsewhere, how real are the nascent signs of a comeback? They debate whether unions, both public and private, are robust ways to protect workers' rights moving forward, or whether government should instead focus on securing safety net systems such as minimum wage and unemployment insurance.
  • Is Inflation The Fed’s Fault? + Uber Leaks
    With inflation unfettered, Luigi and Bethany sit down with economist Ricardo Reis to discuss the Federal Reserve’s role. Contrary to our hosts’ views, Reis argues that while the Fed has made mistakes, they are largely understandable. Together, they chart why it took so long to pivot policies, how central banks responded to supply and energy shocks, how much the Fed – or Chair Jay Powell – is to blame, and what they should be doing to control inflation. Plus, Bethany and Luigi discuss The Guardian exposé on the Uber Files, and what it teaches us about academic and journalistic accountability when it comes to corporate lobbying.
  • How Corporations Get Away With Crime + SCOTUS EPA Ruling
    When it comes to corporate rulebreaking, data from 2002 to 2016 reveals that the US government arranged more than 400 "deferred protection agreements" as a means of deterrence. Under these, a company acknowledges what it did was wrong, pays a fine, promises not to misbehave for a period of time -- and thus is largely let off the hook. Columbia Law School Professor and author of "Corporate Crime and Punishment: The Crisis of Underenforcement", John C. Coffee, says these have done little to deter future wrongdoing. Coffee joins Luigi and Bethany, both of whom have also extensively researched and exposed corporate wrongdoing, to discuss how to reform aspects of enforcement, such as self-reporting mechanisms, internal investigations, independent external auditors, whistleblowers, and even shame and humiliation.
  • Rethinking (Neo)liberalism?
    Our last three guests on the show, Oren Cass, Francis Fukuyama, and Glenn Hubbard, have each brought forth their critiques and suggestions for how liberalism and neoliberalism work (or ought to work) in our society. In this episode, Bethany and Luigi reflect and take stock of how the political and economic components of these ideas might differ, where their promises have failed, and who has benefited from their messy implementation. In the process, they try answering: What would a new version of (neo)liberalism look like?
  • A Defense of the Neoliberal Order with Glenn Hubbard + Big Tech Antitrust Bills
    Glenn Hubbard is Professor and Dean Emeritus at Columbia Business School, and also served as Chair of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers, among others. In his new book, "The Wall and the Bridge: Fear and Opportunity in Disruption's Wake", he addresses the underlying forces behind the global populist anxiety by reimagining the process of "building bridges, not walls". He talks with Bethany and Luigi about trade, reforming social insurance, preparing the labor force for technological change, and the role of state, markets, and community in the economy. For our Is/Isn't segment (43:44), Bethany and Luigi discuss the latest antitrust effort in the U.S. Congress to regulate Big Tech – the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which could be up for a vote this summer.
  • Liberalism And Its Discontents With Francis Fukuyama + The Baby Formula Shortage
    Francis Fukuyama is an American political scientist and author, notably of The End of History (1992) and Trust: Social Virtues and Creation of Prosperity (1995). Now, in his new book, he offers liberalism as a solution to our current problems of social bifurcation, if paired with other functional institutions of a democracy. Bethany and Luigi sit down with Fukuyama to understand: What does liberalism even mean? What are its excesses and its critiques from the progressive left? How dependent is it on traditional notions of growth and prosperity, and can it be implemented effectively in an unequal society?
  • The Intangible Economy with Jonathan Haskel + Roe v Wade & Corporate America
    What do lighthouses, the wheelie suitcase, Harry Potter, and Wikipedia have in common? They showcase the progressive evolution towards investment in the "intangible economy": one prioritizing knowledge, relationships, design, reputation, and other internal organization over physical assets. Jonathan Haskel is Professor of Economics at Imperial College (London) and the co-author of a new book "Restarting the Future: How to Fix the Intangible Economy". Bethany and Luigi sit down with Haskel to discuss the characteristics and consequences of this economy, its value to society, the system of rewards and incentives behind it, and the role for government in regulating it. They also discuss the leaked Supreme Court memo on Roe v. Wade and the extent to which corporate America should be weighing in on political debates. (49:46)
  • Is Common Good Capitalism The Answer? With Oren Cass + Elon Musk Buys Twitter
    The basic premise of capitalism has always been that more people generating more profits will be better for everybody. Oren Cass wants to challenge that premise by prioritizing values over value and over market power. Oren was formerly an Economic Advisor to the Mitt Romney Presidential Campaign, now executive director of the nonprofit American Compass and author of The Once and Future Worker: A Vision for the Renewal of Work in America (2018). A successful economy, according to him, should not be measured by consumption but by opportunities for all to be productive with a wide range of aptitudes and interests. Luigi, Bethany, and Oren discuss what this means for replacing jobs with AI, China's economic relationship with the US, the idea of "Big Labor", and the interplay of neoliberalism with capitalism. Plus, Luigi and Bethany discuss Elon Musk and Twitter for the Capital-Is/Ins't section (47:00)
  • Ukraine: The Price of Democracy with Tymofiy Mylovanov
    Since the start of the war in Ukraine, we've discussed its many aspects but we haven't talked to anyone actually in or from the country. On this episode, we do both. Ukrainian economist Tymofiy Mylovanov is the president of the Kyiv School of Economics, advisor to the Zelensky administration, and former Ukrainian Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture.Mylovanov shares what has and hasn't surprised him about the war, reveals Russia’s other strategic advantages beyond energy resources, and offers a game theoretical approach to understanding the potential outcomes of this conflict. Along the way, he laments the cost of human lives as the price for democracy, and encourages us to remember history’s lessons.Please consider supporting the humanitarian aid campaign of the Kyiv School of Economics Charitable Foundation at Mylovanov's institution: https://kse.ua/we-save-lives/
  • Ukraine: Sanctioning the Oligarchs' Enablers With Bill Browder
    As the devastation in Ukraine increases, so do the calls to end the war. Among those championing tougher actions is Bill Browder—one of Putin’s most vocal critics—and the man behind the Magnitsky Act, which authorizes the U.S. government to sanction human rights offenders. Browder has been advocating for expanding the list of sanctioned pro-Kremlin Russian oligarchs. He prescribes that Western lawyers, bankers, and other enablers of these oligarchs should also be held responsible. Browder's new book, “Freezing Order: A True Story of Money Laundering, Murder, and Surviving Vladimir Putin's Wrath”, is out April 12.
