At the 2008 Davos billionaire’s prom, Bill Gates gave a speech calling for “creative capitalism.” His message was roughly that corporations are good at solving problems, and the world has enormous problems. If companies would apply some of their researchers, expertise, and money to these problems they might be able to do things that have escaped governments and NGO’s.
If it were anyone but Gates, arguably the world’s best business strategist, this would have been only mildly interesting and a slightly mushy idea. And maybe it would have faded away but Michael Kinsey, founder of Slate among other publications, decided that there was a book here. Rather than write it, or assemble a collection of essays by invitation only, he set up a blog and publicized it among economists. The result was an ongoing conversation among people like Ed Glaeser, Robert Reich, Larry Summers, and lots of people I’ve never heard of but I’ll bet most economists have.
The resulting dialogue was all published as a book (Creative Capitalism) last December that I picked up and read last weekend (some of it anyway). It’s not a fully formed argument and doesn’t reach any conclusions but it’s a great argument and seems appropriate to this blog. You don’t have to buy the book, the blog is live again.