Nick Hanauer is a billionaire entrepreneur, venture capitalist, civic activist, philanthropist, and author. He has founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries, with great success. As a few highlights, he co-founded a company called aQuantive that sold to Microsoft for $6.4 billion, and was the first non-family investor in Amazon.
Meanwhile Hanauer, a “proud and unapologetic capitalist,” has also been looking closely at society’s growing inequality gap, and the consequences it holds for our shared destiny — and the ultimate fate of our democracies. He is the co-author of the books The True Patriot, and The Gardens of Democracy. In the summer of 2014, Hanauer published a much-shared essay in Politico that suggests, if societal inequality is allowed to grow unchecked, modern societies could start looking an awful lot like pre-Revolutionary France.
Thoughts & Questions for Discussion:
• Has rapid technological growth contributed to the level of income disparity?
• To what extent?
• Assuming that our economy is driven by the consumer, what would be the principal arguments for raising minimum wage across the board?
• Arguments against?
• Does “Supply Side Economics” (formerly called “trickle down economics”) help promote economic growth?
• In what ways?
• Dan Ariely on TED: How equal do we want the world to be? You’d be Surprised.
Further Reading & Charts on Wealth Distribution in America:
• Eleven Charts On Income and Wealth Distribution – from MotherJones.com
• Economic Inequality: It’s far worse than you think – from Scientific American
• Of the 1%, by the 1%, for the 1% – from Vanity Fair
• Exploding Wealth Inequality – from equitablegrowth.org
• The growing gap between middle and upper income families – from Pew Research