Nigel Wilson

Nigel Wilson

Group Chief Executive

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Inclusive Capitalism needn’t involve great sacrifice

Writing in, Nigel Wilson explains what investments count as 'Inclusive Capitalism' and how it helps finance economic growth in cities governed by people of all political colours.


Since the global financial crisis, our capitalist system has created extraordinary wealth but also cynicism and resentment. Business has driven underinvestment, widening the gap between Wall Street and the High Street – giving impetus to the dismal economic state-of-mind otherwise described as “Secular Stagnation.” 

This miserable mindset self-reinforces an already existing negative bias; it becomes an excuse for poor management decisions, a blinkered approach by business and government alike, (with each blaming the other) and both wrong. As a result, investment in areas such as productive technology benefits ever-fewer people. This needs to change. Now is the time we should be exploring “Inclusive Capitalism” – what it is, how it can be defined, some positive signs of its emergence and provide actual examples of it, hard at work.

Inclusive Capitalism needn’t involve great sacrifice – investments which are both economically and socially useful can and should deliver healthy returns, driven mainly by millennials. The capitalist model is evolving, universities are brimming with innovative, commercial ideas, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data-driven businesses are starting-up easily and in record numbers, science has never been so exciting; animal and entrepreneurial spirits are ever-rising, everywhere.

Rather like the 1840’s and 1980’s when informed scholars couldn’t see technological progress in the numbers, we see the same today. The irony of the productivity paradox is that most of us believe AI will result in huge job losses in existing industries, boosting productivity while also creating enormous new industries which also boost productivity. The risk is that “artificial intelligence” (which is not artificial but real) will benefit a minority of highly productive people, who, along with the state, will support the economically inactive and economically excluded.

History will judge us badly if we miss this opportunity to save capitalism from itself, not least because capitalism is under pressure, particularly from populism.   Our current political and economic backdrop as we enter the fourth industrial revolution today has choices to make. Some countries have made good choices: Singapore, Switzerland, Norway… others have not.

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... you can be a capitalist and still feel good about it... Environmental, Social and Governance interventions by investors are here to stay. Diversity, solar and wind power are happening, as is decarbonisation and a reduction in plastic consumption. Inclusive Capitalism works as a way to finance economic growth in cities governed by people of all political colors... experienced [this] in Manchester, Newcastle, Cardiff and other UK cities, and the same is true in Austin, Denver and Seattle.