Opinion

Chrystia Freeland

Hedge funds: friends or foes?

Chrystia Freeland
Jun 9, 2011 16:58 UTC

Are hedge funds malign financial firms that are exploiting and encouraging volatility? Or are they contrarian investors that lean against asset bubbles and make markets more stable? Chrystia interviewed Roger Martin of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and Sebastian Mallaby of the Council on Foreign Relations about the role of hedge funds in the economy, George Soros’s “gloriously schizophrenic personality,” and the lessons financial regulators can learn from the NFL commissioner:

Are businesses adding to the common good?

Chrystia Freeland
May 13, 2011 13:52 UTC

Roger Martin is an unlikely revolutionary: He is the dean of the Rotman School of Management, the business school at the University of Toronto, he sits on blue-chip corporate boards, and he has worked as a consultant for big, traditional companies like Procter & Gamble and General Motors. All in all, very much the résumé of a pillar of the corporate establishment. (Disclosure: I am a member of the Rotman School’s advisory board.)

But this month, Martin has published a book whose gentle tone belies its seditious content. Here’s what is radical about Fixing the Game: Bubbles, Crashes and What Capitalism Can Learn From the N.F.L.: Instead of asking how businesses can organize themselves to be more effective and more profitable for their shareholders, Martin wants to figure out how society should organize business to be more effective for all of us.

The corporate intelligentsia — business school professors, management consultants and many of us scribblers and squawkers of the business press — focus nearly all of their attention on the first question. That is a perfectly worthy subject. Indeed, the huge and continuing improvements in business productivity over the past 200 years have made more of us richer and healthier than human beings of the previous two millennia could have imagined.

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