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Real Impact by Morgan Simon

Two weeks ago Morgan Simon announced her new book, Real Impact.  I was going to toss it on the end of my queue, not expecting it to be part of my quest for answers to inequality, but was proven wrong. First and foremost, the book is the best primer I’ve read on impact investing.  The first half walks through why we need to align capital with social and environmental solutions and the second...

Anti-Piketty?

After enjoying most of Capital in the 21st Century I couldn’t pass up reading what is clearly supposed to be a counter-argument: Anti-Picketty. It’s not one, but twenty-four arguments against Picketty’s conclusions and claims, by more than twenty-four economists and think tankers.  Despite 24 authors, this books is less than a half the length of Capital and despite a lot of...

The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality

It has been four months since Debt: The First 5,000 Years, and my quest to find answers to inequality.  In that time I came across The Divide, by Jason Hickel, which claimed in the subtitle “A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and it’s Solutions” to provide not just problems but also solutions.  That jumped it to the top of my growing stack of books. The first two thirds of the...

Debt: The First 5,000 Years

It’s good to be out of debt… even when that means finishing David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5,000 Years.  I had started on this book before diving into the rabbit hole of The Wealth of Nations, Communist Manifesto, Capitalist Manifesto, Divine Right of Capital, Et al, revisiting Debt’s 400 pages on occasion to clean my mental palate between other books. Debt is another...

Rethinking Capitalism and Mission-oriented Finance for Innovation

Two economics books, both anthologies, both edited by Mariana Mazzucato, both too brief to make their arguments convincing, and neither providing much about income and wealth inequality. As an impact investor, I had high hopes for Mission-Oriented Finance for Innovation, but like a lot of English it seems the term “mission-oriented” has multiple meanings.  This book can be summarized...

Owning our Future

After finishing The Divine Right of Capital, I searched my house high and low for my copy of Owning our Future, Marjorie Kelly’s other book on Capitalism, which I remembered was good enough to merit ordering a second copy after the search came up empty. Whereas The Divine Right of Capital is 95% problem, Owning our Future is a travelogue of solutions.  Kelly takes us with her traveling to...

The Divine Right of Capital

A much better manifesto of Capitalism is Marjorie Kelly’s The Divine Right of Capital (amazon.com).  In it, Kelly explains in greater detail the divide between capital and labor, some of its origins, and dives deep into the assumptions latent within the current system which she hopes to see uncovered and overturned. Kelly repeatedly returns to the metaphor of feudalism, with the noble Board...

The Capitalist Manifesto

Speaking of manifestos… in 1958, 110 years after Marx, Louis Kelso wrote The Capitalist Manifesto as an alternative solution to the rift between capital and labor. This is one of those books with a handful of interesting ideas, wrapped in 265 pages of repetitive rhetoric, closer in style to a long academic paper than a New York Times nonfiction bestseller.  None the less those few ideas...

The Communist Manifesto

Jumping forward to 1848, 72 years from The Wealth of Nations, Great Britain, Western Europe, and the United States experienced an economic revolution in the Industrial Revolution.  Steam power, coal, gaslight, railroads, etc.  With that change came the industrialization of work, with far more powerful capitalists and unpowerful laborers. From that change came Karl Marx’s Manifesto of the...

The Wealth of Nations

Continuing my dive into Capitalism, I headed to the beginning, to An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, better known simply as Adam Smith’s masterpiece The Wealth of Nations. This is one of those books you hear about so often you think already know, but which you really only know of until you crack it open and dig into the details.  And wow, are there ever details...

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