A love of finance, politics, and podcasts led Kate Waldock, assistant professor of finance, and Luigi Zingales of the University of Chicago Booth to create Capitalisn’t, a new podcast available on iTunes. Podcasts about politics, as well as those about finance, are crowded spaces, but Waldock and Zingales identified a niche in the media: economic policy, economic research, and understanding how businesses work.
“A lot of people think that we have socialist or communist leanings because of our title, but in actuality, we are staunch capitalists,” Waldock said. “We both believe that being able to own a company or a business allows those companies to be managed the best possible way, and that in turn is good for the growth of society.” Still, human nature affects a well-run capitalist society, and Capitalisn’t was established to point out those flaws.
Run by the Stigler Center in Chicago, Capitalisn’t tackles a variety of issues, ranging from market power to Italian history. In their first few episodes, Waldock and Zingales discussed the monopolization of social media and other ramifications that could arise if Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg were to run for president, the latest research on the role of higher education, and who’s to blame for the opioid epidemic.
Waldock explained that she and Zingales do not have a specific strategy to brainstorm topics. “We look at interesting academic research, particularly issues people haven’t really heard of outside the academic realm. We think about what’s going on in policy. We consider popular books and the news and see if anyone is interested in being a guest on the show,” she said. Currently, the team has about 50 topics queued, and the list keeps growing.
In terms of creating the episodes, Waldock and Zingales have a prep call once a week before each recording in which they discuss the content and the arc. The recording itself is done over Skype, as Waldock is based in Washington, D.C., and Zingales is in Chicago.
“Our plan is to grow our listener base and continue indefinitely,” said Waldock. “There’s no shortage of things that are wrong with economic policy in the world.”