Social Wealth Seminar

Together, the coronavirus crisis and mass uprisings against racist police violence have foregrounded questions of public finance and social service provision. Decades of austerity for schools, hospitals, and public benefits have coincided with growing investment in mechanisms of social control, aggravating inequality, precarization, and environmental degradation. To counteract these trends, we need a historically informed research and policy agenda that joins technical expertise around monetary policy, municipal budgeting, and the management of public assets to the pursuit of racial, social, and ecological goals.

JFI’s Social Wealth Seminar is a diverse, interdisciplinary space to foster collaboration at the point where public finance meets social protection. We learn from scholars, policy officials, and advocates whose work speaks to questions including:

  • Municipal finance, public wealth, and racial inequality
  • Shared equity ownership and wider disbursement of returns to capital
  • Investment, divestment, and the democratic management of public assets
  • Capitalization and investment strategies for social wealth funds at the national and subnational levels
  • Basic income, baby bonds, savings accounts and other cash/asset transfers
  • Public data ownership and the construction of a digital commons
  • Financial mechanisms to overcome fossil fuel dependency
  • Scaling cooperativism and collectivism, especially in the public sector

Sessions are held on Tuesdays, typically at 6pm ET, and run about an hour. Suggested readings and short bibliographies are circulated ahead of most meetings. Come with questions; we reserve much of our time for discussion.

The seminar is open to the public by RSVP. To join our mailing list (roughly one email per week), contact

Those interested in presenting should contact Paul Katz at

Artwork: Gold Mining, Cripple Creek, by Ernest Lawson.

In This Series

Session 1

Social Wealth Seminar: Naomi Zewde

“Inequalities in Wealth and Health: Things to Consider when Building a Generation."

Session 2

Social Wealth Seminar: Yakov Feygin

“Sovereign Wealth Funds and Public Wealth Building Institutions in the Context of the Global Dollar System.”

Session 3

Social Wealth Seminar: Amanda Kass

“What Might Happen To Public Pensions In The Wake Of Covid-19?”

Session 4

Social Wealth Seminar: Carla Santos Skandier

“Non-Extractive Finance Mechanisms for a Just Recovery and Transition."

Session 5

Social Wealth Seminar: Rahul Basu

“The Mineral Wealth of Nations: Accounting for the Resource Curse."

Session 6

Social Wealth Seminar: Marcelo Medeiros

“Beyond Formal Workers: Expanding Social Protection in Latin America."

Session 7

Social Wealth Seminar: Jonathan Calenzani

"Bond Yields in an Era of Slow Growth."

Session 8

Social Wealth Seminar: Aja Brown

“The Compton Pledge: An Economic Resilience Strategy for Strengthening Community in Compton.”

Session 9

Social Wealth Seminar: Steve Randy Waldman

“Perspectives on Social Wealth Funds.”

Session 10

Social Wealth Seminar: Philip Rocco

“COVID-19 and the Crisis of American Federalism.”

Session 11

Social Wealth Seminar: Sarah Quinn

“How Credit Programs Became a Multi-Purpose Political Tool.”

Session 12

Social Wealth Seminar: Saule Omarova

“The Case for a U.S. National Investment Authority.”

Session 13

Social Wealth Seminar: Jason Windawi

“What Makes Guaranteed Income Durable?"

Session 14

Social Wealth Seminar: Paul Williams and Zachary Marks

"Building a Future for Public Developers."

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