Capitalisn't

By University of Chicago Podcast Network

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John C
 Feb 7, 2019
Splendid, nuanced critiques of our system of political economy.

Description

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

Episode Date
Is Discrimination Still Causing The Gender Pay Gap With Claudia Goldin
00:51:45
If Claudia Goldin, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, wins the Nobel Prize in Economics next week, no-one will be surprised. Her work studying the intersection of gender and labor has been vital, both to the world and the field. But there's a curious argument in her newest book "Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey Toward Equity". Goldin says that though the gender pay gap persists, it's not clear that gender discrimination is the cause. She thinks that job design may be the real culprit, and that we need to rethink the flexibility and substitutability of work. She joins us to discuss her book on this episode! Plus, in light of leaked internal research showing Facebook has known their products are harmful to kids and teenagers, we discuss whistleblowers and data-blackboxes for this week's capital is/isn't.
Oct 07, 2021
Why Capitalism Isn't Without Democracy
00:25:05
We’re taking a week off as school starts back up, but we wanted to reshare this episode with you this week. For a show about economics, we talk about democracy a lot. But there’s an important reason for that. Without a strong democracy to build capitalism on top of, it’ll always be an isn’t. So please enjoy our conversation about the important intersections of capitalism and democracy. We’ll be back in two weeks with an all new Capitalisn't.
Sep 23, 2021
The Smoke and Mirrors of ESG Investing with Tariq Fancy
00:51:39
Environmental, social and governance investing, also know as ESG, has exploded in recent years. It promises to help us solve problems like climate change and inequality all while allowing investors to still turn a profit. But BlackRock’s former global chief investment office for sustainable investing, Tariq Fancy, says it isn't what's being advertised. Recently, he penned a blog post claiming that not only are ESGs not making societal problems better, they may actively be making them worse.
Sep 09, 2021
The Breaking Point Of Democracy With Morton Schapiro and Gary Morson
00:45:49
Capitalism doesn't work without democracy. So, it's particularly concerning that polarization and fundamentalism are threatening the underlying principles that make our democracy possible. A new book by Northwestern President and economist Morton Schapiro and literary scholar Gary Saul Morson called "Minds Wide Shut" explores the forces that are destroying the open-mindedness democracy requires. We talk with them about their book and discuss solutions on this episode.
Aug 27, 2021
The Cost of Meritocracy With Michael Sandel
00:54:07
Does meritocracy create a better world for everyone, or does it create massive inequality? There's been a lot of debate in the last few years about meritocracy, and it's become even more pressing in light of the pandemic. If essential workers are "essential", are they really less meritorious than a banker or accountant? So, we decided to discuss both sides of this debate in our next two episodes. On this episode, we'll be joined by Michael Sandel who teaches political philosophy at Harvard University and is author of the new book "The Tyranny of Merit: What's Become of the Common Good". He'll be making a nuanced case against meritocracy. Also, be sure to stick around for a new surprise after the episode.
Aug 12, 2021
Introducing: Entitled
00:37:20
The University of Chicago Podcast Network is excited to announce the launch of a new show, it’s called "Entitled" and it’s about human rights. Co-hosted by lawyers and UChicago Law School Professors, Claudia Flores and Tom Ginsburg, Entitled explores the stories around why rights matter and what’s the matter with rights. We’re going to share the first episode of that show with you this week, and recommend you go subscribe! We’ll be back next week with a new the second installment of our meritocracy series! Please enjoy Entitled, and we’ll see you next week!
Aug 05, 2021
The Promise Of Meritocracy With Adrian Wooldridge
00:44:06
Does meritocracy create a better world for everyone, or does it create massive inequality? There's been a lot of debate in the last few years about meritocracy, and it's become even more pressing in light of the pandemic. If essential workers are "essential", are they really less meritorious than a banker or accountant? So, we decided to discuss both sides of this debate in our next two episodes. On this episode, we'll be joined by Adrian Wooldridge, political editor at The Economist and author of the new book "The Aristocracy of Talent: How Meritocracy Made the Modern World". He'll be making the nuanced case in favor of meritocracy, and we'll hear the other side on our next episode.
Jul 29, 2021
The Engine No. 1 David vs Exxon Goliath With Chris James
00:49:31
If shareholders are the owners of a company, they should be able to get that company to do what they want. But what happens when shareholders want something other than profits at any cost? In a major moment for what's come to be called "shareholder capitalism", activist hedge fund Engine No. 1 successfully claimed three seats on Exxon's board of directors this year. Their explicit mission is to force the energy goliath to turn away from carbon and toward more clean forms of energy. On this episode, we speak with the founder of Engine No. 1, Chris James, about how they approached the proxy fight, his views on shareholder capitalism, and the future of activist hedge funds.
Jul 15, 2021
The Price Of A Vaccine With Moderna CFO David Meline
00:41:58
There are plenty of lingering questions about the development of the coronavirus vaccine. How was the pricing decided? Did the public-private partnership with the government work? Who's right in the debate over patent rights and profit sharing? There's no better person to put these questions to than David Meline, the CFO of Moderna. He joins our podcast this week to talk through the political economy of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Jul 01, 2021
How The Elites Are Losing Control With Martin Gurri
00:47:06
Occupy Wall Street, Italy's Five Star Movement, the indignados in Spain—we've seen an increase in anti-elite protests by a disabused public over the last two decades. But what has caused this "revolt of the public"? Martin Gurri, Visiting Fellow at George Mason University's Mercatus Center and former CIA media analyst, argues that elites have overpromised and under delivered all while losing their monopoly on information flows. But have our emperors lost their clothes recently, or did they never have them to begin with?
Jun 17, 2021
Why Do We Have High Prices But Stagnating Wages?
