Capital Institute Blog

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  • Carbon Bubble ·

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
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  • Derivatives ·

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
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  • Capitalism ·

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
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  • Biomimicry ·

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
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  • Capitalism ·

Reimagining Capitalism in Post Sandy America

No scientist will tell you with certainty whether doping was the reason Lance Armstrong won any particular leg of his seven Tour de France titles. You know where I’m headed with this reasoning. Bloomberg Businessweek put it rather succinctly on this week’s cover: “It’s Global Warming, STUPID.” For the first time since 1984, not one challenge
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  • Advanced Manufacturing ·

The Next (Regenerative) Industrial Age

Last week we visited Dan Swinney, Executive Director of the Chicago Manufacturing Renaissance Council and the Center for Labor and Community Research, as Capital Institute puts the finishing touches on our first iBook, The Next (Regenerative) Industrial Age: The Story of the National Manufacturing
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  • Financial Reform ·

Of Ina and Ahab

In her New York Times Magazine cover story on the fall of the well-regarded Ina Drew titled “Swallowed by the London Whale,” Susan Dominus ends the article quoting Drew’s former colleague who recently lamented with Drew: “You know, Ina, sometimes I think I’d give my right arm to return to those (good ol’) days at Chemical (Bank), you know?
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  • Climate Change ·

The Case for Spending Down a Charitable Foundation

“Have things become so critical – both in terms of the scale of the challenges we face but also the possibility of change – that this radical step [of spending down our assets over the next ten to fifteen years] is a good move?” This is the question recently put to the advisor of a foundation deeply concerned about the…
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  • Future of Finance ·

While Rome (and the Western US) Burns…

It’s officially election season, and (surprise) we’re off to a terrific start. There are plenty of very real short and medium term issues for the candidates to mold their ideologies around. Most notably, like much of the so-called “developed world,” the US has a jobs crisis, both in quantity and quality, that challenges modern capitalism for answers it does not…
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  • Financial Transactions Tax ·

Good Knight HFT

The futile debate between market fundamentalists and those who claim you can’t stop “progress” on the one hand, and proponents of tighter government regulation and oversight on the other continues on with no resolution in sight. From too-big-to-fail banks, a second front is now opening, this one focused on the structure and regulation of equity trading in the United States.
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  • Ecological Footprint ·

Financial Overshoot

Last week, I gave a talk to the Missouri Association of Public Employee Retirement Systems annual meeting.  This was the first time I presented my developing thesis of financial overshoot, which arithmetically accompanies ecological overshoot unless we manage to
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  • Future of Finance ·

Off-Grid Financing

The ramifications of the Libor scandal—what Warren Buffett glibly called a can of worms that affects the whole world—grow by the day.  Criminal indictments of individuals, even if firms are too big to indict, appear to be in the making as the tsunami’s shock waves are about to spread to many of the usual suspects. One can