  • Ukraine: The Privatization of Sanctions with Richard Edelman
    As the war in Ukraine continues, the world is responding not just with various government sanctions on Russia, but also with a voluntary exodus of private corporations from the Russian market. To discuss these "private sanctions" and possible motivations behind them, we invited Richard Edelman, the CEO of one of the largest public relations firms in the world. Are firms profit-maximizing in their actions? Are they responding to political or consumer pressure? Or are they simply trying to avoid a public relations nightmare? Furthermore, do these actions constitute a precedent to be followed in future conflicts?
  • Ukraine: A Restart Of History
    After the fall of the Berlin Wall, political scientist Francis Fukuyama famously proclaimed the "end of history" and of humankind’s ideological evolution. The combination of Western liberal democracy and capitalism were seen as the final, convergent form of global human organization — surpassing geopolitical considerations. As Russia invades Ukraine, history seems to have restarted. This time the tension is not between capitalism and socialism, but between liberal capitalism and autocratic capitalism, between globalism and nativism, between a state subordinated to economic interests and economic interests subordinated to the state. Amidst this unfolding situation, Luigi and Bethany discuss how sanctions, SWIFT, the energy sector, digital platforms, new geopolitical blocks, and more are coming together to possibly reshape the course of history.
  • The Private Equity Debate: Is it a Good Investment?
    Is private equity a good investment? Jeffrey Hooke, Senior Lecturer at Johns Hopkins' Carey School of Business, claims that private equity has not been a lucrative investment for institutional investors such as pension funds or university endowments. Chicago Booth Professor Steven Kaplan, who has studied private equity for over 35 years, disagrees. Luigi and Bethany bring both Jeff and Steven on the show to debate this, and the evolution (or lack thereof) in reporting, transparency, and corporate governance in the private equity industry. What data and metrics should we look at when measuring private equity performance? How should we compare studies and analyses across time and different data sources? Moreover, does adding value to investors also necessarily mean adding value to society? Jeffery Hooke's new book "The Myth of Private Equity" is out now.
  • The Causes And Effects Of Today's Inflation, With Raghuram Rajan
    The Federal Reserve is likely to hike interest rates in March due to high inflation and the strong labor market. But where did this inflation come from? Is it transitory or is it here to stay? Whom does it hurt the most and what should be done about it? To discuss this, we invited Chicago Booth professor and former IMF chief economist Raghuram Rajan, who – when he served as India’s central banker – was charged with fighting inflation himself.
  • Meritocracy: The Genetic Lottery with Kathryn Paige Harden
    Last year, Capitalisn’t featured two episodes on the pluses and minuses of meritocracy. Supporters of meritocracy, such as Adrian Wooldrige, emphasize its ethical dimension. Critics, such as Michael Sandel, emphasize the luck component. At the end of the day, it is an empirical question, albeit a difficult one: How much of “success” is driven by effort versus luck? Luigi and Bethany sit down with Kathryn Paige Harden, behavioral geneticist, professor of psychology, and author of the book "The Genetic Lottery: Why DNA Matters for Social Equality".
  • Capitalism As A Contradiction With Yanis Varoufakis
    Yanis Varoufakis is a vocal critic of capitalism. He is a Greek academic, writer, and politician – as former Minister of Finance, led negotiations during the government debt crisis of 2015. But even as the founder of the left-wing political party MeRA25 (European Realistic Disobedience Front) in 2018, he laments the bankruptcy of today’s left. He describes capitalism as a contradiction with immense advantages (innovation, wealth, gadgets, technologies) but also with an inherent tendency to cause aesthetic, moral, psychological, and financial poverty. Luigi Zingales and Bethany McLean sit down with Varoufakis to understand his diagnosis of the ills of capitalism, not as an unjust system but one that is inefficient and freedom impeding.
  • The Political Polarization of Corporate America
    Increased polarization in America has meant more political homogeneity across our digital, social, and civic spaces. But what about our workplaces, where so many Americans spend a bulk of their time? Associate Professor of Finance at Chicago Booth, Elisabeth Kempf, has new data and research out looking at political alignment within corporate executive teams, and whether or how much it has increased over time. We sit down with Elisabeth to understand the factors which could be influencing this trend, legal structures that may or may not protect against discrimination based on political views, executive departures that may be politically motivated, and why we might care about political diversity in the workplace at all. Link to paper: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3784969
  • Is “Woke” Capitalism A Threat To Democracy?
    Vivek Ramaswamy, a scientist, lawyer, and former venture capitalist and entrepreneur, has a new book out: "Woke, Inc.: Inside Corporate America's Social Justice Scam". In this book, he argues that "wokeism" has become a way for corporations to wrap themselves in a mantle, which then furthers the idea of crony capitalism and extends their power into spaces they were never meant to be in. Luigi Zingales and Bethany McLean sit down with Ramaswamy to discuss his perspectives on the role of virtue, ethics, and politics in business and society.
  • How Antitrust Failed Workers With Eric Posner
    The monopoly power of massive tech platforms has thrust antitrust law back into the spotlight in recent years. But while everyone was focused on monopoly power, a handful of academics have actually been looking into monopsony power. Specifically, how employers in highly concentrated labor markets use anticompetitive methods to suppress wages. University of Chicago Law Professor Eric Posner has a new book out that tackles this issue called “How Antitrust Failed Workers”. He makes the case for why we need to use the mirror side of antitrust law to tackle the increasing monopsony power in the U.S.
  • A Turning Point In The History Of Capitalism?
    Histories are often relegated to the sidelines of economic study. But what do we lose in our theories when we only focus on the math and models? In his new book, “Ages of American Capitalism”, University of Chicago historian Jonathan Levy looks at the turning points in the history of capitalism and what those moments can teach us about today.
  • Is Evergrande Really China’s Lehman Moment?
    In September China's second largest real-estate developer, Evergrande, missed an $83.5 million debt payment. Skeptics and bears on China have long said that its property market, which makes up some 30 percent of GDP, is over-leveraged and overheated. The recent news has people asking...are the bears right, and could this be China's Lehman Moment. On this episode we look at two sides of that argument, first with one of the world's most renowned bears on China, Jim Chanos who is the found of Kynikos Associates, an investment advisor focused on short selling. Then we take the a different view with Zhiguo He, a financial economist at the University of Chicago and faculty director of BFI-China at the Becker Friedman Institute for Research in Economics.