00:45:54
In the last few decades, American wages have stagnated for everyone except those at the very top. Yet, during this same period, worker productivity and corporate profits have soared. Why these two trends have coincided has perplexed economists. But, in a new book, economist Jan Eeckhout proposes a simple answer: market power. We discuss his proposal and possible solutions for this problem on this episode.
Jun 03, 2021
Who Will Regulate The Regulators: Stigler 50 Years Later
00:30:10
Have you ever heard the term "regulatory capture"? It's a famous economic theory that the regulation and regulators we create to keep certain industries in check can be captured and bent to the desires of those very industries. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the paper that first proposed this theory. It's called "The Theory of Economic Regulation" and it was written by none other than the namesake of the center that produces this podcast, George Stigler. We recently hosted a conference of some of the most prominent economists to reflect on why the ideas of this paper are still revered and relevant today.
May 20, 2021
Worried about Inflation? So is Fmr Central Banker Mervyn King
00:42:00
Pres. Biden is pursuing some of the largest spending proposals in U.S. history, which should be sparking concerns about inflation and interest rates. But most prominent bankers and economists have told us not to worry. Fmr Central Banker Mervyn King says they shouldn't be so confident. On this episode, we speak with Lord King about his concerns of coming inflation, how he thinks central banks didn't learn the right lessons after 2008, and why he thinks the industry has become too reliant on models.
May 06, 2021
Is The Federal Reserve An "Engine of Inequality"?
00:43:58
What is causing the widening wealth gap in America? People point fingers in many different directions, but a fairly new idea is to blame The Federal Reserve. In a new book, "Engine of Inequality: The Fed and The Future of Wealth In America", Karen Petrou, a managing partner at Federal Financial Analytics, argues that The Fed's ultra-low interest rate policy has benefited the wealthy at the expense of the poor.
Apr 22, 2021
The Power Of Access In Journalism And Academia With Kara Swisher
00:44:26
When it comes to probing the problems of Big Tech, either as a journalist or academic, access is key. Necessary data is highly guarded, often in a "black box", and these companies carefully select what they share and with whom. Few people understand this better than Kara Swisher who has been fearlessly covering and critiquing Big Tech since the 1990s. She's a New York Times opinion writer, host of the podcast "Sway" and co-host of the "Pivot" podcast.
Apr 08, 2021
Communisn’t: Crony Capitalism In China With David Barboza
00:46:21
The only thing worse than crony capitalism may be crony capitalism controlled by a centralized communist authority. This is the system that has led to massive wealth disparities in China, even as the country has seen record growth. Former New York Times correspondent, David Barboza, has gotten a first-hand look at how this system in China has led to rampant corruption and he even won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting. On this episode, we talk with Barboza about how this system works, why American companies are sometimes complicit in it, and the effect it could have on the rest of the world. Barboza now publishes "The Wire China" a digital new magazine focused on covering China both in and out of the country.
Mar 25, 2021
Why We Should Tax Digital Advertising With Paul Romer
00:40:13
Concerns about the political power of Big Tech and lack of competition are at an all-time high. The business model of Facebook, Google, Twitter, ect. seem to be creating a race to the bottom for the discourse in our social and political lives. Many have argued we should turn to anti-trust laws as a way to solve this problem, but Nobel laureate Paul Romer says they may not be enough. In this episode, Romer presents his argument for why the implementation of a digital advertising tax could address the size and business model of these tech firms.
Mar 11, 2021
When the Profit Motive Kills With Anand Giridharadas
00:50:14
The consulting firm McKinsey has agreed to pay nearly $600 million for its role in advising Purdue on how to push opioids sales, even at the cost of human lives. The details of their work are gruesome and should demand self-reflection among all those who work in big business. Has the profit motive gone out of control, and do business schools have a role to play in creating this culture? Anand Giridharadas says yes to both questions. He's the author of the renowned book "Winners Take All" and the publisher of "The Ink" on Substack. He joins us in this episode to discuss McKinsey, the culture of profits at all costs, and how businesses use philanthropy to distract us from the price we all pay.
Feb 25, 2021
GameStop, Robinhood And Our Troubling Obsession With Speculation
00:38:12
Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard the story of GameStop and Robinhood. Most writers and outlets have claimed this is either a positive David vs Goliath story or a dangerous new trend. On this episode, we're joined by Matt Stoller, Director of Research at the American Economic Liberties Project, who has an entirely different view.
Feb 11, 2021
Manufacturing Dissent With Matt Taibbi
00:53:08
A well-functioning capitalism needs a well-functioning democracy which depends on a well-functioning media. So, is our media functioning well today...has it ever? To talk through this question, we sit down with renowned journalist and media critic, Matt Taibbi.
Jan 28, 2021
Microsoft 1998 vs Google 2020: Antitrust and Big Tech
00:56:59
In 1998, the U.S. government filed antitrust charges against Microsoft. Today, with a new Department of Justice antitrust case filed against Google, it's worthwhile to track the eerie similarities between these cases in order to understand how one informs the other and vice versa. In order to walk us through both cases, we invited two people on the show who were on opposing sides of the Microsoft case: Robert Topel Distinguished Service Professor of Economics from the University of Chicago and expert witness for Microsoft, and David Boies, the lawyer who represented the Government in the 98' case.
Jan 14, 2021
Why Capitalism Needs Democracy
00:25:20
We’re taking time off to be with our families, even if it’s only over a screen, so we're sharing a shorter episode with you this week. Inspired by our recent election, Bethany and Luigi sit down, just the two of them, to talk through why a robust and strong democracy is essential for capitalism to work. We hope you enjoy this conversation, and we’ll see you with brand new episodes after the holidays.
Dec 31, 2020
How Do You Solve A Problem Like Student Debt?
