After Capitalism

24. November 2022 19:00

Sir John Kay

The leading firms of the twenty-first century have few tangible assets and often do not own the tangible assets they do use. These assets are typically fungible – no longer specific to the business that employs them. We now have ‘capital as a service’ rather than capital as master.
In the industrial revolution, and in the language of ‘capitalism’ which was adopted by both the supporters and critics of capitalism, there was a close linkage between personal wealth, ownership of the means of production, and control of business. Control of business is now divorced from ownership of the means of production and the relationship now runs from control of business to personal wealth, not the other way round.
And yet we see the finance paradox – as capital has become less central to business the finance sector has grown in size and remuneration. How and why?
John Kay will describe the changed realities of the modern commercial environment and explore its implications for both business strategy and public policy.

Sir John Kay is an economist whose career has spanned the academic world, business and finance, and public affairs. He has held chairs at the London Business School, the University of Oxford and the London School of Economics and is a Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford, where he began his academic career in 1970. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. John is a director of several public companies and a contributing editor of the Financial Times. He chaired the Review of UK Equity Markets and Long-Term Decision-Making which reported to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills in July 2012. He is the author of many books, including The Truth about Markets (2003), The Long and the Short of It (2009, new revised edition 2016) and Obliquity (2010). Other People’s Money was published by Profile Books and (in North America) by PublicAffairs in September 2015, was a book of the year for Bloomberg, The Economist and the Financial Times, winner of the Saltire Literary Prize for non-fiction, and was short-listed for the Orwell Prize for political writing. Radical Uncertainty, jointly written with Mervyn King, was published in March 2020. His latest book, Greed is Dead, co-authored with Paul Collier, was published in July 2020.

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