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81 EpisodesProduced by The Stigler CenterWebsite

Is capitalism the engine of destruction or the engine of prosperity? On this podcast we talk about the ways capitalism is—or more often isn’t—working in our world today. Hosted by Vanity Fair contributing editor, Bethany McLean and world renowned economics professor Luigi Zingales, we explain how ca… read more

81 Episodes | 2017 - 2020

The Capitalisn't Of Vaccines

September 24th, 2020


Will rich people be able to buy a coronavirus vaccine before everyone else? Should we pay people to be part of clinical trials? Is a market for …

Season 2 Trailer: Can Economists and Journalists Work Together to Improve Capitalism?

September 23rd, 2020


As we start a new season of Capitalisn't, we welcome our new co-host, Vanity Fair contributing editor Bethany McLean. Academics tend to think journalists are too driven by anecdotes and journalists tend to think that …

Revisiting A Conversation On Money In Politics

September 3rd, 2020


Capitalisn't will be returning with a new co-host in September! In the meantime, as we develop the re-launch of our show, we'll be airing previously unreleased content and re-releasing some of our favorite episodes.

In …

A College Admission Scandal Revisited

August 20th, 2020


Capitalisn't will be returning with a new co-host in September! In the meantime, as we develop the re-launch of our show, we'll be airing previously unreleased content and re-releasing some of our favorite episodes.

In …

A Continuing Conversation On The Lack Of Diversity In Economics

August 6th, 2020


CapitalIsn't will be returning with a new co-host in September! In the meantime, as we develop the re-launch of our show, we'll be airing previously unreleased content and re-releasing some of our favorite episodes.

On …

Why A Lack of Diversity Is Hurting Economics

July 23rd, 2020


On this episode—Kate Waldock's final episode as a co-host of CapitalIsn't—we tackle a crucial question the economics field is facing: what is it …

How A Spectrum Auction Cost Taxpayers Millions

July 9th, 2020


There is an ongoing debate about whether private equity adds value or simply extracts value. In the economic literature, benefits are better documented than extraction for a very simple reason: when value is created …

Should Luigi's Pizza File for Bankruptcy?

June 25th, 2020


The coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on most businesses, but it has been especially hard on small businesses. But should those businesses file for …

Should We Defund The Police?

June 12th, 2020


"Defund the police" has become one of the central demands coming from the protests that have arisen following George Floyd's killing at the hands of …

Too Big To Jail

May 29th, 2020


On this episode, Kate and Luigi use a recent criminal case against Walmart over its sale of opioids to explain the tactics many huge corporations use to dodge the justice system.

Coronavirus: The Future Of Universities

May 15th, 2020


What will universities and colleges look like post-coronavirus? Will the entire industry be disrupted by online learning, will state schools go …

Coronavirus: The State Bankruptcy Debate

May 1st, 2020


States are facing massive shortfalls due to the coronavirus outbreak. Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell has suggested letting states file for bankruptcy. On this episode, Kate and Luigi explain why the debate over …

Coronavirus: The Risk Of Reopening

April 24th, 2020


Despite warnings from government and health officials, some states are choosing to begin reopening their economies this week by ending lockdown restrictions. On this episode, Luigi and Kate lay out the economic reasons …

Coronavirus: How Are We Going To Pay For It?

April 17th, 2020


Congress has already passed a $2 trillion dollar coronavirus relief bill, the largest economic relief bill in U.S. history. It's half the size of the …

Coronavirus: How To Make An Exit

April 10th, 2020


For the good of public health, it's important that we continue staying in quarantine at least for the next month or two. But, eventually, we will have to leave our homes. On this episode, Kate and Luigi debate the …

Coronavirus: The Winners And Losers In The Stimulus Bill

April 3rd, 2020


In order to combat the coronavirus, Congress has passed a $2 trillion-dollar stimulus bill. It targets individuals, small business and large …

Coronavirus: A Cost-Benefit Analysis of The Economic Shutdown

March 27th, 2020


One of the prominent economic debates to emerge during the coronavirus outbreak has been whether to continue with shelter in place measures that are …

What Happened To The Middle With Paul Krugman

March 23rd, 2020


If you had to name the most famous living economist, it would be hard to come up with anyone other than Paul Krugman. On this episode, Kate and Luigi …