00:46:14
Few people have deeply investigated the inner workings of our problematic student debt system. One person who has is Constantine Yannelis, Assistant Professor of Finance at The University of Chicago. With a proposal by the Biden Administration to forgive some portion of student debt possibly on the table, Yannelis takes us behind the curtain of our student loan system to explain why this may not be the best policy and what other options we have available.
Dec 17, 2020
Francis Fukuyama’s Proposal to Rein In Big Tech
00:42:01
It's not hard to find original conversations about the dangers of "Big Tech", but it is rare to find original solutions. On this episode, we sit down with renowned professor and author, Francis Fukuyama, who has developed a fresh answer to the question of how to rein in the big digital platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Google.
Dec 03, 2020
How The Supreme Court Influences Our Economy
00:46:33
During confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominees, the debate is always focused on social questions like abortion, but rarely economic questions—the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett was no exception. But the Supreme Court can have a massive influence on our economy and how we conduct business. On this episode, we're joined by appeals lawyer, Roman Martinez, who has personally argued many cases in front of the Court, to interrogate the relationship between the Supreme Court and the economy, and how the new court may rule on business issues.
Nov 19, 2020
Capitalisn't Presents: The "Big Brains" Podcast
00:34:55
This week, another University of Chicago Podcast Network show called "Big Brains" asked Luigi to share his biggest takeaways from the 2020 election. They covered why the polls got the election so wrong, what messages the record turnout send to our politicians, and what Joe Biden may change in the economy. We’re going to share that episode with you this week, and recommend you give Big Brains a listen and subscribe. We hope you enjoy and we’ll see you next week for a new episode of Capitalisn’t!
Nov 13, 2020
What Is The Alternative To Friedman's Capitalism?
00:47:38
It's been 50 years since Milton Friedman's world changing article which argued the only social responsibility of business is to increase profits. Since the Great Financial Crisis, that view has been increasingly challenged. On this anniversary, we revisit Friedman's legacy with New Yorker staff writer and author of "Transaction Man", Nick Lemann. Together, we explain what Friedman got right and what he got wrong about shareholder vs stakeholder capitalism.
Nov 05, 2020
Should We Lockdown Again?
00:51:58
In recent weeks, The Great Barrington Declaration erupted the debate about how best to continue the fight against COVID-19. On this episode, we try to have an honest and difficult conversation about the tradeoffs of different strategies for the future, from lockdowns to herd immunity. We also speak to people on both sides of the aisle: Sunetra Gupta, an epidemiologist from Oxford and one of the signers of The Great Barrington Declaration, and Andy Slavitt, former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under Obama and the host of the In The Bubble Podcast.
Oct 22, 2020
The Right And Wrong Of MMT (Modern Monetary Theory)
00:37:52
MMT—modern monetary theory—has become one of the hottest topics in economics. The best selling book, "The Deficit Myth", by economist Stephanie Kelton has even made this little understood theory go mainstream. But deeply analyzing these ideas has become more pressing than ever as we debate, in the middle of a pandemic, whether the government should be adding more debt to support the economy. Along with our guest, "grumpy" economist John Cochrane from the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, we take a look at what MMT gets right, what it gets wrong, and how it should change our thinking.
Oct 08, 2020
The Capitalisn't Of Vaccines
00:43:47
Will rich people be able to buy a coronavirus vaccine before everyone else? Should we pay people to be part of clinical trials? Is a market for vaccine vouchers a terrible idea? On this episode, we tackle the complex questions around developing and distributing a coronavirus vaccine in a capitalist system. And to get some help with the answers, Luigi and Bethany speak with medical ethicist, Dr. Arthur L. Caplan, from the NYU School of Medicine.
Sep 24, 2020
Season 2 Trailer: Can Economists and Journalists Work Together to Improve Capitalism?
00:03:06
As we start a new season of Capitalisn't, we welcome our new co-host, Vanity Fair contributing editor Bethany McLean. Academics tend to think journalists are too driven by anecdotes and journalists tend to think that academics are irrelevant. But in our new season, we hope to combine these two expertises to illuminate the ways capitalism is and isn't working in our world.
Sep 23, 2020
Revisiting A Conversation On Money In Politics
00:33:05
Capitalisn't will be returning with a new co-host in September! In the meantime, as we develop the re-launch of our show, we'll be airing previously unreleased content and re-releasing some of our favorite episodes. In light of the upcoming 2020 election, we thought it would be worthwhile to rebroadcast a conversation Kate and Luigi had about money in politics.
Sep 03, 2020
A College Admission Scandal Revisited
00:36:49
Capitalisn't will be returning with a new co-host in September! In the meantime, as we develop the re-launch of our show, we'll be airing previously unreleased content and re-releasing some of our favorite episodes. In light of a recent threat by the Department of Justice to bring a lawsuit against Yale University for allegedly discriminating against Asian-American and White applicants, we thought it would be worthwhile to rebroadcast a conversation Kate and Luigi had about the Harvard admission scandal last year.
Aug 20, 2020
A Continuing Conversation On The Lack Of Diversity In Economics
00:26:57
CapitalIsn't will be returning with a new co-host in September! In the meantime, as we develop the re-launch of our show, we'll be airing previously unreleased content and re-releasing some of our favorite episodes. On our last episode, we aired pieces of an interview with Lisa Cook, a professor from Michigan State University. We actually had a much longer conversation about the lack of diversity in the economics field that we think deserves to be aired. So, we hope you enjoy listening, and we look forward to sharing the re-launched Capitalisn’t with you in September!
Aug 06, 2020
Why A Lack of Diversity Is Hurting Economics
00:54:53
