University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Ellen McArthur Lectures > Impatient and patient capital: housing and democracy

Impatient and patient capital: housing and democracy

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  • UserAvner Offer, Chichele Professor of Economic History (Oxford) World_link
  • ClockThursday 01 November 2018, 17:00-18:00
  • HouseFaculty of Law, LG19.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Amy Erickson.

This is the second lecture in a series of four.

The future will be present one day and needs to be cared for. Who will do it and how? Prevailing interest rates define a credit time horizon. A project that needs more time to mature cannot be undertaken by business alone. Uncertainty also screens off the future and needs to be offset by government.

In lecture one the UK Private Finance Initiative (PFI) (1990-2050) is in harmful defiance of these norms. Housing finance appears to defy them as well but lecture two shows that the rise of home ownership (and most infrastructure investment) accords with the model. Why are children not produced for profit? Raising them to maturity exceeds the patience of capitalists.

Lecture three works out the temporal constraints on markets for education and social insurance. Credit time horizons are ethical boundaries too, and lecture four shows how transgressions give rise to corruption. Overall, time horizons determine whether business or government owns the future.

This talk is part of the Ellen McArthur Lectures series.

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