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Reform capitalism or face revolution, billionaires are told at Milken Conference

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Reform capitalism or face revolution, billionaires are told at Milken Conference

Laurence Darmiento, Los Angeles Times on May 2, 2019

Published in Business News

 
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BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The atmosphere of incongruity that pervaded this week's annual Milken Institute Global Conference was practically palpable.

The gathering of billionaires, hedge fund managers and other financial industry professionals who converged on the Beverly Hilton hotel largely had a particular end in mind: how to increase their alpha, which, not to get too complicated, means improving their investment returns.

But while the 5,000 attendees could go to sessions on the state of capital markets, listen to the chairwoman of the International Monetary Fund and strike up conversations with some of the world's most savvy investors, it all had to go down with a rather large dose of bitter medicine.

If the barricades have not been erected in the streets, they were told several times over, they could soon be unless there is reform of the American economic system.

"It's not whether we should be capitalist or socialist. It's how do we make sure that capitalism is working the way it has in the past," said Alan Schwartz, a managing partner at global investment firm Guggenheim Partners, who warned of "class warfare."

He noted that salaries and wages as a percentage of the economic pie is a postwar low of 40 percent, prompting a "throw out the rich" mentality that would require some form of income redistribution to head off.

The dire warnings were reflected in the conference's theme, Driving Shared Prosperity, and in a host of panel discussions that didn't forget members of the 1 percent were in the audience.

Consider Wednesday's lunch session on the weighty topic, "The Future of the Free-Enterprise System." The panel was hosted by Institute founder and L.A. billionaire philanthropist Michael Milken, and featured discussion of the threat of climate change as well as the rising popularity of socialism among young people.

Milken told the audience that there is concern over the free enterprise system: "Obviously it is not working for everyone."

Kerry Healey, president of Babson College -- a suburban Boston school ranked highly for its entrepreneurship education -- talked up the "conscious capitalism" movement, which posits that businesses need a higher purpose beyond just making money money.

more at

https://www.arcamax.com/business/businessnews/s-2204050?fs

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'Moneyland' Reveals How Oligarchs, Kleptocrats And Crooks Stash Fortunes

Journalist Oliver Bullough runs kleptocracy tours in London, in which he points out mansions bought by corrupt foreign leaders and oligarchs. Moneyland describes their secretive transnational world.

Moneyland

Why Thieves and Crooks Now Rule the World and How to Take It Back

by Oliver Bullough

https://www.npr.org/2019/05/01/719001286/moneyland-reveals-how-oligarchs-kleptocrats-and-crooks-stash-fortunes

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