Coin-Flip Capitalism

May 20, 2020

High-flying financial firms attract a disproportionate share of the nation’s business talent, fund lavish compensation through fees charged to public pension funds and non-profit endowments, and shape the behavior of companies in the real economy. Yet their status as a political football prevents examination of what they really accomplish—one side happily vilifies them simply because they represent capital, while the other grants them praise on the presumption that profitable market activity is inherently valuable.

Coin-Flip Capitalism aims to help policymakers and the public better understand how the hedge fund, private equity, and venture capital industries function, what social and economic value they create or destroy, and how policy should respond. A Primer introduces the relevant topics and explains why they are subjects of public concern. The Returns Counter aggregates financial returns data into a comprehensive set of quarterly performance benchmarks for each industry. Future installments will delve further into the issues these data raise and the potential for market-strengthening reforms.