Capital Institute Blog

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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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  • 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
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  • Future of Finance ·

Will Barclays’ CEO Surprise Us?

Like Lloyd Blankfein with the Abacus fiasco, and Jamie Dimon with “the whale trade,” Barclays CEO Bob Diamond has an unparalleled opportunity to surprise us this week during his appearance before Parliament to explain the most recent financial scandal involving the systematic manipulation of LIBOR, the benchmark interbank lending rate upon which hundreds of trillions of dollars
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  • Financial Reform ·

Is Jamie Dimon’s Business First Class?

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon will today, once again, stand before the authors of Dodd-Frank and attempt to make the case for why a $2 billion trading loss was a stupid mistake, not a willful breach of at least the intent of the law. Our representatives who wrote the law should hold him to the standards set by JPMorgan’s own Code…
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  • Future of Finance ·

Freedom in the Anthropocene

Much needs to change in the Anthropocene, including our willingness to have constraints placed on our precious right to individual freedom.  This is particularly challenging for Americans whose country was founded on an Enlightenment-inspired understanding of freedom, uninformed by the advances of modern
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  • Future of Finance ·

Real Prosperity Starts Here

I spent two days last week in Grand Rapids, Michigan at the “Real Prosperity Starts Here” conference organized by the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE).  Even though I was only able to attend for a short time, I left re-energized and excited by all I saw and engaged in.  The annual BALLE conference, which has for 10 years…