Quick: What’s the most pervasive problem plaguing Philadelphia?
If you answered poverty, you’d sadly be right. And at a time when nearly one-quarter of Philadelphians live below the poverty line, none of us can afford to turn away from issues like income inequality any longer.
Nick Hanauer knows this. An unabashed capitalist, Hanauer is not merely in the top one percent of earners, but the top .01 percent. A plutocrat who’s managed, founded or financed over 30 companies—including a little venture called Amazon, for which he was an early investor—he’s also an author and civic activist who famously, and successfully, championed Seattle’s $15 minimum wage. And if his experience at the top of the income pyramid has taught him anything, it’s this:
We need a new economics.
It’s a call to action Hanauer espoused in his popular 2019 TED Talk, in which he decried the many flaws of today’s capitalism.
“The economics of what made me so rich isn’t just wrong—it’s backwards,” he said during the Talk. “Because it turns out, 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. What we can now see is that an economics that is neither just nor inclusive can never sustain the high levels of social cooperation necessary to enable a modern society to thrive.”
But Hanauer doesn’t just TED-talk his way around change. In 2015, he founded Civic Ventures, a group of “political troublemakers devoted to… catalyz[ing] significant social change.” The group’s goal: Nothing short of shaking up the status quo in Seattle, and the rest of the country.
On December 22, Hanauer will bring his 30-plus years of business expertise and his renegade approach to economic theory to The Citizen’s 3rd annual Ideas We Should Steal Festival, where he’ll join MSNBC host Ali Velshi for a conversation on how capitalism is failing us, and what we can do about it.
Get your tickets here—we can’t wait for you to join us.