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Work towards 'inclusive capitalism' urges Lady de Rothschild at CEO lecture

Lady de Rothschild

Lady de Rothschild

06 December 2013

The challenges to the current capitalist system was the theme for this year's Professor Sir Roland Smith CEO Lecture, given in London by Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild.

Lady de Rothschild is a leading figure in telecommunications, and is now chief executive of the investment firm E. L. Rothschild.

An enthusiastic audience of around 120 Lancaster University alumni and guests benefited from her insights during her thought-provoking talk on ‘Inclusive capitalism: making our system work for all’. 

Held for the fifth time at the Royal Society of Arts, this annual CEO lecture is one of the highlights of the Lancaster University year, providing a great opportunity for alumni to meet and network with one another in London.

In her engaging style Lady de Rothschild described the changes in how society distributes wealth. She quoted economists such as Adam Smith and Keynes, and called on the audience to seek to provide opportunities.

She described the current system as one that has stagnated and is perpetuating a vicious cycle of pessimism. All great ideas need to adapt and change, she said – and capitalism is one such idea. While the market itself is not the answer to society’s problems, it certainly should not be one of its problems, she argued.

Emphasising the need to restore a sense of optimism that there is opportunity for all, she said, “I recently heard Bill Clinton say that in his life experience, talent, ambition, dreams and hard work are all equally distributed throughout gender, nations, income class: The only thing that is unequal is opportunity. That’s why I believe the most important thing that we can do as members of a caring capitalist society is to do what we can to create opportunities for others."

Reactions from the audience were very positive, with participants putting forward ideas around the broad concept, its regulation, implementation and how each person can contribute on an individual level and within their organisations.

Photographs from the event can be viewed on our Flickr site.

Listen to the complete lecture