  • Is Discrimination Still Causing The Gender Pay Gap With Claudia Goldin
    If Claudia Goldin, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, wins the Nobel Prize in Economics next week, no-one will be surprised. Her work studying the intersection of gender and labor has been vital, both to the world and the field. But there's a curious argument in her newest book "Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey Toward Equity". Goldin says that though the gender pay gap persists, it's not clear that gender discrimination is the cause. She thinks that job design may be the real culprit, and that we need to rethink the flexibility and substitutability of work. She joins us to discuss her book on this episode! Plus, in light of leaked internal research showing Facebook has known their products are harmful to kids and teenagers, we discuss whistleblowers and data-blackboxes for this week's capital is/isn't.
  • Why Capitalism Isn't Without Democracy
    We’re taking a week off as school starts back up, but we wanted to reshare this episode with you this week. For a show about economics, we talk about democracy a lot. But there’s an important reason for that. Without a strong democracy to build capitalism on top of, it’ll always be an isn’t. So please enjoy our conversation about the important intersections of capitalism and democracy. We’ll be back in two weeks with an all new Capitalisn't.
  • The Smoke and Mirrors of ESG Investing with Tariq Fancy
    Environmental, social and governance investing, also know as ESG, has exploded in recent years. It promises to help us solve problems like climate change and inequality all while allowing investors to still turn a profit. But BlackRock’s former global chief investment office for sustainable investing, Tariq Fancy, says it isn't what's being advertised. Recently, he penned a blog post claiming that not only are ESGs not making societal problems better, they may actively be making them worse.
  • The Breaking Point Of Democracy With Morton Schapiro and Gary Morson
    Capitalism doesn't work without democracy. So, it's particularly concerning that polarization and fundamentalism are threatening the underlying principles that make our democracy possible. A new book by Northwestern President and economist Morton Schapiro and literary scholar Gary Saul Morson called "Minds Wide Shut" explores the forces that are destroying the open-mindedness democracy requires. We talk with them about their book and discuss solutions on this episode.
  • The Cost of Meritocracy With Michael Sandel
    Does meritocracy create a better world for everyone, or does it create massive inequality? There's been a lot of debate in the last few years about meritocracy, and it's become even more pressing in light of the pandemic. If essential workers are "essential", are they really less meritorious than a banker or accountant? So, we decided to discuss both sides of this debate in our next two episodes. On this episode, we'll be joined by Michael Sandel who teaches political philosophy at Harvard University and is author of the new book "The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good". He'll be making a nuanced case against meritocracy. Also, be sure to stick around for a new surprise after the episode.
  • Introducing: Entitled
    The University of Chicago Podcast Network is excited to announce the launch of a new show, it’s called "Entitled" and it’s about human rights. Co-hosted by lawyers and UChicago Law School Professors, Claudia Flores and Tom Ginsburg, Entitled explores the stories around why rights matter and what’s the matter with rights. We’re going to share the first episode of that show with you this week, and recommend you go subscribe! We’ll be back next week with a new the second installment of our meritocracy series! Please enjoy Entitled, and we’ll see you next week!
  • The Promise Of Meritocracy With Adrian Wooldridge
    Does meritocracy create a better world for everyone, or does it create massive inequality? There's been a lot of debate in the last few years about meritocracy, and it's become even more pressing in light of the pandemic. If essential workers are "essential", are they really less meritorious than a banker or accountant? So, we decided to discuss both sides of this debate in our next two episodes. On this episode, we'll be joined by Adrian Wooldridge, political editor at The Economist and author of the new book "The Aristocracy of Talent: How Meritocracy Made the Modern World". He'll be making the nuanced case in favor of meritocracy, and we'll hear the other side on our next episode.
  • The Engine No. 1 David vs Exxon Goliath With Chris James
    If shareholders are the owners of a company, they should be able to get that company to do what they want. But what happens when shareholders want something other than profits at any cost? In a major moment for what's come to be called "shareholder capitalism", activist hedge fund Engine No. 1 successfully claimed three seats on Exxon's board of directors this year. Their explicit mission is to force the energy goliath to turn away from carbon and toward more clean forms of energy. On this episode, we speak with the founder of Engine No. 1, Chris James, about how they approached the proxy fight, his views on shareholder capitalism, and the future of activist hedge funds.
  • The Price Of A Vaccine With Moderna CFO David Meline
    There are plenty of lingering questions about the development of the coronavirus vaccine. How was the pricing decided? Did the public-private partnership with the government work? Who's right in the debate over patent rights and profit sharing? There's no better person to put these questions to than David Meline, the CFO of Moderna. He joins our podcast this week to talk through the political economy of the Covid-19 vaccine.
  • How The Elites Are Losing Control With Martin Gurri
    Occupy Wall Street, Italy's Five Star Movement, the indignados in Spain—we've seen an increase in anti-elite protests by a disabused public over the last two decades. But what has caused this "revolt of the public"? Martin Gurri, Visiting Fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center and former CIA media analyst, argues that elites have overpromised and under delivered all while losing their monopoly on information flows. But have our emperors lost their clothes recently, or did they never have them to begin with?
  • Why Do We Have High Prices But Stagnating Wages?
    In the last few decades, American wages have stagnated for everyone except those at the very top. Yet, during this same period, worker productivity and corporate profits have soared. Why these two trends have coincided has perplexed economists. But, in a new book, economist Jan Eeckhout proposes a simple answer: market power. We discuss his proposal and possible solutions for this problem on this episode.
  • Who Will Regulate The Regulators: Stigler 50 Years Later
    Have you ever heard the term "regulatory capture"? It's a famous economic theory that the regulation and regulators we create to keep certain industries in check can be captured and bent to the desires of those very industries. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the paper that first proposed this theory. It's called "The Theory of Economic Regulation" and it was written by none other than the namesake of the center that produces this podcast, George Stigler. We recently hosted a conference of some of the most prominent economists to reflect on why the ideas of this paper are still revered and relevant today.
  • Worried about Inflation? So is Fmr Central Banker Mervyn King
    Pres. Biden is pursuing some of the largest spending proposals in U.S. history, which should be sparking concerns about inflation and interest rates. But most prominent bankers and economists have told us not to worry. Fmr Central Banker Mervyn King says they shouldn't be so confident. On this episode, we speak with Lord King about his concerns of coming inflation, how he thinks central banks didn't learn the right lessons after 2008, and why he thinks the industry has become too reliant on models.
