Listen to “#27 – Change the Paradigm, Change the System: A Conversation with Denise Hearn” on Spreaker.

In this episode of the Breaking the Fever podcast, we speak with Denise Hearn about the most significant opportunities and concerns with capitalism, the need for ESG and corporate governance to evolve, and the ideas behind her new project, Embodied Economics.

We discuss:

  • How monopoly, competition dynamics, and instrumentalist thinking affect ESG investing
  • Ways ESG investing has been shaped by the pandemic
  • The problem with the idealized, abstract, self-interested logic of economics
  • What good corporate regulation looks like in a contentious political climate

Denise Hearn is co-author of The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition—named one of the Financial Times’ Best Books of 2018 and endorsed by two Nobel Prize winners. She is currently a Senior Fellow at the American Economic Liberties Project and a thought partner to SheEO. She is also Board Chair of The Predistribution Initiative—a multi-stakeholder project to improve investment structures and practices to address systemic risks like inequality and climate change. Denise helped launch the First Principles Forum, a platform to support and challenge technology company founders who want to use their wealth for good—now housed at Stanford’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society. She has an MBA from the Oxford Saïd Business School, where she co-chaired the Social Impact Oxford Business Network, and has a BA in International Studies from Baylor University.

More Resources

Katrine Marçal — Who Cooked Adam Smith’s Dinner? (book)

Vincent Deluard’s work featured in this FT article: ESG investment favours tax-avoiding tech companies

Robert Hinkley’s work (referenced here by Ralph Nader) on updating the corporate charter to include the phrase: “the duty of directors [is] to make money for shareholders, ‘…but not at the expense of the environment, human rights, the public health or safety, the communities in which the corporation operates or the dignity of its employees.’”

Systems Innovation has fantastic courses on complexity, systems thinking, emergence, etc.

Donella Meadows — Thinking in Systems (book) and 12 leverage points for systems change (article)

Embodied Economics