The CapitalIsn’t Of Coronavirus

March 10th, 2020


On this episode, Kate and Luigi give an economist view of the coronavirus outbreak. How should we think about the economic trade-offs of …

The Gig Economy Isn’t What You Think It Is

February 27th, 2020


Companies like Uber, Lyft, and Doordash have brought the term "gig economy" into our lexicon. But what is the gig economy really? When you start digging into the data, you find it's a lot harder to define than you …

Did Economists Ruin The Economy With Binyamin Appelbaum

February 13th, 2020


Are the economists of the 60s and 70s to blame for our current state of affairs? That's the argument Binyamin Appelbaum makes in his book "The Economists' Hour". On this episode, Kate and Luigi debate the history of …

The Controversial Tax Policies Of Emmanuel Saez

January 30th, 2020


Emmanuel Saez is probably one of the most controversial economists around these days. Recently, he's garnered significant attention for being one of the architects of Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax proposal. On this …

Is The American Presidency For Sale?

January 16th, 2020


As the Democratic primary is ramping up for the Iowa caucuses, everyone is talking about how much money the candidates have spent. And they're asking …

The Failure of Russian Capitalism With Bill Browder

January 2nd, 2020


On this podcast we mostly talk about what isn’t working in American capitalism. But, on this episode, we're taking a break to look at how capitalism can go wrong in other countries, specifically...Russia. And we’re …

Silicon Valley’s Corporate Culture Problem With Mike Isaac

December 19th, 2019


Does Silicon Valley have a capitalism problem or does capitalism have a Silicon Valley problem? On this episode, Kate and Luigi sit down with Mike …

Optimizing Our Healthcare System

December 5th, 2019


You don't need us to tell you there's something very wrong with the American healthcare system. The real question is: what can we actually do to fix …

Shareholder Vote Suppression With SEC Commissioner Rob Jackson

November 21st, 2019


A common theme on our podcast is whether shareholders have too much power. But if we were going to redistribute that power, to whom should it go? Two …

Is Elizabeth Warren Right About Private Equity?

November 7th, 2019


Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren blames private equity for many of the issues in our economy. She plans to reign it in and regulate it with …

College Admission (In)Justice: Harvard and Beyond

October 24th, 2019


Getting into the right college is arguably more important than ever, which has put the justice or injustice of admissions processes in the spotlight. …

What It Takes To Win The Nobel Prize In Economics

October 10th, 2019


On this episode, Kate and Luigi explain how to win the econ Nobel, why it's important, and they attempted to predict who the 2019 winner might be.

Economic Research: Nothing Precisely or Precisely Nothing?

September 26th, 2019


On this episode, you're going to hear how the sausage gets made in economic research as Kate and Luigi personally investigate whether private equity is to blame for the retail apocalypse.

Should We Let Walmart Regulate Itself?

September 12th, 2019


In the last few weeks, we've seen two examples of seeming corporate self-regulation. One is Walmart's decision to end all handgun ammunition sales, …

Shareholders vs. Stakeholders

August 29th, 2019


Many are praising a recent Business Roundtable announcement that corporations should serve stakeholders as well as shareholders. On the surface, this …

Are Stock Buybacks Evil?

August 15th, 2019


Are stock buybacks evil? A lot of politicians seem to think so. Senators Bernie Sanders and Chuck Schumer wrote an op-ed in the New York Times this …

Universal Basic Income: Why and How?

August 1st, 2019


If you've been paying attention to Andrew Yang's Democratic presidential campaign, you're probably familiar with the concept of universal basic income. On this episode, Kate and Luigi give the economic outlook on how a …

The Student Debt Crisis: There's No Such Thing As A Free College

July 18th, 2019


With Democratic presidential candidates making the student debt crisis one of the central issues of the 2020 race, Kate and Luigi give an in-depth …

The Mickey Mouse Monopoly Club

July 4th, 2019


Last episode, Kate and Luigi discussed how the patent system creates a temporary monopoly designed to make the incentives to innovate. But the real …

Luigi Submits A Patent

June 20th, 2019


After our series about the dangers of monopolies, we're going to investigate a situation in which the government actually works to create monopolies …

Regulating Facebook and Google Pt 3: Tyler Cowen Rebuttals

June 6th, 2019


In part three of our series investigating how digital platforms like Facebook and Google should be regulated, Tyler Cowen from George Mason …

