125 episodes

Is capitalism the engine of destruction or the engine of prosperity? On this podcast we talk about the ways capitalism is—or more often isn’t—working in our world today. Hosted by Vanity Fair contributing editor, Bethany McLean and world renowned economics professor Luigi Zingales, we explain how capitalism can go wrong, and what we can do to fix it.

Cover photo attributions: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/research/stigler/about/capitalisnt

Capitalisn't University of Chicago Podcast Network

    • Government
    • 4.5 • 402 Ratings

Is capitalism the engine of destruction or the engine of prosperity? On this podcast we talk about the ways capitalism is—or more often isn’t—working in our world today. Hosted by Vanity Fair contributing editor, Bethany McLean and world renowned economics professor Luigi Zingales, we explain how capitalism can go wrong, and what we can do to fix it.

Cover photo attributions: https://www.chicagobooth.edu/research/stigler/about/capitalisnt

    The Intangible Economy with Jonathan Haskel + Roe v Wade & Corporate America

    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)

    • 56 min
    Is Common Good Capitalism The Answer? With Oren Cass + Elon Musk Buys Twitter

    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)

    • 1 hr 7 min
    Ukraine: The Price of Democracy with Tymofiy Mylovanov

    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/

    • 42 min
    Ukraine: Sanctioning the Oligarchs' Enablers With Bill Browder

    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.

    • 41 min
    Ukraine: The Privatization of Sanctions with Richard Edelman

    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?

    • 38 min
    Ukraine: A Restart Of History

    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.

    • 29 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
402 Ratings

402 Ratings

Arlie K ,

Seriously impactful!

Capitalisn't has quickly become a favorite in my feed! Every episode flies by, and I always walk away feeling far more knowledgeable and better informed. Highly recommend tuning in!

Aaron Ram 28 ,

Insightful podcast

These days the old press and social media are dumbing down information and politicizing information. This is one of the avenues to obtain unbiased information.

Sshef ,

Sanction insights

Very perceptive comments on the unintended consequences of sanctions and why China was farsighted in controlling social media as they are not neutral players

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