Soundview Executive Book Summaries

A Conversation on Capitalism
February 5, 2009, 2:31 PM
Filed under: Economics | Tags: , ,

Simon & Schuster recently published a book entitled Creative Capitalism, which was edited by Michael Kinsley and includes conversations between Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and many economists, journalists and executives, in response to the speech that Bill Gates gave at the 2008 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.


While this in itself is newsworthy, the real story may be the process by which the book was published. Instead of interviewing top economic thinkers or soliciting papers from these thought-leaders, Kinsley constructed an online conversation in a blog. He published Bill Gates’ speech and solicited comments from him and Warren Buffet, and then invited economists and others to weigh in through the blog.


The result was a blog site filled with conversations and dialogue between knowledgeable economists and executives. Although this is not a new idea –– take Wikipedia as one example –– soliciting the thoughts of top minds on this important issue in an open forum is a stellar example of the power of the growing social side of the Internet.


Back to the subject of the blog –– Bill Gates made the point that businesses need to put their creative energies toward finding ways to both grow and provide wealth, and help the needy of the world at the same time. Other terms that have been used for this concept include “social entrepreneurship” and “philanthro-capitalism.”


While this concept is enticing, its critics are quick to point out the flaws through the online conversation. The blog site has been re-opened, and I would recommend that you spend some time there to take in the breadth of opinions that it offers.


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