A Man of Words, A Man of Deeds

Two events Wednesday raised some interesting questions about the nature of corporations and the public good: the passing of Jack Bogle, founder of Vanguard Group, and release of the annual letter to CEOs from BlackRock co-founder and chief executive Laurence Fink. Vanguard is the investor-owned, ultra-low-fee asset manager that currently holds roughly $4 trillion for … Continue reading A Man of Words, A Man of Deeds

Sounding the Alarm on Sounding the Alarm on Corporate Debt

For financial journalists, pinpointing the source of the next meltdown is no easy task. The ones who did so pre-2008 were few. Yet today seems to be different. Read the business press and you'll get the impression there's a consensus as to the next recession trigger: profligate borrowing by corporations. The near-zero interest rates for much … Continue reading Sounding the Alarm on Sounding the Alarm on Corporate Debt

Asking The Right Questions On Short-Termism

The Fed released a study this week that presents an important finding: companies that go public tend to invest more than similarly situated private companies. Firms listed on the stock exchange invest nearly 50 percentage points more than privately held ones, relative to tangible assets. Selling shares — or in the Fed’s words, “the financing of … Continue reading Asking The Right Questions On Short-Termism

Too Much Finance

Any one-sentence definition of capitalism will be incomplete, but as these things go, Schumpeter has a good one: “Capitalism is that form of private property economy in which innovations are carried out by means of borrowed money.” The emphasis is mine, but Schumpeter makes clear that capitalism isn’t capitalism without credit. It’s one of the … Continue reading Too Much Finance

The Problem With The Child As Customer

Much of what Jeff Bezos does has been innovative; otherwise he wouldn't be the richest person on earth. But in other respects he's been a fairly conventional businessman. In his recent announcement that he'd be deploying around 1.2 percent of his current net worth to help homeless families and children, Bezos joined a long tradition … Continue reading The Problem With The Child As Customer