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.
If you would like to send us feedback, suggestions for guests we should bring on, or connect with Bethany and Luigi, please email: contact at capitalisnt dot com. If you like our show, we'd greatly appreciate you giving us a rating or a review. It helps other listeners find us too.
A Conservative Critique Of Capitalism, With Patrick Deneen
In his new book, Regime Change: Toward a Postliberal Future, renowned political philosopher Patrick Deneen argues that the liberal ideology that has shaped capitalism for centuries has also failed to deliver on its promises of freedom, equality, and prosperity. Is he able to offer a compelling alternative that serves the interests of the common good over those of wealthy elites?
Deneen, whose previous book "Why Liberalism Failed" was acclaimed by the likes of former U.S. President Obama, joins Bethany and Luigi to discuss his proposed 'Regime Change' and its implications for capitalism and the market economy. Can his vision of a postliberal future offer a more just and sustainable economic system, one that addresses the pressing challenges of our time? Can we have progress without progressivism?
The Most Important Guidelines You Didn’t Know About, With Susan Athey
As companies become increasingly big through mergers and acquisitions -- especially in technology, health care, and several other industries -- how should rules and regulations change with the times?
Freshly minted and hot off the press: The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently released an updated set of draft "Merger Guidelines," which could reshape the landscape of corporate mergers and acquisitions both in the U.S. and globally. Esteemed Stanford professor and Chief Economist at the DOJ's Antitrust Division, Susan Athey, joins Bethany and Luigi to discuss these changes. Why did the DOJ and FTC make them? How will they impact the way companies approach mergers and acquisitions? And what do they mean for consumers, competition, labor, and the broader economy?
Key Lessons From The “Chicago Boys” Chile Experiment
Is there a fundamental tension between democratic freedom, economic growth, and social equality?
Chilean economist and UCLA Professor Sebastian Edwards joins Bethany and Luigi to discuss his recent book, "The Chile Project: The Story of the Chicago Boys and the Downfall of Neoliberalism." The Chicago Boys were a group of free-market economists trained at the University of Chicago who shaped economic policy and reforms in Chile during General Augusto Pinochet's rule. In the book, Edwards (who also received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago in 1981) outlines the complexities of implementing market-oriented policies in a society undergoing rapid change. With him, Bethany and Luigi discuss: Could the Chilean experience offer lessons for other nations grappling with similar policy choices?
We’d like to thank our former Journalist in Residence, Rodrigo Cardenas (Editor at Chilean publication La Tercera), for his continued engagement with the Stigler Center. Upon our request, Rodrigo kindly submitted a couple of insightful questions for consideration in this interview.
The Evolution of Antitrust: From Brandeis To Biden
A wet hot antitrust summer is in the news, mainly because of the Biden administration appointees continuing to take an aggressive approach to enforcement. Why is this important, and how has antitrust thinking evolved over time? In this conversation, Bethany and Luigi draw from his long-standing research and from the Stigler Center's most recent antitrust conference exploring new paradigms of traditional economic ideas. Together, they trace the evolution of antitrust from its fraught foundations to today's version, shaped by decades of political, economic, and legal minds. In the process, they spell out what a changing antitrust landscape could mean for us all.
An Insider's Look At ESG Revisited
Republican presidential candidates, such as Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy, continue to keep ESG in the national conversation. Ramaswamy in particular called it "woke capitalism" in his book and on our podcast. As we take our summer break, we decided to re-release our conversation with Tariq Fancy, BlackRock’s former global chief investment officer for sustainable investing, whose criticism of ESG is based not on its goals, but rather on an insider's knowledge of how it actually works.
We’re taking a short summer break as we put together some fascinating episodes on the past and future of antitrust, the shortcomings of neoliberalism, and whether science and law are for sale in our capitalist system. In the meantime, we thought we might re-share some of our most thought-provoking episodes that are still relevant, maybe even more relevant, today. I hope you get as much out of it on a second listen as we did, and we’ll be back with brand new episodes soon. Thanks for listening.
The Private Equity Debate Revisited
In the last episode of our podcast, we had a mini version of a never-ending debate on this show: whether private equity is good or bad. Afterward we talked about doing a full episode debating the pros and cons of PE until we realized, we’d already done it.
The debate features Jeff Hooke, author of the book "The Myth of Private Equity," and Chicago Booth Professor Steven Kaplan, once referred to by Fortune Magazine as "probably the foremost private equity scholar in the galaxy."
We’re taking a short summer break as we put together some fascinating episodes on the past and future of antitrust, the shortcomings of neoliberalism, and whether science and law are for sale in our capitalist system. In the meantime, we thought we might re-share some of our most thought-provoking episodes that are still relevant, maybe even more relevant, today. Our prior debate on private equity seemed like the perfect place to start. I hope you get as much out of it on a second listen as we did, and we’ll be back with brand new episodes soon. Thanks for listening.
Timely and Insightful
The SVB episode was timely, landing within days of the entire collapse. The guests along with Luigi and Bethany provided the expected insightful explanations of what happened and how it could be fixed. Keep it up!
Sometimes good, mostly harmful both-sidism
They think they have logic, but they live in a bubble of both-sidisms. They really have an outdated view of the current left, middle, right positions. They also seem to ignore things like the extremism of the right today and the history of their anti-union stands as it relates to the changing nature of the US’ workforce, claiming for example things like the right is for workers rights. I urge them to get past their biases created from negative experiences in Italy or other places. They get angry at the left for being “too Machiavellian” and think the right has the economic models on “their side.” Really absurd some of their positions.
Excellent podcast / review on the McKinsey episode
This is a fabulous podcast and I always get excited when a new episode comes out. As to the McKinsey episode, I agree with Luigi that the author shied away from many of his questions and frankly the interview part was disappointing (not because of the lack of trying on the interviewers’ part). It felt like the author was just trying to sell his book and refused to go into deeper analysis. There’s always a way for authors to promote their books on podcasts by going into just enough details and giving insights so that listeners are intrigued to purchase the book, but this author did it terribly. The common theme is that McKinsey is the big bad, they tell everyone to cut costs where it shouldn’t, and they take a big chunk out of it. There’s nothing deeper to be told by this author. I enjoyed the latter half of the discussion without the author. Hope y’all can expand on the consulting industry as a whole in a future episode.