The Future of Capitalism

  • A National Endowment for Prosperity

Capitalism has seemingly conquered the world. Market economies are now the “only game in town.” However, at the same time, this system that has created so much wealth finds itself on the verge of interlocking crises of inequality, environmental degradation, and global competition. The Berggruen Institute “Future of Capitalism” program confronts these challenges by trying to better understand how a global capitalism can be reshaped and regulated at all levels of governance: regional, national, and international. Our program is focused around two interlocking themes: pre-distribution and multi-level economic policy making.

The pre-distribution agenda asks how we can get ahead of changes in technology and social structure to make sure that states and publics have ownership of wealth producing assets at their inception. We have explored various forms of rethinking ownership including sovereign wealth funds, publicly supported individual savings institutions, public retirement institutions, and cooperative enterprise ownership. We have worked with policy makers to envision ways that publics can retain stakes in common goods that are now being commercialized by private actors.

Our multilevel governance research asks how we can adapt existing institutions and establish new mechanisms to build regulatory and fiscal systems that are flexible and comprehensive enough to govern global capitalism on the international, national, and regional scale. We have been active in campaigns to help extend Federal monetary authority to state governments and to re-imagine global monetary orders.

Some of our partners have included, the Aspen Institute, the St. Louis Federal Reserve, the Georgetown Center for Retirement Initiatives, and the Institute for the Future. Together, we strive to build an economy that is both productive and inclusive. One that makes sure that productivity and wealth go to all stakeholders rather than a lucky few.




The rapid privatization of wealth generating assets in the late-twentieth century has created almost historically unprecedented economic inequality that can no longer deliver sustainable growth. Moreover, it is impossible to go back to the old “welfare” state that assumed services could be financed and delivered only through re-distribution. This impasse requires us to develop a new model of wealth ownership, not to eliminate privately owned wealth, but to supplant it with the mutual wealth in a way that arms citizens with a set of endowments that allows them to have more negotiating leverage with private power. The Berggruen Institute’s Universal Basic Capital program explores ways to equip individuals with universal access to an asset base that is mutually administered and distributes benefits to its stakeholders.



The 2008 financial crisis has demonstrated that the globalization of financial systems has made sovereignty far weaker than leaders would sometimes like to believe. These leaders and publics have been faced with a contradictory set of phenomena, on one hand an expectation of a multi-polar world and, on the other, the increasing inability of individual governments to exercise control over their economies. The Berggruen Institute’s “New Political Economy” explores innovative proposals for how leaders of national, supranational and subnational polities can best respond to and reshape globalized capitalism in three core areas: the relationship between internationalized money and finance and national sovereignty; the institutional changes and financialization of wealth and its impact on monetary and fiscal policy tools; and ways of coordinating national and supranational development and trade policy.