On this episode—Kate Waldock's final episode as a co-host of CapitalIsn't—we tackle a crucial question the economics field is facing: what is it going to do about its lack of diversity? To fully investigate this question, Kate and Luigi are joined by a series of guests who each offer a different perspective on why there's a lack of diversity in economics, what the profession is missing because of it, and what can be done to fix it. Guests: - Peter Henry, William R. Berkley Professor of Economics and Business and former dean of NYU’s Stern School of Business - Lisa Cook, Professor of Economics and International Relations at Michigan State University - Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, founder of the Sadie Collective and an emerging economist - Rohan Williamson, Bolton Sullivan and Thomas A. Dean Chair of International Business and former dean of Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business - Andres Liberman, Chief Data Officer at Burn to Give - Luis Lopez, Assistant Professor of Finance at UIC Business School
Jul 23, 2020
How A Spectrum Auction Cost Taxpayers Millions
00:33:30
There is an ongoing debate about whether private equity adds value or simply extracts value. In the economic literature, benefits are better documented than extraction for a very simple reason: when value is created everybody is willing to share the data to show it. When value is extracted, much less so. On this episode, Kate and Luigi present an often overlooked story of how a private equity fund made millions through connections, lobbying, and a spectrum auction.
Jul 09, 2020
Should Luigi's Pizza File for Bankruptcy?
00:39:25
The coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on most businesses, but it has been especially hard on small businesses. But should those businesses file for bankruptcy, and what will happen to them if they do? On this episode, Kate and Luigi explain how bankruptcy works...or doesn't work...for small businesses and how the system needs to change.
Jun 25, 2020
Should We Defund The Police?
00:47:44
"Defund the police" has become one of the central demands coming from the protests that have arisen following George Floyd's killing at the hands of a white police office. On this episode, Kate and Luigi take an economist's look at the concept of defunding the police.
Jun 12, 2020
Too Big To Jail
00:34:39
On this episode, Kate and Luigi use a recent criminal case against Walmart over its sale of opioids to explain the tactics many huge corporations use to dodge the justice system.
May 29, 2020
Coronavirus: The Future Of Universities
00:41:00
What will universities and colleges look like post-coronavirus? Will the entire industry be disrupted by online learning, will state schools go bankrupt, will elite universities be effected at all? On this episode, Luigi and Kate give their expert analysis as both economists and professors about the future of higher education.
May 15, 2020
Coronavirus: The State Bankruptcy Debate
00:38:18
States are facing massive shortfalls due to the coronavirus outbreak. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has suggested letting states file for bankruptcy. On this episode, Kate and Luigi explain why the debate over McConnell's proposal is far more complicated than most people think.
May 01, 2020
Coronavirus: The Risk Of Reopening
00:33:35
Despite warnings from government and health officials, some states are choosing to begin reopening their economies this week by ending lockdown restrictions. On this episode, Luigi and Kate lay out the economic reasons why that could end badly.
Apr 24, 2020
Coronavirus: How Are We Going To Pay For It?
00:38:37
Congress has already passed a $2 trillion dollar coronavirus relief bill, the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history. It's half the size of the entire annual federal budget, and another stimulus bill may be on the way. On this episode, Kate and Luigi explain the economic labyrinth of how we pay for these relief bills. Are we just printing money from thin air? How do we navigate issuing debt? And, with special guest Gene Fama, we discuss the possibility of a wealth tax. 
Apr 17, 2020
Coronavirus: How To Make An Exit
00:37:11
For the good of public health, it's important that we continue staying in quarantine at least for the next month or two. But, eventually, we will have to leave our homes. On this episode, Kate and Luigi debate the economic implications and strategies for how we exit shelter in place.
Apr 10, 2020
Coronavirus: The Winners And Losers In The Stimulus Bill
00:40:17
In order to combat the coronavirus, Congress has passed a $2 trillion-dollar stimulus bill. It targets individuals, small business and large corporations. But, from an economic point of view, who are the real winners and losers in this bill. On this episode, Kate and Luigi analyze the CARES Act. Is it enough money to stabilize our tanking economy, does it target the right people, and does it accomplish the right objectives?
Apr 03, 2020
Coronavirus: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of The Economic Shutdown
00:30:46
One of the prominent economic debates to emerge during the coronavirus outbreak has been whether to continue with shelter in place measures that are hurting the economy but, hopefully, slowing the virus' spread. On this episode, Luigi does a cost-benefit analysis that shows why it could be better to keep the economy closed, and debates his proposal with Russ Roberts, host of the popular EconTalk podcast.
Mar 27, 2020
What Happened To The Middle With Paul Krugman
00:31:23
If you had to name the most famous living economist, it would be hard to come up with anyone other than Paul Krugman. On this episode, Kate and Luigi talk with Krugman about his new book "Arguing with Zombies: Economics, Politics, and the Fight for a Better Future", why he thinks America's economy has failed the middle class, and how we can create a better economic future for our children.
Mar 23, 2020
The CapitalIsn’t Of Coronavirus
00:43:20
On this episode, Kate and Luigi give an economist view of the coronavirus outbreak. How should we think about the economic trade-offs of interventionist quarantine measures, could this virus change the way we work, should you or should you not be buying up stocks? They tackle these questions and more.
Mar 10, 2020
The Gig Economy Isn’t What You Think It Is
00:38:58
Companies like Uber, Lyft, and Doordash have brought the term "gig economy" into our lexicon. But what is the gig economy really? When you start digging into the data, you find it's a lot harder to define than you think. On this episode, Kate and Luigi investigate the pros, cons and myths of the gig economy.
Feb 27, 2020
Did Economists Ruin The Economy With Binyamin Appelbaum
00:38:46
Are the economists of the 60s and 70s to blame for our current state of affairs? That's the argument Binyamin Appelbaum makes in his book "The Economists' Hour". On this episode, Kate and Luigi debate the history of economists, the problems with economics today, and what changes could lead to a better economic future.
Feb 13, 2020
The Controversial Tax Policies Of Emmanuel Saez
00:39:44