  • Is The Federal Reserve An "Engine of Inequality"?
    What is causing the widening wealth gap in America? People point fingers in many different directions, but a fairly new idea is to blame The Federal Reserve. In a new book, "Engine of Inequality: The Fed and The Future of Wealth In America", Karen Petrou, a managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics, argues that The Fed's ultra-low interest rate policy has benefited the wealthy at the expense of the poor.
  • The Power Of Access In Journalism And Academia With Kara Swisher
    When it comes to probing the problems of Big Tech, either as a journalist or academic, access is key. Necessary data is highly guarded, often in a "black box", and these companies carefully select what they share and with whom. Few people understand this better than Kara Swisher who has been fearlessly covering and critiquing Big Tech since the 1990s. She's a New York Times opinion writer, host of the podcast "Sway" and co-host of the "Pivot" podcast.
  • Communisn’t: Crony Capitalism In China With David Barboza
    The only thing worse than crony capitalism may be crony capitalism controlled by a centralized communist authority. This is the system that has led to massive wealth disparities in China, even as the country has seen record growth. Former New York Times correspondent, David Barboza, has gotten a first-hand look at how this system in China has led to rampant corruption and he even won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting. On this episode, we talk with Barboza about how this system works, why American companies are sometimes complicit in it, and the effect it could have on the rest of the world. Barboza now publishes "The Wire China" a digital new magazine focused on covering China both in and out of the country.
  • Why We Should Tax Digital Advertising With Paul Romer
    Concerns about the political power of Big Tech and lack of competition are at an all-time high. The business model of Facebook, Google, Twitter, ect. seem to be creating a race to the bottom for the discourse in our social and political lives. Many have argued we should turn to anti-trust laws as a way to solve this problem, but Nobel laureate Paul Romer says they may not be enough. In this episode, Romer presents his argument for why the implementation of a digital advertising tax could address the size and business model of these tech firms.
  • When the Profit Motive Kills With Anand Giridharadas
    The consulting firm McKinsey has agreed to pay nearly $600 million for its role in advising Purdue on how to push opioids sales, even at the cost of human lives. The details of their work are gruesome and should demand self-reflection among all those who work in big business. Has the profit motive gone out of control, and do business schools have a role to play in creating this culture? Anand Giridharadas says yes to both questions. He's the author of the renowned book "Winners Take All" and the publisher of "The Ink" on Substack. He joins us in this episode to discuss McKinsey, the culture of profits at all costs, and how businesses use philanthropy to distract us from the price we all pay.
  • GameStop, Robinhood And Our Troubling Obsession With Speculation
    Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard the story of GameStop and Robinhood. Most writers and outlets have claimed this is either a positive David vs Goliath story or a dangerous new trend. On this episode, we're joined by Matt Stoller, Director of Research at the American Economic Liberties Project, who has an entirely different view.
  • Manufacturing Dissent With Matt Taibbi
    A well-functioning capitalism needs a well-functioning democracy which depends on a well-functioning media. So, is our media functioning well today...has it ever? To talk through this question, we sit down with renowned journalist and media critic, Matt Taibbi.
  • Microsoft 1998 vs Google 2020: Antitrust and Big Tech
    In 1998, the U.S. government filed antitrust charges against Microsoft. Today, with a new Department of Justice antitrust case filed against Google, it's worthwhile to track the eerie similarities between these cases in order to understand how one informs the other and vice versa. In order to walk us through both cases, we invited two people on the show who were on opposing sides of the Microsoft case: Robert Topel Distinguished Service Professor of Economics from the University of Chicago and expert witness for Microsoft, and David Boies, the lawyer who represented the Government in the 98' case.
  • Why Capitalism Needs Democracy
    We’re taking time off to be with our families, even if it’s only over a screen, so we're sharing a shorter episode with you this week. Inspired by our recent election, Bethany and Luigi sit down, just the two of them, to talk through why a robust and strong democracy is essential for capitalism to work. We hope you enjoy this conversation, and we’ll see you with brand new episodes after the holidays.
  • How Do You Solve A Problem Like Student Debt?
    Few people have deeply investigated the inner workings of our problematic student debt system. One person who has is Constantine Yannelis, Assistant Professor of Finance at The University of Chicago. With a proposal by the Biden Administration to forgive some portion of student debt possibly on the table, Yannelis takes us behind the curtain of our student loan system to explain why this may not be the best policy and what other options we have available.
  • Francis Fukuyama’s Proposal to Rein In Big Tech
    It's not hard to find original conversations about the dangers of "Big Tech", but it is rare to find original solutions. On this episode, we sit down with renowned professor and author, Francis Fukuyama, who has developed a fresh answer to the question of how to rein in the big digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
  • How The Supreme Court Influences Our Economy
    During confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominees, the debate is always focused on social questions like abortion, but rarely economic questions—the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett was no exception. But the Supreme Court can have a massive influence on our economy and how we conduct business. On this episode, we're joined by appeals lawyer, Roman Martinez, who has personally argued many cases in front of the Court, to interrogate the relationship between the Supreme Court and the economy, and how the new court may rule on business issues.
  • Capitalisn't Presents: The "Big Brains" Podcast
    This week, another University of Chicago Podcast Network show called "Big Brains" asked Luigi to share his biggest takeaways from the 2020 election. They covered why the polls got the election so wrong, what messages the record turnout send to our politicians, and what Joe Biden may change in the economy. We’re going to share that episode with you this week, and recommend you give Big Brains a listen and subscribe. We hope you enjoy and we’ll see you next week for a new episode of Capitalisn’t!
  • What Is The Alternative To Friedman's Capitalism?
    It's been 50 years since Milton Friedman's world changing article which argued the only social responsibility of business is to increase profits. Since the Great Financial Crisis, that view has been increasingly challenged. On this anniversary, we revisit Friedman's legacy with New Yorker staff writer and author of "Transaction Man", Nick Lemann. Together, we explain what Friedman got right and what he got wrong about shareholder vs stakeholder capitalism.
  • Should We Lockdown Again?
