On August 27, the Center for Positive/Empirical Analysis of Political Economy of the Top Global University Project hosted the seminar “Is Capitalism Obsolete?” by Professor. Giacomo Corneo (Berlin Free University, Germany),who came to Japan to give s talk at a series of international conferences. At the seminar, Professor Corneo, referred to the discussion on the reconsideration of capitalism, a topic which has recently brought up again by Tomas Piketty, and suggested enhancing the role played by the public ownership of capital within the market economy. This suggestion intended to solve several problems concerning the increasing inequality of wealth.
The seminar was divided into two parts. In the first part, “A journey through alternative economic systems,” Professor Corneo gave the overview to rethink capitalism by showing the outline of his book Bessere Welt, which was translated into Japanese and published at the end of 2018. After analyzing various economic systems, he advocated shareholder socialism as an alternative to capitalism. In the second part of the seminar, “How to manage public capital in a democratic and efficient way” , Professor Corneo expounded his suggestion more concretely. It was a two-step strategy after building public capital ; 1) Establishing the Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF), which aims at investing in the world stock market and managing public capital; , then 2) The country creates a novel institution, the Federal Shareholder (FS), which intends to take control of large companies democratically. He estimated that this program would reduce inequality, realizing more economic pluralism and rejuvenate democracy over time. A few days after this event, Professor Corneo reported that the German Green Party decided to adopt his suggestion.