Michael Kinsley, the founding editor of Slate and a half-time Seattle resident, is involved in an interesting new project. It's a Web site gathering quality commentary about "Creative Capitalism." It's well worth looking at.
The idea springs from a speech that Bill Gates gave, calling for a more public-spirited capitalism. Here's how the Web site describes the project, being overseen by Kinsley and Conor Clarke and meant to produce a book this fall:
The book takes as its starting point a speech Bill Gates delivered this January at the World Economic Forum in Davos. In it, he said that many of the world's problems are too big for philanthropy — even on the scale of the Gates Foundation. And he said that the free-market capitalist system itself would have to solve them.
This is the public blog of a private website where a group of invited economists have spent the past couple of weeks criticizing and debating those claims. Over the next couple of months we'll be posting much of that material here, in the hopes of eliciting public commentary.
The project is interesting not only because of the provocative topic of how to create a capitalism with more of a social-justice component, but also because of the way the conversation is being structured, with a kind of bicameral public legislature. On the one hand are invited economists, who like to associate with eminent types like themselves. In the other chamber, with some moderating, are ordinary folks who want to pitch in and match wits with each other as well as the eminences. Creative capitalism meet creative book-assembling.