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Our Lives in Their Portfolios: Why Asset Managers Own the World

13 December 2023, 5:30 pm–7:00 pm

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Join UCL IIPP in conversation with Brett Christophers, Professor of Human Geography at Uppsala University for a panel discussion on his new book 'Our Lives in Their Portfolios: Why Asset Managers Own the World' chaired by Professor Mariana Mazzucato, UCL IIPP and Stefan Horn, UCL IIPP as discussant.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All

Availability

Yes

Cost

Free

Organiser

IIPP Comms

Watch the video here

Join this fascinating discssion on Wednesday 13th December 2023 at 17:30-19:00 (GMT) UK Time at University College London (UCL) or online on Zoom. 

About this talk:

In his new book Our Lives in Their Portfolios: Why Asset Managers Own the World, Brett Christophers peels back the veil on what he calls ‘asset manager society’ – a society in which the natural and built environment becomes one more vehicle of siphoning money from the many to the few. Asset managers, he shows, are unlike traditional owners of housing and other essential infrastructure. Buying and selling these life-supporting assets at a dizzying pace, the crux of their business model is not long-term investment and careful custodianship but making quick profits for themselves and the investors that back them. As the owners of more and more of the basic building blocks of everyday life, asset managers shape the lives of each and every one of us. In his talk, Brett Christophers will dive into how and why this came about, and what the consequences are.

Meet the panel:

  • Speaker: Brett Christophers | Professor of Human Geography at Uppsala University
  • Discussant: Stefan Horn | PhD Candidate, UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose
  • Chair: Mariana Mazzucato | Director and Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value, UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose

This talk is convened by Carolina Alves, Associate Professor in Economics, UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose.

please note there are Limited spaces available for in person attendance on a first come first served basis.

Read more about IIPP Conversations 2023-24

About the Speakers

Brett Christophers

Professor of Human Geography at Uppsala University

Brett Christophers
Brett Christophers is Professor of Human Geography at Uppsala University’s Institute for Housing and Urban Research. Based at the Institute for Housing and Urban Research at Uppsala University, Christophers is particularly interested in urban and housing issues. His recent publications include three books, The New Enclosure: The Appropriation of Public Land in Neoliberal Britain (2018); Rentier Capitalism: Who Owns the Economy, and Who Pays for It? (2020) and Our Lives in Their Portfolios: Why Asset Managers Own the World (2023)

Previously, Brett studied at Oxford University (BA, 1993), the University of British Columbia (MA, 1995) and the University of Auckland (PhD, 2008).

More about Brett Christophers

Stefan Horn

PhD Candidate at UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP)

Stefan Horn
Stefan has an academic and professional background in political economy and architecture. After graduating from the University St.Gallen and the London School of Economics he worked in infrastructure finance in London and New York. He subsequently studied architecture earning a degree from the ETSAB in Barcelona. During his architecture education Stefan became aware of the important role of political economic institutions in a sustainable built environment, which animated him to engage in further research in this area. More about Stefan Horn

Mariana Mazzucato

Founding Director and Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP)

Mariana Mazzucato
Mariana Mazzucato (PhD) is Professor in the Economics of Innovation and Public Value at University College London (UCL), where she is founding director of the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose. She has won international prizes including the Grande Ufficiale Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana in 2021, Italy's highest civilian honour, the 2020 John von Neumann Award, the 2019 All European Academies Madame de Staël Prize for Cultural Values, and the 2018 Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought. Most recently, Pope Francis appointed her to the Pontifical Academy for Life for bringing ‘more humanity’ to the world. 

Professor Mazzucato is the author of four highly-acclaimed books: The Entrepreneurial State: debunking public vs. private sector myths (2013), The Value of Everything: making and taking in the global economy (2018), Mission Economy: a moonshot guide to changing capitalism (2021) and The Big Con: How the Consulting Industry Weakens our Businesses, Infantilizes our Governments and Warps our Economies (2023). 

She advises policymakers around the world on innovation-led, inclusive and sustainable growth. Her current roles include being Chair of the World Health Organization's Council on the Economics of Health for All, Co-Chair of the Global Commission on the Economics of Water, Co-Chair on the Council on Urban Initiatives, and a member of the South African President’s Economic Advisory Council.

More about Mariana Mazzucato