Capital in the Twenty-First Century, Thomas Piketty's most widely popular takedown of capitalism since Karl Marx's Das Capital, is streaking through Berkeley and other progressive West Coast communities like California wildfires.
Since my reading of books in the soft sciences such as economics is belief, rather than evidence based, I'll admit to only scanning the book, reading the first and last few pages and passing over pages and pages of mind-numbing graphs. Basically, it seems that capitalism benefits the few and berefts the many of health, happiness, housing, and a good education.
Where I live, in Silicon Valley, venture capitalists rather than the hedge fund brokers and investment bankers in New York City, live off the fat of other people's ideas and labor. And if, in the rare instance, those people -- the ones who create startups with the help of venture capital -- make it big, they in turn become VCs. It's a vicious cycle.
As VCs plow most of their enormous wealth into companies so as to increase that wealth, they dribble off bits into tax-write-off foundations that donate to causes du jour such as longevity research, technology-based education panaceas, and antediluvian newspapers.
Although Republicans use the term to describe Obama's energy investments in a derogatory way, venture socialism might be one approach to counter the income imbalance resulting from venture capitalism. As opposed to VCs, VSs would invest in projects, organizations, institutions, and coops that address social ills with inventive solutions.
One need not throw out all the VC criteria for investment selection, most of which apply to nonprofits as well as profits. Who makes up the team? Who is their market? How will they effect change? Can they scale? How will they become sustainable after receiving an x amount of VS support?
Some business schools, such as Haas at UC Berkeley, host programs to train social entrepreneurs. So the future agents of social change do exist. All is needed is a rampant growth of venture socialists to start them up.