    In recent weeks, The Great Barrington Declaration erupted the debate about how best to continue the fight against COVID-19. On this episode, we try to have an honest and difficult conversation about the tradeoffs of different strategies for the future, from lockdowns to herd immunity. We also speak to people on both sides of the aisle: Sunetra Gupta, an epidemiologist from Oxford and one of the signers of The Great Barrington Declaration, and Andy Slavitt, former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under Obama and the host of the In The Bubble Podcast.
  • The Right And Wrong Of MMT (Modern Monetary Theory)
    MMT—modern monetary theory—has become one of the hottest topics in economics. The best selling book, "The Deficit Myth", by economist Stephanie Kelton has even made this little understood theory go mainstream. But deeply analyzing these ideas has become more pressing than ever as we debate, in the middle of a pandemic, whether the government should be adding more debt to support the economy. Along with our guest, "grumpy" economist John Cochrane from the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, we take a look at what MMT gets right, what it gets wrong, and how it should change our thinking.
  • The Capitalisn't Of Vaccines
    Will rich people be able to buy a coronavirus vaccine before everyone else? Should we pay people to be part of clinical trials? Is a market for vaccine vouchers a terrible idea? On this episode, we tackle the complex questions around developing and distributing a coronavirus vaccine in a capitalist system. And to get some help with the answers, Luigi and Bethany speak with medical ethicist, Dr. Arthur L. Caplan, from the NYU School of Medicine.
  • Season 2 Trailer: Can Economists and Journalists Work Together to Improve Capitalism?
    As we start a new season of Capitalisn't, we welcome our new co-host, Vanity Fair contributing editor Bethany McLean. Academics tend to think journalists are too driven by anecdotes and journalists tend to think that academics are irrelevant. But in our new season, we hope to combine these two expertises to illuminate the ways capitalism is and isn't working in our world.
  • Revisiting A Conversation On Money In Politics
    Capitalisn't will be returning with a new co-host in September! In the meantime, as we develop the re-launch of our show, we'll be airing previously unreleased content and re-releasing some of our favorite episodes. In light of the upcoming 2020 election, we thought it would be worthwhile to rebroadcast a conversation Kate and Luigi had about money in politics.
  • A College Admission Scandal Revisited
    Capitalisn't will be returning with a new co-host in September! In the meantime, as we develop the re-launch of our show, we'll be airing previously unreleased content and re-releasing some of our favorite episodes. In light of a recent threat by the Department of Justice to bring a lawsuit against Yale University for allegedly discriminating against Asian-American and White applicants, we thought it would be worthwhile to rebroadcast a conversation Kate and Luigi had about the Harvard admission scandal last year.
  • A Continuing Conversation On The Lack Of Diversity In Economics
    CapitalIsn't will be returning with a new co-host in September! In the meantime, as we develop the re-launch of our show, we'll be airing previously unreleased content and re-releasing some of our favorite episodes. On our last episode, we aired pieces of an interview with Lisa Cook, a professor from Michigan State University. We actually had a much longer conversation about the lack of diversity in the economics field that we think deserves to be aired. So, we hope you enjoy listening, and we look forward to sharing the re-launched Capitalisn’t with you in September!
  • Why A Lack of Diversity Is Hurting Economics
    On this episode—Kate Waldock's final episode as a co-host of CapitalIsn't—we tackle a crucial question the economics field is facing: what is it going to do about its lack of diversity? To fully investigate this question, Kate and Luigi are joined by a series of guests who each offer a different perspective on why there's a lack of diversity in economics, what the profession is missing because of it, and what can be done to fix it. Guests: - Peter Henry, William R. Berkley Professor of Economics and Business and former dean of NYU’s Stern School of Business - Lisa Cook, Professor of Economics and International Relations at Michigan State University - Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, founder of the Sadie Collective and an emerging economist - Rohan Williamson, Bolton Sullivan and Thomas A. Dean Chair of International Business and former dean of Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business - Andres Liberman, Chief Data Officer at Burn to Give - Luis Lopez, Assistant Professor of Finance at UIC Business School
  • How A Spectrum Auction Cost Taxpayers Millions
    There is an ongoing debate about whether private equity adds value or simply extracts value. In the economic literature, benefits are better documented than extraction for a very simple reason: when value is created everybody is willing to share the data to show it. When value is extracted, much less so. On this episode, Kate and Luigi present an often overlooked story of how a private equity fund made millions through connections, lobbying, and a spectrum auction.
  • Should Luigi's Pizza File for Bankruptcy?
    The coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on most businesses, but it has been especially hard on small businesses. But should those businesses file for bankruptcy, and what will happen to them if they do? On this episode, Kate and Luigi explain how bankruptcy works...or doesn't work...for small businesses and how the system needs to change.
  • Should We Defund The Police?
    "Defund the police" has become one of the central demands coming from the protests that have arisen following George Floyd's killing at the hands of a white police office. On this episode, Kate and Luigi take an economist's look at the concept of defunding the police.
  • Too Big To Jail
    On this episode, Kate and Luigi use a recent criminal case against Walmart over its sale of opioids to explain the tactics many huge corporations use to dodge the justice system.
  • Coronavirus: The Future Of Universities
    What will universities and colleges look like post-coronavirus? Will the entire industry be disrupted by online learning, will state schools go bankrupt, will elite universities be effected at all? On this episode, Luigi and Kate give their expert analysis as both economists and professors about the future of higher education.
  • Coronavirus: The State Bankruptcy Debate
    States are facing massive shortfalls due to the coronavirus outbreak. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has suggested letting states file for bankruptcy. On this episode, Kate and Luigi explain why the debate over McConnell's proposal is far more complicated than most people think.
  • Coronavirus: The Risk Of Reopening
    Despite warnings from government and health officials, some states are choosing to begin reopening their economies this week by ending lockdown restrictions. On this episode, Luigi and Kate lay out the economic reasons why that could end badly.
  • Coronavirus: How Are We Going To Pay For It?
    Congress has already passed a $2 trillion dollar coronavirus relief bill, the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history. It's half the size of the entire annual federal budget, and another stimulus bill may be on the way. On this episode, Kate and Luigi explain the economic labyrinth of how we pay for these relief bills. Are we just printing money from thin air? How do we navigate issuing debt? And, with special guest Gene Fama, we discuss the possibility of a wealth tax. 
  • Coronavirus: How To Make An Exit
    For the good of public health, it's important that we continue staying in quarantine at least for the next month or two. But, eventually, we will have to leave our homes. On this episode, Kate and Luigi debate the economic implications and strategies for how we exit shelter in place.