Emmanuel Saez is probably one of the most controversial economists around these days. Recently, he's garnered significant attention for being one of the architects of Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax proposal. On this episode, Luigi and Kate dig into tax policy, the wealth tax and why Saez's work is so controversial.

Jan 30, 2020
Is The American Presidency For Sale?
00:32:34
As the Democratic primary is ramping up for the Iowa caucuses, everyone is talking about how much money the candidates have spent. And they're asking whether billionaires like Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg should be able to use their wealth to buy their way into the race or, even buy the presidency? On this episode, Kate and Luigi breakdown the economics of money in politics.
Jan 16, 2020
The Failure of Russian Capitalism With Bill Browder
00:37:20
On this podcast we mostly talk about what isn’t working in American capitalism. But, on this episode, we're taking a break to look at how capitalism can go wrong in other countries, specifically...Russia. And we’re going to do that with a very special guest, Putin's so-called number one enemy, Bill Browder.
Jan 02, 2020
Silicon Valley’s Corporate Culture Problem With Mike Isaac
00:35:52
Does Silicon Valley have a capitalism problem or does capitalism have a Silicon Valley problem? On this episode, Kate and Luigi sit down with Mike Isaac, New York Times technology reporter and author of "Super Pumped: The Battle For Uber " to find out if these tech startups have a toxic corporate culture issue.
Dec 19, 2019
Optimizing Our Healthcare System
00:39:23
You don't need us to tell you there's something very wrong with the American healthcare system. The real question is: what can we actually do to fix it? Could Democratic candidates Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders be right that Medicare for all would be better? Would a single-payer system fix all the frictions in the industry? On this episode, Kate and Luigi delve into the economics and capitalism of the healthcare debate.
Dec 05, 2019
Shareholder Vote Suppression With SEC Commissioner Rob Jackson
00:39:36
A common theme on our podcast is whether shareholders have too much power. But if we were going to redistribute that power, to whom should it go? Two recently proposed rule changes at the SEC would transfer more power to CEOs. But do we really want to empower managers to operate with less checks and balances? This week, Kate and Luigi sit down with SEC Commissioner Rob Jackson to talk through these issues and debate the proposed SEC rules.
Nov 21, 2019
Is Elizabeth Warren Right About Private Equity?
00:37:44
Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren blames private equity for many of the issues in our economy. She plans to reign it in and regulate it with her new bill the "Stop Wall Street Looting Act". On this episode, Kate and Luigi explain how private equity really works, whether it’s bad or good for society, and they dissect Warren’s proposal to regulate these firms.
Nov 07, 2019
College Admission (In)Justice: Harvard and Beyond
00:36:04
Getting into the right college is arguably more important than ever, which has put the justice or injustice of admissions processes in the spotlight. On this episode, Kate and Luigi give a fresh perspective on a recent admissions trial involving Harvard, explain its implications for college admissions in general, and ask whether the way elite universities choose their students is an example of capitalism working or failing.
Oct 24, 2019
What It Takes To Win The Nobel Prize In Economics
00:35:03
On this episode, Kate and Luigi explain how to win the econ Nobel, why it's important, and they attempted to predict who the 2019 winner might be.
Oct 10, 2019
Economic Research: Nothing Precisely or Precisely Nothing?
00:35:49
On this episode, you're going to hear how the sausage gets made in economic research as Kate and Luigi personally investigate whether private equity is to blame for the retail apocalypse.
Sep 26, 2019
Should We Let Walmart Regulate Itself?
00:36:12
In the last few weeks, we've seen two examples of seeming corporate self-regulation. One is Walmart's decision to end all handgun ammunition sales, and the other is the four largest automakers going around the Trump administration's less stringent fuel emission standards to cut a private deal with California that is closer to Obama era-emission standards. But there's an important overarching question to these two stories. Should companies really be taking it upon themselves to address issues when the government doesn't do a good job policing? Should these businesses be punished or praised?
Sep 12, 2019
Shareholders vs. Stakeholders
00:36:14

