All Things Considered

“…nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” –Oscar Wilde

From the real cost of taking risks, to building sustainable economies, to the relationship between capitalism and the common good, in radio, digital media, lectures, and public conversations, we’re taking a fresh look at the economy and democracy.

In our first program, in partnership with WBEZ, we explored the depth and breath of risk taking in the new economy—from the world of Chicago’s cultural institutions and the financial markets. Listen below!

All Things Considered Events:

Risk-taker embraces failure to find success (Oct. 14, 2013):

Longtime entrepreneur experiences the ups and downs of the tech startup life.

Does Chicago Take Too Many Risks or Not Enough?

Featuring: Adam Davidson, co-host of NPR’s Planet Money, Malcolm Gladwell, author of David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, John Levy, author of Freaks of Fortune, and Kevin Willer, co-founder and partner at Chicago Ventures.
Summary: A look at the historical evolution of ‘risk management’. Is Chicago more risk-averse than the coasts? Where do ethics come in? Greed is part of the human story and markets are not inherently virtuous, so what if anything can be done? In today’s dynamic global marketplace is there a risk in actually trying to tame risk?

Tech startups go retro (Oct. 15, 2013):

The future of innovation in Chicago is being created in one of the oldest buildings in the city. Up on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart an unusually high level of entrepreneurial energy is coming from a 50,000 sq. foot workspace called 1871.

Is Starting Your Own Business Less Risky than Climbing the Corporate Ladder?

Featuring: Betsy Branca, Founder and co-owner of Arch Apothecary, Jared Golden, co-founder and president of Pear, Jenn Yee, Executive Director of Startup Institute, and Christine Poorman, Executive Director of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.

Summary: Job security for Millenials and whether or not climbing the corporate ladder is worth the risk. With few starting positions and companies that are quick to lay-off employees, is it safer to start your own business?

Retailer says ignorance of risk led to success (Oct. 16, 2013):

The success of a local retail fashion chain shows that not everyone needs a business plan to run a business.

What are the Moral Costs?

Featuring: Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times financial journalist, John Boatright, professor of business ethics at the Loyola University of Chicago, Deirdre McCloskey, UIC professor and author of The Bourgeois Virtues: Ethics for an Age of Commerce.

Summary: Some people make millions off the misfortunes of others, and we call it “risk.” Does the current business climate encourage or reward unreasonable risk-taking? Are dubious morals inevitable for successful business? What are the ethical costs of the market risk?

Inside the brain of people who take big risks (Oct. 17,2013):

A neuro-economist and a former trader investigate why some people are wired to take more risks than others.

The Science Behind Risk Taking

Featuring: Paddy Hirsch, senior Producer at marketplace, John Dickerson, chief political correspondent for Slate magazine, Camelia Kuhnen, neuro-economist and assistant professor of finance at Northwestern University, John Coates, neuroscientist at the University of Cambridge and Jay Savsani, founder of Meal Sharing.

Summary: What sort of correlation is there between risk-taking, pressure and hormones? Why do some people take a lot of risks and others don’t? What about the risks our politicians have been taking in recent weeks?

Training businesses to take more risks (Oct. 18, 2013):

Improv training teaches corporate workers to step out.

Risk and the Creative Class

Featuring: Alec MacGillis, staff writer at New Republic, Joanna Woronkowicz, author of Set In Stone: Building America’s New Generation Of Arts Facilities, and Carolina Jayaram, executive director of the Chicago Artists Coalition.

Summary: A conversation with some of Chicago’s leading arts and culture entrepreneurs, who helped to build Chicago into an international destination for arts and culture, as well as leaders of local cultural institutions who are now living with their excessive risk-taking.