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Lecture series explores capitalism in 10 years

by Carol Elliott

January 22, 2010

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In the depth of the recession, as banks failed, foreclosure rates spiked and unemployment lines grew, there was plenty of room to question whether capitalism as a market system was to blame. The “invisible hand” seemed to have fumbled badly, and critics such as documentary filmmaker Michael Moore charged that capitalism was a failure.

But a verdict isn’t that simple, particularly given the vast changes in world economies as technology advances and proliferates, consumer usage patterns change, and influencers such as religion and sustainability rise to the fore.

What is the future of capitalism? Starting on Jan. 22, the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business spring lecture series, Ten Years Hence, will examine the topic from a variety of perspectives, including those of experts in money management, retail and media.

The talks are held in the Jordan Auditorium at the Mendoza College and are free and open to the public. Ten Years Hence also is offered as a one-credit course open to Notre Dame graduate and undergraduate students.

“This year’s lecture series is focused on ‘The Future of Capitalism,’ largely because we’ve seen such dramatic and unprecedented turmoil in the global economy, the job market, the financial and capital markets, and the regulatory agencies that oversee them,” said James S. O’Rourke IV, a concurrent professor of management and director of the Eugene D. Fanning Center at the Mendoza College.

“People have begun to question the most basic of assumptions about our economy and the ways in which we create wealth and opportunity for society. Naturally, we’re more than a little curious about what’s just ahead and when things will change. We’re equally curious about the long-term prospects for business, macroeconomics and the capitalist system.”

The 2010 “Ten Years Hence” presentations feature two panel discussions with economic professors and money managers on Harvard Business Professor Niall Ferguson’s best-selling book and PBS series, “The Ascent of Money.” Speakers also include John Mackey, chairman and CEO of Whole Foods Market; and Fred Dust of IDEO, a global design and innovation firm.

The full schedule is:

• Jan. 22: Scott Malpass, vice president and chief investment officer at Notre Dame; and Richard Mendenhall, Fred. V. Duda Professor of Finance at Notre Dame, “The Ascent of Money” Panel Discussion (Part I)
Feb. 5: John W. Rosenthal Sr., CEO and managing member of Rosenthal Partners Capital Advisors; and Paul H. Schultz, Maude Clark Professor of Finance, “The Ascent of Money” Panel Discussion (Part II)
Feb. 12: “From Here to Conscious Capitalism: Getting There with the Design Approach,” by Fred Dust, partner and practice lead for IDEO
Feb. 26: “The Evolving Media and its Consequences for American Society,” by Harris Diamond, CEO, Weber Shandwick
March 19: Hazel Henderson, founder of Ethical Markets Media (live video feed)
March 26: “Conscious Capitalism,” by John Mackey, chairman and CEO of Whole Foods Market
April 16: Catherine Mathis, senior vice president of Marketing and Communications for Standard & Poor’s

Ten Years Hence, a signature event of the Mendoza College started six years ago, explores ideas and trends likely to affect business and society over the next decade. Students, faculty and the community use guest speaker comments as a springboard for structured speculation about emerging issues and the next 10 years.

“Our aim has been to focus on issues that will confront our students as they take their place in a democratic society,” said O’Rourke. “More important, though, is not simply the notion of what’s likely to happen in 10 years’ time, but what we might do along the way to intervene, influence or improve those outcomes.”

More Information about the Ten Years Hence series is available
here or by contacting Jean Meade at 574-631-3277 or Jean.Meade@nd.edu.