Many are praising a recent Business Roundtable announcement that corporations should serve stakeholders as well as shareholders. On the surface, this may seem like a historic reversal of the status quo that has held since Milton Friedman's famous "shareholder primacy" theory was put forward in the 70s. But it's not that simple.

On this episode, Kate and Luigi layout the history of this theory, revealing that it's really been around for as long as we've been asking the most fundamental question in business: what is the purpose of a corporation? They explore that question, and interrogate the possible underlying motives behind the Business Roundtable's decision.

Aug 29, 2019
Are Stock Buybacks Evil?
00:35:23

Are stock buybacks evil? A lot of politicians seem to think so. Senators Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer wrote an op-ed in the New York Times this year calling for a limit on corporate buybacks. On this episode, Kate and Luigi break down what stock buybacks really are, how long they've been around, and whether we should ban them.

Aug 15, 2019
Universal Basic Income: Why and How?
00:40:20

If you've been paying attention to Andrew Yang's Democratic presidential campaign, you're probably familiar with the concept of universal basic income. On this episode, Kate and Luigi give the economic outlook on how a UBI might work, or not work, and investigate how automation and techno-anxiety are driving the conversation.

Aug 01, 2019
The Student Debt Crisis: There's No Such Thing As A Free College
00:37:59

With Democratic presidential candidates making the student debt crisis one of the central issues of the 2020 race, Kate and Luigi give an in-depth economics look at the ideas of free college tuition and debt forgiveness, explain the history of how we got to into this student debt crisis, and debate some solutions for how to get out of it.

Jul 18, 2019
The Mickey Mouse Monopoly Club
00:34:11

Last episode, Kate and Luigi discussed how the patent system creates a temporary monopoly designed to make the incentives to innovate. But the real question is does the patent system, and our entire system of intellectual property for that matter, actually accomplish that goal? We start to answer that question by investigating one of the most powerful figures in intellectual property...Mickey Mouse.

Jul 04, 2019
Luigi Submits A Patent
00:33:09

After our series about the dangers of monopolies, we're going to investigate a situation in which the government actually works to create monopolies on purpose: the patent system. On the first of two episodes, Luigi and Kate examine whether our current patent system is helping or hurting capitalism.

Jun 20, 2019
Regulating Facebook and Google Pt 3: Tyler Cowen Rebuttals
00:34:35

In part three of our series investigating how digital platforms like Facebook and Google should be regulated, Tyler Cowen from George Mason University argues to Kate and Luigi that more regulation may not be the answer to all our questions about digital platforms.

Jun 06, 2019
Regulating Facebook and Google Pt 2: Politics
00:34:17

In part two of our series investigating how digital platforms like Facebook and Google should be regulated, Kate and Luigi dissect the ways these companies interact with our political system by speaking with Nolan McCarty, Susan Dod Brown Professor of Politics and Public Affairs at Princeton University.

May 23, 2019
Regulating Facebook and Google Pt 1: Markets
00:39:16

As digital platforms like Facebook and Google become globally powerful, some countries are investigating and even proposing legislation to regulate these companies. Building off a conference happening at the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago, Kate and Luigi speak with Fiona Scott Morton, a Professor of Economics at Yale, to interrogate these platforms from a traditional market structure perspective.

May 09, 2019
The Morality or Immorality of A Wealth Tax
00:34:02

With Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren proposing wealth taxes, Kate and Luigi break down how these taxes have or haven't worked in other countries and whether they could work in America.

Apr 25, 2019
The Ups and Downs of IPOs
00:39:13

There’s an acronym you’ve probably heard in the news a lot lately: IPO. With companies like Pinterest, Airbnb and UBER all considering going public this year, Kate and Luigi break down why these companies already have huge valuations, and whether rich people have an unfair advantage when it comes to investing.

Apr 11, 2019
Codetermination: A Seat At The Table
00:33:11

Last year Elizabeth Warren proposed the controversial Accountable Capitalism Act. One of its most talked about proposals was focused on "codetermination." Kate & Luigi explain how it works, its effectiveness and examine one country that's been trying it out since the 1950s.

Mar 28, 2019
Is Global Antitrust Off the Rails?
00:27:35

In the wake of a blocked merger between the German and French rail giants Siemens and Alstom, Kate & Luigi debate the role of global antitrust regulators. How do they protect consumers while also helping domestic companies compete with state-supported rivals from China?

Mar 14, 2019
Millennial Socialists
00:34:47

Are millennials giving up on capitalism? A recent survey found a majority now prefer socialism. Luigi gets the scoop from our resident millennial, Kate, who says most simply want European-style social welfare, student-loan debt relief and campaign finance reform. Is that really so radical?