  • Coronavirus: The Winners And Losers In The Stimulus Bill
    In order to combat the coronavirus, Congress has passed a $2 trillion-dollar stimulus bill. It targets individuals, small business and large corporations. But, from an economic point of view, who are the real winners and losers in this bill. On this episode, Kate and Luigi analyze the CARES Act. Is it enough money to stabilize our tanking economy, does it target the right people, and does it accomplish the right objectives?
  • Coronavirus: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of The Economic Shutdown
    One of the prominent economic debates to emerge during the coronavirus outbreak has been whether to continue with shelter in place measures that are hurting the economy but, hopefully, slowing the virus' spread. On this episode, Luigi does a cost-benefit analysis that shows why it could be better to keep the economy closed, and debates his proposal with Russ Roberts, host of the popular EconTalk podcast.
  • What Happened To The Middle With Paul Krugman
    If you had to name the most famous living economist, it would be hard to come up with anyone other than Paul Krugman. On this episode, Kate and Luigi talk with Krugman about his new book "Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future", why he thinks America's economy has failed the middle class, and how we can create a better economic future for our children.
  • The CapitalIsn’t Of Coronavirus
    On this episode, Kate and Luigi give an economist view of the coronavirus outbreak. How should we think about the economic trade-offs of interventionist quarantine measures, could this virus change the way we work, should you or should you not be buying up stocks? They tackle these questions and more.
  • The Gig Economy Isn’t What You Think It Is
    Companies like Uber, Lyft, and Doordash have brought the term "gig economy" into our lexicon. But what is the gig economy really? When you start digging into the data, you find it's a lot harder to define than you think. On this episode, Kate and Luigi investigate the pros, cons and myths of the gig economy.
  • Did Economists Ruin The Economy With Binyamin Appelbaum
    Are the economists of the 60s and 70s to blame for our current state of affairs? That's the argument Binyamin Appelbaum makes in his book "The Economists' Hour". On this episode, Kate and Luigi debate the history of economists, the problems with economics today, and what changes could lead to a better economic future.
  • The Controversial Tax Policies Of Emmanuel Saez
    Emmanuel Saez is probably one of the most controversial economists around these days. Recently, he's garnered significant attention for being one of the architects of Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax proposal. On this episode, Luigi and Kate dig into tax policy, the wealth tax and why Saez's work is so controversial.
  • Is The American Presidency For Sale?
    As the Democratic primary is ramping up for the Iowa caucuses, everyone is talking about how much money the candidates have spent. And they're asking whether billionaires like Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg should be able to use their wealth to buy their way into the race or, even buy the presidency? On this episode, Kate and Luigi breakdown the economics of money in politics.
  • The Failure of Russian Capitalism With Bill Browder
    On this podcast we mostly talk about what isn’t working in American capitalism. But, on this episode, we're taking a break to look at how capitalism can go wrong in other countries, specifically...Russia. And we’re going to do that with a very special guest, Putin's so-called number one enemy, Bill Browder.
  • Silicon Valley’s Corporate Culture Problem With Mike Isaac
    Does Silicon Valley have a capitalism problem or does capitalism have a Silicon Valley problem? On this episode, Kate and Luigi sit down with Mike Isaac, New York Times technology reporter and author of "Super Pumped: The Battle For Uber " to find out if these tech startups have a toxic corporate culture issue.
  • Optimizing Our Healthcare System
    You don't need us to tell you there's something very wrong with the American healthcare system. The real question is: what can we actually do to fix it? Could Democratic candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders be right that Medicare for all would be better? Would a single-payer system fix all the frictions in the industry? On this episode, Kate and Luigi delve into the economics and capitalism of the healthcare debate.
  • Shareholder Vote Suppression With SEC Commissioner Rob Jackson
    A common theme on our podcast is whether shareholders have too much power. But if we were going to redistribute that power, to whom should it go? Two recently proposed rule changes at the SEC would transfer more power to CEOs. But do we really want to empower managers to operate with less checks and balances? This week, Kate and Luigi sit down with SEC Commissioner Rob Jackson to talk through these issues and debate the proposed SEC rules.
  • Is Elizabeth Warren Right About Private Equity?
    Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren blames private equity for many of the issues in our economy. She plans to reign it in and regulate it with her new bill the "Stop Wall Street Looting Act". On this episode, Kate and Luigi explain how private equity really works, whether it’s bad or good for society, and they dissect Warren’s proposal to regulate these firms.
  • College Admission (In)Justice: Harvard and Beyond
    Getting into the right college is arguably more important than ever, which has put the justice or injustice of admissions processes in the spotlight. On this episode, Kate and Luigi give a fresh perspective on a recent admissions trial involving Harvard, explain its implications for college admissions in general, and ask whether the way elite universities choose their students is an example of capitalism working or failing.
  • What It Takes To Win The Nobel Prize In Economics
    On this episode, Kate and Luigi explain how to win the econ Nobel, why it's important, and they attempted to predict who the 2019 winner might be.
  • Economic Research: Nothing Precisely or Precisely Nothing?
    On this episode, you're going to hear how the sausage gets made in economic research as Kate and Luigi personally investigate whether private equity is to blame for the retail apocalypse.
  • Should We Let Walmart Regulate Itself?
    In the last few weeks, we've seen two examples of seeming corporate self-regulation. One is Walmart's decision to end all handgun ammunition sales, and the other is the four largest automakers going around the Trump administration's less stringent fuel emission standards to cut a private deal with California that is closer to Obama era-emission standards. But there's an important overarching question to these two stories. Should companies really be taking it upon themselves to address issues when the government doesn't do a good job policing? Should these businesses be punished or praised?
  • Shareholders vs. Stakeholders
    Many are praising a recent Business Roundtable announcement that corporations should serve stakeholders as well as shareholders. On the surface, this may seem like a historic reversal of the status quo that has held since Milton Friedman's famous "shareholder primacy" theory was put forward in the 70s. But it's not that simple. On this episode, Kate and Luigi layout the history of this theory, revealing that it's really been around for as long as we've been asking the most fundamental question in business: what is the purpose of a corporation? They explore that question, and interrogate the possible underlying motives behind the Business Roundtable's decision.
  • Are Stock Buybacks Evil?
    Are stock buybacks evil? A lot of politicians seem to think so. Senators Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer wrote an op-ed in the New York Times this year calling for a limit on corporate buybacks. On this episode, Kate and Luigi break down what stock buybacks really are, how long they've been around, and whether we should ban them.
