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The Future of Finance

Welcome to our blog, “The Future of Finance.” Here you will find expert opinions and analysis on the critical challenges of finance in the context of forging a just and sustainable economic system. Here we highlight fundamental issues requiring long-term attention, and provide commentary on the financial events and issues of the day looked at through a Capital Institute lens. Please note that all submitted comments are moderated and will be posted if they are on-topic and not offensive.

 

The Central Contradiction of Capitalism that Piketty Overlooked

It is instructive to observe the reaction to the Piketty phenomenon — a 700-page treatise on political economy that became an overnight Amazon bestseller deserving, according to Larry Summers,...

Wed, 21 May 2014
High-Frequency Trading is a Blight on Markets. Tobin Tax Can Help.

This blog post previously ran in The Guardian's Business section.

A tax on financial transactions can calm the frenzy of speculation fuelled by computer-driven...

Fri, 04 Apr 2014
Exclusive Sneak Peek at "Limits to Investment"

Perhaps the most important book missing from the bookshelves of most financiers is Limits to Growth, written in 1972 under the auspices of the Club of Rome.

Demonized as neo-Malthusian alarmism when it came out, the book has since sold 12 million copies, been updated three times, each validating the original message, and it...

Fri, 21 Mar 2014
Can We Escape Bank Regulation by Lawsuit?

When I worked at JPMorgan in the 80s and 90s, even in the context of deregulation, the concept of “self-regulation” in the financial industry was discussed with a straight face. 

Last week, Better Markets, a sophisticated civil society non-profit organization, run by former Skadden attorney Dennis Kelleher and committed to protecting the public interest in the...

Thu, 20 Feb 2014
Transcending the Tension between Climate Change and Inequality

This year’s gathering of the World Economic Forum at Davos was kicked off with the reading of a letter from Pope Francis, which ends: “I ask you to ensure that humanity is served by wealth and not ruled by it.” One can almost feel the squirming.

I recently participated in a roundtable among leading thinkers, activists, and social entrepreneurs on the need to put...

Tue, 28 Jan 2014
Startled by the Clarity of Regeneration

Several years ago, my friend and Capital Institute Advisor Simon Rich introduced a group of us to the hauntingly poetic wisdom of T.S. Eliot:

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

...

Mon, 16 Dec 2013
Evergreen Direct Investing: A Two-Part Series

Here in The Future of Financewe previously...

Thu, 05 Dec 2013
Harvard and Brown Fail Moral Leadership Exam

At a time when institutions of business and government continue to fail society, two of our leading academic institutions missed the opportunity to provide essential moral leadership on the most pressing challenge ever faced in the history of human civilization.

Harvard President Drew Faust issued her October statement...

Tue, 19 Nov 2013
6 Reasons Why Stock Markets Are No Longer Fit For Purpose

Another version of this post ran earlier today on The Guardian's Sustainable Business Blog.

6 Reasons Why Stock Markets Are No Longer Fit For Purpose: ...

Mon, 21 Oct 2013
Are We Not All Jasmines Now?

What is it about a Woody Allen film that leaves us always with a discomforting feeling of identification with its most abysmal character? This is certainly true with his latest film “Blue Jasmine,” which initially disappointed me, Kate Blanchett’s hauntingly brilliant performance notwithstanding. But given a little more time and reflection, its deeply disquieting meaning...

Tue, 20 Aug 2013
Commodities are Different (In a “Full World”): Part 3

(This post is the third in an occasional series on why stronger oversight of commodity markets must be a public policy priority.)

JPMorgan has announced that it plans to exit the physical commodities businesses, while remaining committed to its historic roots in commodity...

Mon, 05 Aug 2013
Beyond Sustainability: The Road to Regenerative Capitalism

Thomas Berry tells us, “It’s all a question of story.  We are in trouble now because we don’t have a good story.  We are in between stories.  The old story, the account of how the world came to be and how we fit into it, is no longer effective.”

For better or worse, economy, from the local to the global, is now a central component of the human...

Mon, 08 Jul 2013
CO2 400ppm Milestone Hit Last Week

Sun, 12 May 2013
How Stewardship Investors Can Drive the Great Transition to Regenerative Prosperity

We are pleased to introduce this week’s guest blogger, Tim MacDonald, who is joining Capital Institute as a Senior Fellow. Out of his experience as an attorney organizing partnerships in tax-preferred projects like renewable energy and affordable housing, Tim has crafted a model for stewardship investing that we believe has real potential as an alternative to capital markets...

Mon, 29 Apr 2013
Beyond Divestment

Two years ago, students at Swarthmore College began a fossil fuel divestment campaign, initially focused on coal. Last November, 350.org, the grassroots activist NGO dedicated to reducing carbon in the atmosphere to 350 parts per million joined the fight with a nationwide “Do the Math” campus tour. The movement spread to cities, and soon to...

Thu, 28 Mar 2013
Why I Marched Against the XL Pipeline

My daughter and I joined an estimated 50,000 demonstrators in Washington, D.C. marching against the XL Pipeline that would connect the Canadian Tar Sands to American refineries.  After a half century on this planet, I took to the streets.  Here’s why.

The “business as usual” arguments in favor of building the pipeline as articulated by the liberal and...

Tue, 19 Feb 2013
What JPMorgan's Recently Released Internal Reports Unintentionally Say

After apologizing at Davos - but only to his shareholders - according to William Cohan on the Bloomberg View, the JPMorgan Chairman and CEO hastened to add about 2012, “We did have record profits. Life goes on.”

It is true; JPMorgan reported a strong financial performance in 2012, “London Whale” trading fiasco notwithstanding. I must admit that despite my 18...

Mon, 04 Feb 2013
Of Guns, Whales, Freedom, and Justice

After visiting an awe-inspiring women’s empowerment program at work in several rural villages north of Delhi, our host at the Ashram, scanning his Blackberry, related the news: a horrific shooting…assault rifle…children slaughtered…in a school…in Connecticut (my son’s school is in the state)…and then after what seemed like an endless pause as I...

Mon, 14 Jan 2013
Guest Post: Slow Cities and the Transition to a New Economics

You know the picture: coffee in one hand, smartphone in the other, feet impatiently waiting for the traffic to go by— such is the life of many an American urbanite. I could be describing anyone from a college student to a business executive but the story varies little: we are always in a hurry, especially in our cities.

Now that the world population has climbed past seven...

Mon, 14 Jan 2013
Will Sandy Trigger Our Great Transformation?

We are now a couple of weeks into the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy, and no one has yet improved upon the analysis of Bloomberg Businessweek’s November 1 cover story: “It’s Global Warming, STUPID.”

In 1944, the famous political economist Karl Polanyi explained the root...

Mon, 26 Nov 2012