Feb 28, 2019
Pollution Pt 2: Contaminated Research
00:30:06

In our second episode on pollution, investigative journalist Carey Gillam joins Kate and Luigi to discuss her new book "Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science." Gillam reveals how pesticide companies secretly influence scientific research and avoid EPA regulations.

Feb 14, 2019
Pollution Pt 1: The Sticky Side of Teflon
00:31:06

In the first of a two-part series on pollution, Kate and Luigi discuss the health hazards and economic costs of air pollution and contaminated drinking water from the toxic chemical PFOA (C8) found in Teflon. How did DuPont skirt regulation and avoid corporate responsibility for so long?

Jan 31, 2019
Warrenomics
00:29:50

As Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) jumps into the 2020 Presidential race, Kate and Luigi examine her legislative record and economic policy proposals, including several bold ideas to reform American capitalism.

Jan 17, 2019
Why Capitalism Needs Journalism
00:34:01

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steven Pearlstein drops by to talk with Kate & Luigi about the incredible shrinking newspaper -- especially the business section -- and why that's bad for the economy. His new book "Can American Capitalism Survive?" argues that the mantra of “maximizing shareholder value” ultimately caused Americans to lose faith in the free market.

Jan 03, 2019
The Financial Assassin
00:33:12

Fahmi Quadir thinks short sellers get a bad rap. Known as the "financial assassin" for helping expose fraud and misconduct at Valeant, she tells Luigi that Tesla might be next. But Kate isn't convinced -- she thinks journalists and regulators are the real heroes.

Dec 20, 2018
Global Inequality Pt 2: Divergence
00:28:10

In the second of a two-part look at global inequality Kate & Luigi talk about the downside of globalization. A listener's email sparks a conversation about what's driving the growing wage gap within the U.S. We survey the latest research on the lingering effects of the 'China Shock' and debate how to reverse the trend before the people revolt.

Dec 06, 2018
Global Inequality Pt 1: Convergence
00:29:52

In the first of a two-part look at global inequality Kate & Luigi talk about the upside of globalization -- a decrease in income inequality between countries over the last few decades. How much of this can be attributed to China, and what was the secret to their success?

Nov 22, 2018
The People Vs. Democracy
00:32:14

Yascha Mounk talks with Kate & Luigi about his new book "The People Vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It." Recorded in front of a live audience, the conversation touches on recent populist uprisings and the extent to which they threaten liberal democracy.

Nov 08, 2018
Brazil on the Brink
00:32:30

Populism strikes again as the world's 4th largest democracy is set to elect controversial right-wing politician Jair Bolsonaro as its next leader. Writer and lawyer Glenn Greenwald (now living in Brazil) tells Kate & Luigi how rampant corruption, violent crime and a struggling economy have given rise to yet another populist movement.

Oct 25, 2018
Ten Years Later Pt 3: The Next Crisis
00:34:25

In our third and final episode on the 2008 financial crisis, Kate & Luigi look at recent volatility in the markets and try to predict the cause of the next financial crash with help from prominent economists Robert Shiller and Lawrence Summers.

Oct 11, 2018
Live taping of Capitalisn't in Chicago on October 8th
00:00:30

Join us for a live taping of Capitalisn't on October 8 at the Union League Club in Chicago! Author Yascha Mounk will discuss his latest book, The People vs. Democracy, with co-hosts Luigi Zingales and Kate Waldock. Click here for details and free tickets! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-people-vs-democracy-with-yascha-mounk-katherine-waldock-and-luigi-zingales-tickets-49992656381

Oct 03, 2018
Ten Years Later Pt 2: The Aftermath
00:32:00

The second in a 3-part series on the 2008 financial crisis. In the weeks after the crash Luigi remembers petitioning the government for a better bank bailout. Looking back, he and Kate review everything from TARP to Dodd-Frank to see how we averted a worse recession. But did some CEOs get away with fraud?

Sep 27, 2018
Ten Years Later Pt 1: The Build-Up
00:44:06

The first in a 3-part series on the 2008 financial crisis. Kate tells Luigi about being an intern at Lehman Brothers when it collapsed and then we debate the causes including subprime mortgages, investor fraud and an ill-advised speech from former President George W. Bush.

Sep 13, 2018
Sex, Power and the Ivory Tower
00:29:34

Economists experience their first major #MeToo moment. Kate and Luigi explore the larger implications of a recent case involving a Columbia University professor who was found liable for retaliation against a female junior faculty member.

Aug 31, 2018
Antitrust Pt 3: The Europeans
00:32:52

Our third and final episode on antitrust law looks at the E.U.'s recent $5 billion fine against Google. Kate and Luigi hear about double-sided markets from Nobel-winning economist Jean Tirole and explore the E.U. vs. U.S. approach to antitrust enforcement.

Aug 16, 2018
Antitrust Pt 2: The Populists
00:29:34

The second in a special 3-part series on antitrust law. Kate and Luigi talk with Lina Khan, author of the article “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” and a member of the New Brandeis Movement, which believes that antitrust enforcement should be more broadly applied and not just rely on consumer welfare.

