Category Archives: Democracy

Democracy in corporate boardrooms

In this blog I have written mostly about politics and how innovation could reinvigorate our democracies. I have neglected to apply this principle to the corporate and financial sector. This is actually odd because I spent most of my career in the financial sector not as a “politics student”, or advisor to organisations involved in democratic innovation (what I now do).

An interesting article by Stuart Kirk of the Financial Times (May 25, 2024, “It’s time to let shareholders choose the CEO”), raises the question of democracy within corporations. He challenges the current approach “where elected board members are responsible” for CEO selection. Investors, who own the company, “are never given a list of candidates and asked to vote”. Many of these shareholders own their stakes via mutual funds or pension funds and do not even have the right to vote–that right is executed by the fund manager on their behalf.

Kirk argues that opening up the process will broaden the list of prospects. He also contends this will put downward pressure on CEO compensation which has ballooned in the past decade. Against this contention the recent award of circa $50 billion in compensation to Elon Musk at Tesla is worth pondering. Thousands of retail shareholders were the most supportive of Musk’s package and it was the institutions who were most opposed. Thus, individual shareholders may act in ways that are surprising, and/or arguably counter to their own interests, but at least such decisions will have far greater democratic legitimacy. In the same vein, there is no guarantee that engaging citizens in the political process will achieve better decisions—but they would also have greater democratic legitimacy.

What makes me most uncomfortable about the process of CEO selection in public companies is what I would describe as the “conspiracy of the interested”. Boards appoint new board members—often in their own likeness.  The board-appointed CEO obviously has an interest in placing on the board those most likely to be supportive–and CEOs normally have considerable influence on selection. Boards remuneration committees decide how much the CEO should earn.  It is easy to see how this creates a system where compensation levels remain high, especially as board directors are often CEOs of other companies. Few board members have a genuine interest in depressing executive wages, contributing to the stratospheric rise in CEO relative pay. This all acts to the detriment of shareholder interests.

Kirk makes an excellent point with regard to the investment banking industry where “the internal candidate whose business or region is currently making the most money” gets the nod to become CEO”. As someone who used to follow the investment banking industry, I was amazed at how difficult it seemed to be for investment bank boards to distinguish between luck and competence in choosing a CEO, and how rarely they search outside the company.

The most amazing case of this I saw at close quarters at Lehman Brothers, a firm I knew well (Disclosure: as an analyst and subsequently as Lehman’s Head of Equities in Europe in the 1990s). Richard Fuld emerged from the fixed income side of the business, which had enjoyed record years during the bull market–unsurprisingly he was selected to run Lehman Brothers, systematically displacing any rivals. In my opinion, despite the success in fixed income, he was not a good choice as an investment bank CEO. Fuld, led the firm into a spectacular bankruptcy in 2008, nearly bringing down the global financial system with it. He is reported to have been paid $500 million during his career at Lehman Brothers, according to James Sterngold of CBS News (April 29, 2010, “How much did Lehman CEO make?”), while the taxpayer bill to rescue Wall Street was $700 billion. There is no guarantee Lehman investors would have behaved differently, but the extraordinary preference for internal candidates, which Kirk criticises, is an issue with the current system.

Furthermore, one can argue that Musk created an enormously valuable company and deserves rich rewards. But Lehman Brothers was founded in 1850–is it really fair that at firms with reputations (and franchise value) have been established over decades or centuries, that today’s CEOs gobble up so much of the value created. Perhaps incompetents get fired when their luck runs out but often with generous “golden parachutes”. Heads I win, tails I win–this a huge problem.

It is hard to imagine how one might set about fixing this problem, or even to feel confident that more democratic decision-making would improve outcomes. But as in the political sphere, it seems hard to argue that the current situation is working so well that it could not benefit from experimentation. One answer could be for the fund managers to enable shareholders to vote their shares, so that the institution’s vote reflects the views of beneficial owners. From a technical standpoint this seems eminently doable, but probably few shareholders would bother to vote. But it would be a start and on important issues one suspects the turnout could be much higher. In any event, more democracy seems worth a try—in the boardroom and in politics.

Democratic Innovation and Impact Investment are Similar–Why This Matters

My master’s degree (UCL, 2023) was in Democracy and Comparative Politics, and my dissertation focused on democratic innovation.  In writing it, I noticed an explosion in academic literature regarding innovations in democracy, in particular since 2010[1]. For a relative newcomer to the field, the passion and volume of academic work offered hope that the continuous global decline in support for democracy[2] might be halted or even reversed.  At its core, simplifying considerably, were the concepts of citizen engagement and deliberation. The first would reinvigorate democracy and bring greater legitimacy to political decision-making. The second involved initially providing participants with information and objective expertise, who could then openly discuss and debate issues in the facilitated pursuit of a consensus, which would formulate policies that possessed greater legitimacy AND were objectively better than those which result from current legislative processes.

Immersing myself in this hopeful world was exhilarating.  Not only was there a growing abundance of academic literature, but thousands of real-life cases were taking place all over the world[3] and important political leaders seemed committed to the ideals of innovation in our democracies[4].  My excitement waned however as I returned to the real world (from the “groves of academe”).  Hardly anyone I knew was aware of any of these democratic innovations and in our day-to-day lives whatever innovations had been implemented seemed to have had very little impact.