Regulating Facebook and Google Pt 2: Politics

May 23rd, 2019


In part two of our series investigating how digital platforms like Facebook and Google should be regulated, Kate and Luigi dissect the ways these …

Regulating Facebook and Google Pt 1: Markets

May 9th, 2019


As digital platforms like Facebook and Google become globally powerful, some countries are investigating and even proposing legislation to regulate …

The Morality or Immorality of A Wealth Tax

April 25th, 2019


With Democrats like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren proposing wealth taxes, Kate and Luigi break down how these …

The Ups and Downs of IPOs

April 11th, 2019


There’s an acronym you’ve probably heard in the news a lot lately: IPO. With companies like Pinterest, Airbnb and UBER all considering going public this year, Kate and Luigi break down why these companies already have …

Codetermination: A Seat At The Table

March 28th, 2019


Last year Elizabeth Warren proposed the controversial Accountable Capitalism Act. One of its most talked about proposals was focused on "codetermination." Kate & Luigi explain how it works, its effectiveness and …

Is Global Antitrust Off the Rails?

March 14th, 2019


In the wake of a blocked merger between the German and French rail giants Siemens and Alstom, Kate & Luigi debate the role of global antitrust …

Millennial Socialists

February 28th, 2019


Are millennials giving up on capitalism? A recent survey found a majority now prefer socialism. Luigi gets the scoop from our resident millennial, Kate, who says most simply want European-style social welfare, …

Pollution Pt 2: Contaminated Research

February 14th, 2019


In our second episode on pollution, investigative journalist Carey Gillam joins Kate and Luigi to discuss her new book "Whitewash: The Story of a …

Pollution Pt 1: The Sticky Side of Teflon

January 31st, 2019


In the first of a two-part series on pollution, Kate and Luigi discuss the health hazards and economic costs of air pollution and contaminated …


January 17th, 2019


As Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) jumps into the 2020 Presidential race, Kate and Luigi examine her legislative record and economic policy proposals, …

Why Capitalism Needs Journalism

January 3rd, 2019


Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steven Pearlstein drops by to talk with Kate & Luigi about the incredible shrinking newspaper -- especially the …

The Financial Assassin

December 20th, 2018


Fahmi Quadir thinks short sellers get a bad rap. Known as the "financial assassin" for helping expose fraud and misconduct at Valeant, she tells Luigi that Tesla might be next. But Kate isn't convinced -- she thinks …

Global Inequality Pt 2: Divergence

December 6th, 2018


In the second of a two-part look at global inequality Kate & Luigi talk about the downside of globalization. A listener's email sparks a conversation about what's driving the growing wage gap within the U.S. We …

Global Inequality Pt 1: Convergence

November 22nd, 2018


In the first of a two-part look at global inequality Kate & Luigi talk about the upside of globalization -- a decrease in income inequality between countries over the last few decades. How much of this can be …

The People Vs. Democracy

November 8th, 2018


Yascha Mounk talks with Kate & Luigi about his new book "The People Vs. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It." Recorded in …

Brazil on the Brink

October 25th, 2018


Populism strikes again as the world's 4th largest democracy is set to elect controversial right-wing politician Jair Bolsonaro as its next leader. …

Ten Years Later Pt 3: The Next Crisis

October 11th, 2018


In our third and final episode on the 2008 financial crisis, Kate & Luigi look at recent volatility in the markets and try to predict the cause …

Live taping of Capitalisn't in Chicago on October 8th

October 3rd, 2018


Join us for a live taping of Capitalisn't on October 8 at the Union League Club in Chicago! Author Yascha Mounk will discuss his latest book, The People vs. Democracy, with co-hosts Luigi Zingales and Kate Waldock. …

Ten Years Later Pt 2: The Aftermath

September 27th, 2018


The second in a 3-part series on the 2008 financial crisis. In the weeks after the crash Luigi remembers petitioning the government for a better bank bailout. Looking back, he and Kate review everything from TARP to …

Ten Years Later Pt 1: The Build-Up

September 13th, 2018


The first in a 3-part series on the 2008 financial crisis. Kate tells Luigi about being an intern at Lehman Brothers when it collapsed and then we …

Sex, Power and the Ivory Tower

August 31st, 2018


Economists experience their first major #MeToo moment. Kate and Luigi explore the larger implications of a recent case involving a Columbia …

