Capitalism Eats Itself While the Planet Burns

Singer, through his hedge fund, Elliott Management, has developed a unique, and profitable, brand of adversarial investing. Illustration by Christian Northeast; photograph (man) by Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg / GettyIt was, Bush said, just a “joining of scars. There’s nothing being built fresh. Things are just being reshuffled.”


“We’re killing things and not giving them a chance to grow.”

Over time, this lack of long-term vision alters the economy—with profound political implications.

Businesses are the engine of a country’s employment and wealth creation; when they cater only to stockholders, expenditures on employees’ [or society’s] behalf, whether for raises, job training, or new facilities, come to be seen as a poor use of funds.

Eventually, this can result in fewer secure jobs, widening inequality, and political polarization. “You can’t have a stable democracy that has not seen any increase in wages for the vast majority of working people for over thirty years, while there’s a tremendous increase in compensation and earnings for a small percentage of the country,” Martin Lipton, a founding partner of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, who has spent decades working with companies targeted by corporate raiders, told me. “That is destructive of democracy. It breeds populism.”

Paul Singer, Doomsday Investor

The head of Elliott Management has developed a uniquely adversarial, and immensely profitable, way of doing business.

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