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What I learned by Doing Capitalism


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Speaker(s): Dr William H Janeway, Professor Dimitri Vayanos
Chair: Professor Craig Calhoun

Recorded on 11 October 2012 in Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building.

In this talk William Janeway will discuss his new book, Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy: Markets, Speculation and the State. The Innovation Economy begins with discovery and culminates in speculation. Over some 250 years, economic growth has been driven by successive processes of trial and error: upstream exercises in research and invention, and downstream experiments in exploiting the new economic space opened by innovation. Drawing on his professional experiences, William H. Janeway provides an accessible pathway for readers to appreciate the dynamics of the Innovation Economy. He combines personal reflections, from a career spanning forty years in venture capital, with the development of an original theory of the role of asset bubbles in financing technological innovation and of the role of the state in playing an enabling role in the innovation process. Today, with the state frozen as an economic actor and access to the public equity markets only open to a minority, the Innovation Economy is stalled; learning the lessons from this book will contribute to its renewal.

William H. Janeway has lived a double life of "theorist-practitioner," according to the legendary economist Hyman Minsky who first applied that term to him twenty-five years ago. In his role as "practitioner," Bill Janeway has been an active venture capital investor for more than 40 years. During that time he built and led the Warburg Pincus Technology Investment team that provided financial backing to a series of companies making critical contributions to the internet economy, including BEA Systems, Veritas Software and, more recently, Nuance Communications, the speech recognition company. He remains actively engaged as a Senior Advisor and Managing Director at Warburg Pincus.

As a "theorist," Janeway received a Ph.D in Economics from Cambridge University where he was a Marshall Scholar. His doctoral study on the formulation of economic policy following the Great Crash of 1929 was supervised by Keynes' leading student, Richard Kahn (author of the foundational paper on "the multiplier"). Janeway went on to found the Cambridge Endowment for Research in Finance. Currently he serves as a Teaching Visitor at the Princeton University Economics Department and Visiting Scholar in the Economics Faculty of Cambridge University.

Janeway is a director of Magnet Systems, Nuance Communications, O'Reilly Media and a member of the Board of Managers of Roubini Global Economics. He is a member of the board of directors of the Social Science Research Council, and a co-founder and member of the Governing Board of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET).

Mr Janeway will be signing copies of his book, which will be available for sale with a 20% discount on the night.

Dimitri Vayanos is Professor of Finance and Director of the Paul Woolley Centre for the Study of Capital Market Dysfunctionality at LSE.

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