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 as: the financial sector has grown too large, nearly destroyed the economy, and therefore governments should spend more on R&D. If you are a Keynesian, that argument might make sense to you. To the rest of us, the book needed another 100 pages to explain how mortgage-backed securities have anything to do with funding the next Internet or Interstate Highway.
After the Wealth of Nations and Capitalist Manifesto I also had high hopes for Rethinking Capitalism. The book again begins with the panic of 2007-2008 and the subsequent Great Recession, and again jumps from there to Keynesian thoughts on how government investment makes the economy stronger. However, this book includes one chapter by Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz entitled Inequality and Economic Growth which dives into the topic I’ve been researching, quoting data from Piketty’s Capital in the 21st Century and others explaining, as the title describes, how inequality is hurting economic growth. Stiglitz touches on a few potential fixes, but as all the chapters in both these books are short, my take away is that I now need to add a Stiglitz book or two to the pile to see if he has any real answers.
The more I dive into this topic, the more I empathize with my wife, who was halfway through her PhD dissertation when I met her, physically surrounded by dozens of books each filled with dozens of color-coded bookmarks. Those books now line a dozen bookshelves of our living room, making room for the one shelf filling with books on economics, just about the one shelf on advice for entrepreneurs.