  • Universal Basic Income: Why and How?
    If you've been paying attention to Andrew Yang's Democratic presidential campaign, you're probably familiar with the concept of universal basic income. On this episode, Kate and Luigi give the economic outlook on how a UBI might work, or not work, and investigate how automation and techno-anxiety are driving the conversation.
  • The Student Debt Crisis: There's No Such Thing As A Free College
    With Democratic presidential candidates making the student debt crisis one of the central issues of the 2020 race, Kate and Luigi give an in-depth economics look at the ideas of free college tuition and debt forgiveness, explain the history of how we got to into this student debt crisis, and debate some solutions for how to get out of it.
  • The Mickey Mouse Monopoly Club
    Last episode, Kate and Luigi discussed how the patent system creates a temporary monopoly designed to make the incentives to innovate. But the real question is does the patent system, and our entire system of intellectual property for that matter, actually accomplish that goal? We start to answer that question by investigating one of the most powerful figures in intellectual property...Mickey Mouse.
  • Luigi Submits A Patent
    After our series about the dangers of monopolies, we're going to investigate a situation in which the government actually works to create monopolies on purpose: the patent system. On the first of two episodes, Luigi and Kate examine whether our current patent system is helping or hurting capitalism.
  • Regulating Facebook and Google Pt 3: Tyler Cowen Rebuttals
    In part three of our series investigating how digital platforms like Facebook and Google should be regulated, Tyler Cowen from George Mason University argues to Kate and Luigi that more regulation may not be the answer to all our questions about digital platforms.
  • Regulating Facebook and Google Pt 2: Politics
    In part two of our series investigating how digital platforms like Facebook and Google should be regulated, Kate and Luigi dissect the ways these companies interact with our political system by speaking with Nolan McCarty, Susan Dod Brown Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University.
  • Regulating Facebook and Google Pt 1: Markets
    As digital platforms like Facebook and Google become globally powerful, some countries are investigating and even proposing legislation to regulate these companies. Building off a conference happening at the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago, Kate and Luigi speak with Fiona Scott Morton, a Professor of Economics at Yale, to interrogate these platforms from a traditional market structure perspective.
  • The Morality or Immorality of A Wealth Tax
    With Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren proposing wealth taxes, Kate and Luigi break down how these taxes have or haven't worked in other countries and whether they could work in America.
  • The Ups and Downs of IPOs
    There’s an acronym you’ve probably heard in the news a lot lately: IPO. With companies like Pinterest, Airbnb and UBER all considering going public this year, Kate and Luigi break down why these companies already have huge valuations, and whether rich people have an unfair advantage when it comes to investing.
  • Codetermination: A Seat At The Table
    Last year Elizabeth Warren proposed the controversial Accountable Capitalism Act. One of its most talked about proposals was focused on "codetermination." Kate & Luigi explain how it works, its effectiveness and examine one country that's been trying it out since the 1950s.
  • Is Global Antitrust Off the Rails?
    In the wake of a blocked merger between the German and French rail giants Siemens and Alstom, Kate & Luigi debate the role of global antitrust regulators. How do they protect consumers while also helping domestic companies compete with state-supported rivals from China?
  • Millennial Socialists
    Are millennials giving up on capitalism? A recent survey found a majority now prefer socialism. Luigi gets the scoop from our resident millennial, Kate, who says most simply want European-style social welfare, student-loan debt relief and campaign finance reform. Is that really so radical?
  • Pollution Pt 2: Contaminated Research
    In our second episode on pollution, investigative journalist Carey Gillam joins Kate and Luigi to discuss her new book "Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science." Gillam reveals how pesticide companies secretly influence scientific research and avoid EPA regulations.
  • Pollution Pt 1: The Sticky Side of Teflon
    In the first of a two-part series on pollution, Kate and Luigi discuss the health hazards and economic costs of air pollution and contaminated drinking water from the toxic chemical PFOA (C8) found in Teflon. How did DuPont skirt regulation and avoid corporate responsibility for so long?
  • Warrenomics
    As Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) jumps into the 2020 Presidential race, Kate and Luigi examine her legislative record and economic policy proposals, including several bold ideas to reform American capitalism.
  • Why Capitalism Needs Journalism
    Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steven Pearlstein drops by to talk with Kate & Luigi about the incredible shrinking newspaper -- especially the business section -- and why that's bad for the economy. His new book "Can American Capitalism Survive?" argues that the mantra of “maximizing shareholder value” ultimately caused Americans to lose faith in the free market.
  • The Financial Assassin
    Fahmi Quadir thinks short sellers get a bad rap. Known as the "financial assassin" for helping expose fraud and misconduct at Valeant, she tells Luigi that Tesla might be next. But Kate isn't convinced -- she thinks journalists and regulators are the real heroes.
  • Global Inequality Pt 2: Divergence
    In the second of a two-part look at global inequality Kate & Luigi talk about the downside of globalization. A listener's email sparks a conversation about what's driving the growing wage gap within the U.S. We survey the latest research on the lingering effects of the 'China Shock' and debate how to reverse the trend before the people revolt.
  • Global Inequality Pt 1: Convergence
    In the first of a two-part look at global inequality Kate & Luigi talk about the upside of globalization -- a decrease in income inequality between countries over the last few decades. How much of this can be attributed to China, and what was the secret to their success?
  • The People Vs. Democracy
    Yascha Mounk talks with Kate & Luigi about his new book "The People Vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It." Recorded in front of a live audience, the conversation touches on recent populist uprisings and the extent to which they threaten liberal democracy.
  • Brazil on the Brink
    Populism strikes again as the world's 4th largest democracy is set to elect controversial right-wing politician Jair Bolsonaro as its next leader. Writer and lawyer Glenn Greenwald (now living in Brazil) tells Kate & Luigi how rampant corruption, violent crime and a struggling economy have given rise to yet another populist movement.
  • Ten Years Later Pt 3: The Next Crisis
    In our third and final episode on the 2008 financial crisis, Kate & Luigi look at recent volatility in the markets and try to predict the cause of the next financial crash with help from prominent economists Robert Shiller and Lawrence Summers.