Antitrust Pt 3: The Europeans

August 16th, 2018


Our third and final episode on antitrust law looks at the E.U.'s recent $5 billion fine against Google. Kate and Luigi hear about double-sided …

Antitrust Pt 2: The Populists

August 2nd, 2018


The second in a special 3-part series on antitrust law. Kate and Luigi talk with Lina Khan, author of the article “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox,” and a member of the New Brandeis Movement, which believes that antitrust …

Antitrust Pt 1: The Establishment

July 19th, 2018


The first in a special 3-part series on antitrust law. In the wake of the approved merger between giants AT&T and Time Warner, Kate and Luigi …

The Reluctant Central Banker

July 5th, 2018


Do central bankers have too much power? Paul Tucker, a former official at the Bank of England during the 2008 financial crisis and author of the new …

Abdomenable Transactions

June 21st, 2018


Should a kidney be sold to the highest bidder? Luigi and Kate debate Nobel-winning economist Al Roth whose algorithm for kidney transplants has saved …

All Roads Lead to Rome

June 7th, 2018


Why was Steve Bannon in Rome last week? Luigi and Kate look at the recent formation of Italy's populist government and analyze Bannon's attempt to …

Two Billion 'Truman Shows'

May 24th, 2018


Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google and “the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience,” warns Kate & Luigi about targeted digital advertising that creates individual, orchestrated experiences …

Opinions for Sale

May 10th, 2018


As ad revenue continues to decline more and more news organizations are turning to paid and sponsored content. Luigi and Kate revisit the decades-old …

Mo Crypto Mo Problems

April 26th, 2018


In the brave new world of cryptocurrency the latest frenzy involves Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), which make Bitcoin look tame by comparison. Luigi …

Worse Than Brexit

April 12th, 2018


‘Quitaly.’ ‘Italeave.’ Whatever you call it, Italy’s recent election results are stoking fears that the once staunch supporter of the EU may be the …

Regulating Financial Weapons of Mass Destruction

March 29th, 2018


10 years after dark pools of derivatives contributed to the Great Recession, former Commodity Futures Trading Commissioner Sharon Bowen tells Kate …

A Firm Grip on the Labor Market

March 15th, 2018


The U.S. economy may be booming, but despite a recent uptick wage growth remains stubbornly flat. Kate & Luigi examine the effect of monopsonies in the labor market among concentrated industries like Big Tech. Are …

O. Contin Pusher, M.D.

March 1st, 2018


Are doctors and pharmaceutical companies to blame for the opioid epidemic? Kate & Luigi look at the role of supply and demand in fueling the …

The Moral Case Against the MBA

February 15th, 2018


Are elite MBA programs producing morally bankrupt administrators? Duff McDonald, author of “The Golden Passport,” tries to convince Luigi & Kate …

Capital Isn't in the 21st Century

February 1st, 2018


Five years after Thomas Piketty’s surprise bestseller captured the zeitgeist of an anxious age, Kate and Luigi revisit the book to see how it holds …

Strange Fedfellows

January 18th, 2018


It’s been 6 years since a member of the Federal Reserve improperly leaked information to an analyst. Kate & Luigi wonder what's really changed. Is the Fed still too cozy with big banks, the media and others with a …

College: What is it Good For?

January 4th, 2018


As college enrollment goes up, social mobility continues its 50-year decline. Luigi and Kate look for answers in the latest research on the role of …

Mutual Understanding: Is Your 401k Working Against You?

January 4th, 2018


Luigi shops for an airline ticket and ponders how our retirement investments might be hurting our wallets. New research suggests that giant mutual funds with large stakes in the companies of one industry can lead to …

Obama Wanted a Corporate Tax Cut Too

January 4th, 2018


The new U.S. tax reform bill includes a dramatic reduction in the corporate tax rate. Is this a hand-out to the rich or a necessary measure to spur the U.S. economy in the face of global competition? Luigi and Kate …

Hail to the Chief of Facebook

January 4th, 2018


Not long ago Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg hinted at a run for political office. Luigi and Kate debate whether a President Zuckerberg would give the …

Capitalisn't Trailer

December 17th, 2017


Luigi and Kate deliberate over the topics that will be discussed on Capitalisn't -- they range from market power to Italian history. Visit us at to learn more.

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