Aug 02, 2018
Antitrust Pt 1: The Establishment
00:28:24

The first in a special 3-part series on antitrust law. In the wake of the approved merger between giants AT&T and Time Warner, Kate and Luigi talk with a leading expert, Carl Shapiro, about the evolving concept of consumer welfare and whether antitrust law needs to change with the times.

Jul 19, 2018
The Reluctant Central Banker
00:30:11

Do central bankers have too much power? Paul Tucker, a former official at the Bank of England during the 2008 financial crisis and author of the new book 'Unelected Power,' explains to Kate and Luigi how technocratic hubris can imperil democracy.

Jul 05, 2018
Abdomenable Transactions
00:29:57

Should a kidney be sold to the highest bidder? Luigi and Kate debate Nobel-winning economist Al Roth whose algorithm for kidney transplants has saved more than 6000 lives. Roth says matching markets could be used for everything from online dating to the global refugee crisis.

Jun 21, 2018
All Roads Lead to Rome
00:27:49

Why was Steve Bannon in Rome last week? Luigi and Kate look at the recent formation of Italy's populist government and analyze Bannon's attempt to forge a similar left-right coalition in the U.S. uniting supporters of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

Jun 07, 2018
Two Billion 'Truman Shows'
00:28:15

Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google and “the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience,” warns Kate & Luigi about targeted digital advertising that creates individual, orchestrated experiences dictated by nothing more than an algorithm.

May 24, 2018
Opinions for Sale
00:32:09

As ad revenue continues to decline more and more news organizations are turning to paid and sponsored content. Luigi and Kate revisit the decades-old music payola scandal and debate how to ensure proper disclosure in the digital age.

May 10, 2018
Mo Crypto Mo Problems
00:29:26

In the brave new world of cryptocurrency the latest frenzy involves Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), which make Bitcoin look tame by comparison. Luigi and Kate explore this volatile, largely unregulated market and consider creating their own ICO.

Apr 26, 2018
Worse Than Brexit
00:30:42

‘Quitaly.’ ‘Italeave.’ Whatever you call it, Italy’s recent election results are stoking fears that the once staunch supporter of the EU may be the next country to exit. Kate asks Luigi, our resident Italian expert, how we got here and why it matters.

Apr 12, 2018
Regulating Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction
00:31:44

10 years after dark pools of derivatives contributed to the Great Recession, former Commodity Futures Trading Commissioner Sharon Bowen tells Kate & Luigi how she helped bring transparency to the market and visited a few grain silos along the way.

Mar 29, 2018
A Firm Grip on the Labor Market
00:29:12

The U.S. economy may be booming, but despite a recent uptick wage growth remains stubbornly flat. Kate & Luigi examine the effect of monopsonies in the labor market among concentrated industries like Big Tech. Are companies colluding against workers and driving down wages?

Mar 15, 2018
O. Contin Pusher, M.D.
00:28:38

Are doctors and pharmaceutical companies to blame for the opioid epidemic? Kate & Luigi look at the role of supply and demand in fueling the distribution of prescription painkillers, and discuss the regulatory ramifications for medical marijuana.

Mar 01, 2018
The Moral Case Against the MBA
00:26:47

Are elite MBA programs producing morally bankrupt administrators? Duff McDonald, author of “The Golden Passport,” tries to convince Luigi & Kate that conflicts of interest and flawed case studies amount to an unethical education that harms society.

Feb 15, 2018
Capital Isn't in the 21st Century
00:30:21

Five years after Thomas Piketty’s surprise bestseller captured the zeitgeist of an anxious age, Kate and Luigi revisit the book to see how it holds up in the current political and economic climate. The verdict? Intriguing analysis, but limited impact.

Feb 01, 2018
Strange Fedfellows
00:27:46

It’s been 6 years since a member of the Federal Reserve improperly leaked information to an analyst. Kate & Luigi wonder what's really changed. Is the Fed still too cozy with big banks, the media and others with a financial stake in monetary policy?

Jan 18, 2018
College: What is it Good For?
00:27:15

As college enrollment goes up, social mobility continues its 50-year decline. Luigi and Kate look for answers in the latest research on the role of higher education. Are today’s universities engines of social mobility or simply bastions of privilege?

Jan 04, 2018
Mutual Understanding: Is Your 401k Working Against You?
00:26:19

Luigi shops for an airline ticket and ponders how our retirement investments might be hurting our wallets. New research suggests that giant mutual funds with large stakes in the companies of one industry can lead to reduced competition and higher prices.

Jan 04, 2018
Obama Wanted a Corporate Tax Cut Too
00:29:33

The new U.S. tax reform bill includes a dramatic reduction in the corporate tax rate. Is this a hand-out to the rich or a necessary measure to spur the U.S. economy in the face of global competition? Luigi and Kate debate the pros and cons and break down the law’s impact on pass-through businesses.

Jan 04, 2018
Hail to the Chief of Facebook
00:27:21

Not long ago Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted at a run for political office. Luigi and Kate debate whether a President Zuckerberg would give the social media giant a dangerous monopoly. Should government regulators do something to limit its power?

Jan 04, 2018
Capitalisn't Trailer
00:02:02

Luigi and Kate deliberate over the topics that will be discussed on Capitalisn't -- they range from market power to Italian history. Visit us at www.capitalisnt.com to learn more.

Dec 17, 2017