Capitalism and Crises: How to Fix Them

Past event

How can capitalism solve the most pressing problems of today? Join us for a deep dive into a brave, new approach to capitalism and the key institution at the heart of it - business.

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Professor Colin Mayer’s new book builds on his pioneering work on business purpose to address the underlying need: an embrace of “problem-solving capitalism” and moral leadership. Prof Mayer will introduce the book with responses from three distinguished panellists, followed by questions. The discussion will be moderated by Dr Edward Brooks, Executive Director of the Oxford Character Project.


Sarah Gillard, CEO of A Blueprint for Better Business

David Rouch, Partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Andrew Hill, Senior business writer at the Financial Times

Date: Friday 1st March (online via Zoom)

Time: 13:00 - 14:00

Colin Mayer CBE is Emeritus Professor of Management Studies at the Blavatnik School of Government and Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, the Centre of Economic Policy Research, and the European Corporate Governance Institute. He has been a leading voice in the area of corporate purpose for over a decade, conducting pioneering research and leading the British Academy's Future of the Corporation Programme.

Sarah Gillard is CEO of A Blueprint for Better Business, which she joined in 2022 from her role as Director of Purpose and Special Projects at John Lewis Partnership. She has over 25 years of experience in leadership positions at some of the UK’s largest retail companies and is a passionate advocate for making business “more human”.

David Rouch is Partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, where he specialises in financial services regulation. He is known for cutting-edge legal work and thought leadership in the areas of sustainability, social capital, and trust. David is the author of "The Social License for Financial Markets: Reaching for the End And Why It Counts" (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).

Andrew Hill is senior business writer at the FT and consulting editor, FT Live. He is a former management editor, City editor, financial editor and comment and analysis editor. He is the author of ‘Leadership in the Headlines’ (2016), a collection of his columns. He joined the FT in 1988 and has also worked as New York bureau chief, foreign news editor and correspondent in Brussels and Milan. Andrew was named Business Commentator of the Year at the 2016 Comment Awards and Commentator of the Year at the 2009 Business Journalist of the Year Awards, where he also received a Decade of Excellence award.

Book description

The world is encountering multiple crises - climate, droughts, floods, energy, food, and pandemics, to name a few. Capitalism and Crises is about how capitalism can fix the problems - how it can solve not cause them. The reason why it has caused them is that we have misconceived the nature of our capitalist system. We have failed to understand the key institution at the heart of it - business - and as a result we have allowed it to cause as well as solve problems. This book describes why this has happened and what needs to change to address it: it will take you through how the capitalist system operates, where it fails and why, and it will demonstrate that at the core of the problem is the key driver of capitalism and that is profit - the way in which we resource and reward those who run the system.

Currently, profit comes from causing as well as solving problems. It must not, if we are to prevent the problems. Drawing on history, philosophy, psychology, and biology as well economics, law, and finance, Mayer describes what has gone wrong, what needs to change, and how to fix it. He sets out the big challenges that capitalism must address and how it should set about doing that, and discusses how financial institutions should be at the heart of this, and how the public sector can work with the private on a common purpose of solving problems and creating shared prosperity. Capitalism and Crises provides an inspiring and motivational roadmap of how we as practitioners, policymakers, consumers, employees, communities, students, and citizens of the world can together tackle the challenges of the 21st century - to flourish and survive.

Capitalism and Crises: How to Fix Them was released in January 2024, published by Oxford University Press. The discussion is hosted by A Blueprint for Better Business & the Oxford Character Project, University of Oxford. If you have any questions regarding the webinar, please write to

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