The Dirty Secret of Capitalism — And a New Way Forward

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 13, 2019
Seattle - In July, venture capitalist and civic innovator Nick Hanauer returned to the TED Talk stage – this time invited to speak at the 2019 TEDSummit in Edinburgh, Scotland. In his talk, released today, Hanauer makes the case for a new economics that recognizes people, not capital, as the driver of economic growth.

It's been over thirty years since Michael Douglas, in character as Wall Street's charismatic antagonist Gordon Gekko, delivered the now-iconic "greed is good" speech that defined the modern American approach to business. For three decades, this extractive policy has benefited corporations and the wealthy at the expense of everyone else, creating an ever-growing income inequality that now threatens the very future of America.

“What we now know is that the economics that made me so rich isn’t just wrong, it’s backwards,” Hanauer said in the talk. “Because it turns out that it isn’t capital that creates economic growth, it’s people. And it isn’t self-interest that promotes the public good, it’s reciprocity. And it isn’t competition that produces our prosperity, it’s cooperation.”

Nick Hanauer is an unabashed capitalist. He's not just in the top one percent, he's in the top .01 percent of all earners – and he's ready to explain why unchecked greed will inevitably lead to the collapse of society. A capitalist economy built on cooperation and reciprocity, he argues, will outpace an economy of selfishness every time, building a sustainable, equitable prosperity that benefits everyone – not just the super-wealthy few.

“Greed is good” is both morally bankrupt and scientifically wrong – that is why if we want a better economy we need a new economics.


CONTACT: Jack Sorensen at