  • Live taping of Capitalisn't in Chicago on October 8th
    Join us for a live taping of Capitalisn't on October 8 at the Union League Club in Chicago! Author Yascha Mounk will discuss his latest book, The People vs. Democracy, with co-hosts Luigi Zingales and Kate Waldock. Click here for details and free tickets! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-people-vs-democracy-with-yascha-mounk-katherine-waldock-and-luigi-zingales-tickets-49992656381
  • Ten Years Later Pt 2: The Aftermath
    The second in a 3-part series on the 2008 financial crisis. In the weeks after the crash Luigi remembers petitioning the government for a better bank bailout. Looking back, he and Kate review everything from TARP to Dodd-Frank to see how we averted a worse recession. But did some CEOs get away with fraud?
  • Ten Years Later Pt 1: The Build-Up
    The first in a 3-part series on the 2008 financial crisis. Kate tells Luigi about being an intern at Lehman Brothers when it collapsed and then we debate the causes including subprime mortgages, investor fraud and an ill-advised speech from former President George W. Bush.
  • Sex, Power and the Ivory Tower
    Economists experience their first major #MeToo moment. Kate and Luigi explore the larger implications of a recent case involving a Columbia University professor who was found liable for retaliation against a female junior faculty member.
  • Antitrust Pt 3: The Europeans
    Our third and final episode on antitrust law looks at the E.U.'s recent $5 billion fine against Google. Kate and Luigi hear about double-sided markets from Nobel-winning economist Jean Tirole and explore the E.U. vs. U.S. approach to antitrust enforcement.
  • Antitrust Pt 2: The Populists
    The second in a special 3-part series on antitrust law. Kate and Luigi talk with Lina Khan, author of the article “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” and a member of the New Brandeis Movement, which believes that antitrust enforcement should be more broadly applied and not just rely on consumer welfare.
  • Antitrust Pt 1: The Establishment
    The first in a special 3-part series on antitrust law. In the wake of the approved merger between giants AT&T and Time Warner, Kate and Luigi talk with a leading expert, Carl Shapiro, about the evolving concept of consumer welfare and whether antitrust law needs to change with the times.
  • The Reluctant Central Banker
    Do central bankers have too much power? Paul Tucker, a former official at the Bank of England during the 2008 financial crisis and author of the new book 'Unelected Power,' explains to Kate and Luigi how technocratic hubris can imperil democracy.
  • Abdomenable Transactions
    Should a kidney be sold to the highest bidder? Luigi and Kate debate Nobel-winning economist Al Roth whose algorithm for kidney transplants has saved more than 6000 lives. Roth says matching markets could be used for everything from online dating to the global refugee crisis.
  • All Roads Lead to Rome
    Why was Steve Bannon in Rome last week? Luigi and Kate look at the recent formation of Italy's populist government and analyze Bannon's attempt to forge a similar left-right coalition in the U.S. uniting supporters of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.
  • Two Billion 'Truman Shows'
    Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google and “the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience,” warns Kate & Luigi about targeted digital advertising that creates individual, orchestrated experiences dictated by nothing more than an algorithm.
  • Opinions for Sale
    As ad revenue continues to decline more and more news organizations are turning to paid and sponsored content. Luigi and Kate revisit the decades-old music payola scandal and debate how to ensure proper disclosure in the digital age.
  • Mo Crypto Mo Problems
    In the brave new world of cryptocurrency the latest frenzy involves Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), which make Bitcoin look tame by comparison. Luigi and Kate explore this volatile, largely unregulated market and consider creating their own ICO.
  • Worse Than Brexit
    ‘Quitaly.’ ‘Italeave.’ Whatever you call it, Italy’s recent election results are stoking fears that the once staunch supporter of the EU may be the next country to exit. Kate asks Luigi, our resident Italian expert, how we got here and why it matters.
  • Regulating Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction
    10 years after dark pools of derivatives contributed to the Great Recession, former Commodity Futures Trading Commissioner Sharon Bowen tells Kate & Luigi how she helped bring transparency to the market and visited a few grain silos along the way.
  • A Firm Grip on the Labor Market
    The U.S. economy may be booming, but despite a recent uptick wage growth remains stubbornly flat. Kate & Luigi examine the effect of monopsonies in the labor market among concentrated industries like Big Tech. Are companies colluding against workers and driving down wages?
  • O. Contin Pusher, M.D.
    Are doctors and pharmaceutical companies to blame for the opioid epidemic? Kate & Luigi look at the role of supply and demand in fueling the distribution of prescription painkillers, and discuss the regulatory ramifications for medical marijuana.
  • The Moral Case Against the MBA
    Are elite MBA programs producing morally bankrupt administrators? Duff McDonald, author of “The Golden Passport,” tries to convince Luigi & Kate that conflicts of interest and flawed case studies amount to an unethical education that harms society.
  • Capital Isn't in the 21st Century
    Five years after Thomas Piketty’s surprise bestseller captured the zeitgeist of an anxious age, Kate and Luigi revisit the book to see how it holds up in the current political and economic climate. The verdict? Intriguing analysis, but limited impact.
  • Strange Fedfellows
    It’s been 6 years since a member of the Federal Reserve improperly leaked information to an analyst. Kate & Luigi wonder what's really changed. Is the Fed still too cozy with big banks, the media and others with a financial stake in monetary policy?
  • College: What is it Good For?
    As college enrollment goes up, social mobility continues its 50-year decline. Luigi and Kate look for answers in the latest research on the role of higher education. Are today’s universities engines of social mobility or simply bastions of privilege?
  • Mutual Understanding: Is Your 401k Working Against You?
    Luigi shops for an airline ticket and ponders how our retirement investments might be hurting our wallets. New research suggests that giant mutual funds with large stakes in the companies of one industry can lead to reduced competition and higher prices.
  • Obama Wanted a Corporate Tax Cut Too
    The new U.S. tax reform bill includes a dramatic reduction in the corporate tax rate. Is this a hand-out to the rich or a necessary measure to spur the U.S. economy in the face of global competition? Luigi and Kate debate the pros and cons and break down the law’s impact on pass-through businesses.
  • Hail to the Chief of Facebook
    Not long ago Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted at a run for political office. Luigi and Kate debate whether a President Zuckerberg would give the social media giant a dangerous monopoly. Should government regulators do something to limit its power?
  • Capitalisn't Trailer
    Luigi and Kate deliberate over the topics that will be discussed on Capitalisn't -- they range from market power to Italian history. Visit us at http://www.capitalisnt.com to learn more.