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The Myth of Venture Capital with Julia Ott
Episode 21111th February 2023 • Macro N Cheese • Steve D Grumbine MS, MBA, PMP, PSM1, ITIL
00:00:00 01:00:31

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We revere venture capitalists, don’t we? Without their brave acts of derring-do — AKA investing in uncertain ventures — how would society achieve progress? Just kidding.

If you are a regular listener to this podcast, you’ve heard guests speak about the horizontal contradictions within the ruling class. Industrial capital and finance capital can each be affected differently by foreign, domestic, fiscal, and monetary policies. They may sing from the same hymn book but sometimes their interests diverge.

Steve’s guest, Dr. Julia Ott, teaches the history of capitalism at the New School. She and Steve focus their discussion on venture capitalism and its implications on policy changes, inequality, and the racial wealth gap. They explore how venture capitalists have been heavily involved in lobbying for capital gains tax breaks, leaving them more to invest and pass on to their children, exacerbating the extremes of generational wealth and generational poverty, especially for people of color.

They also observe how venture capital is assumed to create a virtuous cycle by reinvesting in multiple new companies. Historically, however, the state has been more consequential to economic growth and job creation than venture capital. For all the anti-government rhetoric flying around, especially during conservative or laissez faire periods (hello, Mr. Reagan and Mrs. Thatcher), the federal government is heavily involved in capital markets and infrastructure. Far from interfering, the state is a willing and consistent facilitator in the amassing of private wealth.

Dr. Julia Ott is Associate Professor of the History of Capitalism and Co-Director of the Heilbroner Center for Capitalism Studies at the New School for Social Research.