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Levy Economics Institute and Economics Program present

Doing Capitalism in the Innovation Economy

Monday, March 4, 2013

William H. Janeway
Instutute for New Economic Thinking and Warburg Pincus Technology


“The Innovation Economy begins with discovery and culminates in speculation. Over some 250 years, economic growth has been driven by successive processes of trial and error and error and error: upstream exercises in research and invention, and downstream experiments in exploiting the new economic space opened by innovation. Each of these activities necessarily generates much waste along the way: dead-end research programs, useless inventions and failed commercial ventures. In between, the innovations that have repeatedly transformed the architecture of the market economy, from canals to the internet, have required massive investments to construct networks whose value in use could not be imagined at the outset of deployment. And so at each stage the Innovation Economy depends on sources of funding that are decoupled from concern for economic return.”


William H. Janeway has lived a double life of “theorist-practitioner,” according to the legendary economist Hyman Minsky who first applied that term to him twenty-five years ago. In his role as “practitioner,” Bill Janeway has been an active venture capital investor for more than 40 years, during which time he built and led the Warburg Pincus Technology Investment team that provided financial backing to a series of companies making critical contributions to the internet economy. As a “theorist,” Janeway received a Ph.D in Economics from Cambridge University where he was a Marshall Scholar.  His doctoral study on the formulation of economic policy following the Great Crash of 1929 was supervised by Keynes’ leading student, Richard Kahn (author of the foundational paper on “the multiplier.”)  Janeway went on to found the Cambridge Endowment for Research in Finance.  Currently he serves as a Teaching Visitor at the Princeton University Economics Department and Visiting Scholar in the Economics Faculty of Cambridge University. He is a member of the Management Board of Cambridge Endowment for Research in Finance (CERF) and a co-founder and member of the Governing Board of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET).  He serves on the Advisory Boards of the Princeton Bendheim Center for Finance and the MIT-Sloan Finance Group. In September 2012, Janeway received the honorary award of Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to education in support of Cambridge University and to UK/US relations.

 This talk is part of the ongoing Economics seminar series, which is dedicated to furthering the exchange of economic ideas in the greater Bard community.

For more information, call 845-758-7075, or e-mail tchernev@bard.edu.

Location: RKC 103