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The financial markets — too often thought of in the abstract, divorced from human decision-making — can be narrow-minded in whom they serve (primarily the already wealthy), suggests Nobel laureate economist Robert Shiller in his book, Finance and the Good Society. But how, then, he asks, can those markets be used to spread the wealth more broadly across society? “How can we democratise finance, so as to make it work better for all of us?”

As the world slowly emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic there’s an urgency to answer this question. The UN’s 17 sustainable development goals had alerted us to long-simmering inequalities and social challenges, but the pandemic has abruptly laid them bare. The remedy is not merely in short-term interventions such as a successful vaccine rollout, but in a sustained reallocation of capital into businesses that can move the needle on a more equitable, long-term recovery...

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