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Policy Luncheon: The Future of Market Capitalism

This CED luncheon featured speaker Lynn S. Paine, John G. McLean Professor of Business Administration and Senior Associate Dean, Director of Faculty Development at Harvard Business School. Dr. Paine is one of three co-authors of the new book "Capitalism at Risk: Rethinking the Role of Business."

About "Capitalism at Risk: Rethinking the Role of Business"
The spread of capitalism worldwide has made people wealthier than ever before and raised living standards to new heights. But capitalism's future is far from assured. The global financial meltdown of 2008 came within a hair's breadth of triggering another Great Depression. Despite stirrings of recovery, economies in Europe are still teetering. And powerful forces—income inequality, resource depletion, mass migrations from poor to rich countries, and religious fundamentalism, to name just a few—continue to pose a serious threat to the prosperity capitalism engendered.

How can the future of capitalism be secured? And who should spearhead the effort? Many observers point to government. But in Capitalism at Risk, Harvard Business School professors Joseph L. Bower, Herman B. Leonard, and Lynn S. Paine argue otherwise. While the authors agree that governments must play a role in saving capitalism, they maintain that businesses should lead the way. Indeed, for enterprising companies—whether large multinationals, established regional players, or small start-ups—the current threats to market capitalism present vital opportunities.

Drawing on discussions with business leaders around the world, the authors identify ten potential disruptors of the global market system and diagnose the causes behind existing institutions' inability to combat them effectively. They argue that companies must stop seeing themselves as bystanders and instead develop innovative business strategies that address the disruptors, produce profitable growth, and strengthen institutions at the community, national, and international levels. The authors then present examples of companies that are already making a difference.

Filled with rich insights, this provocative new book presents a compelling and constructive vision for the future of market capitalism.