This reminded me of my experience in the impact investment world which began roughly 25 years ago. Pioneers (less so academics in that case) were publishing reports about this emerging world of social enterprise and investment (it was called that before Americans insisted on the shift in nomenclature to “impact investing” in 2007) and the arguments in support.  Also, a host of new mission-oriented companies (think Body Shop or Ben and Jerry’s) emerged which added “doing good” to doing well.  I can remember vividly this sense of frustration that an obviously good idea which was destined to improve the way in which our financial markets and commercial enterprises operated was pretty much ignored. Again, the average “man in the street” had absolutely no awareness of the shift and in terms of genuine impact, it was microscopic.  Despite the noble efforts of these committed pioneers, and the seemingly obvious benefits that such a shift would engender, the commercial and investment world were not changing.

What I do recall vividly is the frustration of these pioneers as they presented compelling, passionate and extremely well-intentioned arguments in favour of incorporating impact into the world of investing, to no avail.  They were met with comments like, “lovely idea, we will get back to you”.  Investing institutions feared that bringing impact into the equation would diminish returns.  Large corporations worried that taking non-financial factors into account would threaten profitability. 

I was reminded of this when reading the equivalently passionate academic pieces extolling the virtues of citizen engagement and deliberative democracy, and the mounting frustration at how little was actually changing in the political realm.  What I saw then and now was that wagging your finger at the people who benefit from the status quo and telling them what they “should” do and demanding change because “it’s obviously the right thing to do” very rarely result in any notable progress.  At best, you will get “lovely idea, we will get back to you”.

Since that time the impact investment world has grown by leaps and bounds.  From non-existence in the early 2000s, the sector has mushroomed to $1.164 trillion in 2022[5] according to the Global Impact Investment Network’s latest published report.  This sum is growing at 10-20% per annum, much faster than the overall investment sector.  In the UK, Better Society (was “Big Society” until recently) Capital estimates that the value of UK social investments in 2022 was worth £9.4 billion, roughly 11 times (!) the level in 2011.  Large companies who sneered at the idea of impact in the early part of this century has restructured to take impact into account, which has been well-received by customers and employees alike—some (8,653 at last count) have even become “B Corporations”[6].

I contend that critical to this was a shift in the language of the pioneers, as they attempted to persuade large institutions and corporations.  Instead of finger-wagging or preaching, the emphasis was placed on how it was in the selfish interest of these large organisations to undertake the shift. For example, large investment firms became convinced that impact assets under management would grow rapidly (this has clearly proven to be the case), and that in addition the fees for managing these assets would be higher, the money would be “stickier” (less likely to leave the institution once it arrived then mainstream investments) and that investment returns would not suffer.  Corporations saw the benefit in customer and staff engagement. 

I believe a similar shift is needed in the area of democratic innovation.  My dissertation therefore focused on trying to identify the factors that might convince politicians and civil servants to undertake exercises in democratic innovation because it was in their interest to do so.  As part of my work, I surveyed dozens of democracy technology companies across Western Europe and asked what they perceived to be the factors that do entice politicians to undertake democratic innovation. To be fair, these companies noted that some politicians were willing to do things simply because it was “the right thing to do”.  But this was a small minority.  The bulk of the politicians and civil servants were more effectively persuaded when the arguments focused upon factors of tangible interest. I grouped these factors into “7 Cs”—for example, cost savings or compliance (to national or international requirements).   

The dissertation was obviously written for academic purposes, so is tediously dull, but if readers of this blog wish to have a copy please just e-mail me at rod@schwartzuk.com and I would be happy to send it.  I do so not to bore more readers with my academic prose, but in order to try to persuade those who care about the adoption of democratic innovations, focused on citizen engagement and deliberation, to concentrate on factors which are in the selfish interests of politicians and the civil servants who serve them. This may feel like a compromise to purists, but I would argue that getting politicians to do things which improve the functioning of our democracies is more important than the elegance of academic logic deployed in the course of this persuasion.

 Rodney Schwartz, London, 11 May 2024

I started my career in mainstream finance and shifted into impact investing before returning to my lifelong passion of politics in early 2021.  This blog reflects that return and is my way of sharing the impressions of someone journeying from “proper jobs” in the investment world back into education to study politics after four decades.  For those interested in why I started this blog click here, and to read my declaration of known biases, click here.  I welcome any comments.


[1] Elstub, S. & Escobar, O. (2019) “Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance”, Elstub S. & Escobar, O. (eds.). Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing.

[2] V-Dem (2023) “Democracy Report 2023: Defiance in the face of autocratization”, Gothenburg: University of Gothenburg, V-Dem Institute.

[3] Participedia identified 2,228 cases as of 4 May 2024 (https://participedia.net/)

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2014/oct/08/parisians-have-say-city-first-20m-participatory-budget  downloaded 4/5/24 at 16:14

[5] https://thegiin.org/assets/2022-Market%20Sizing%20Report-Final.pdf   downloaded 4/5/24 at 16:47

[6] https://www.bcorporation.net/en-us/  downloaded 11/05/24 at 16:02

The Case Against Representative Democracy

There is a strengthening case against our form of representative democracy. Recent events seem to highlight the fact that citizens do not feel especially well-served.  Also, being an MP seems an increasingly unattractive one for the representatives themselves.

Let’s start with the second point.  One of the issues emerging from the fiasco of the recent parliamentary debate on Gaza is that MPs feel genuinely concerned for their own welfare and that of their families. Protesters have targeted the homes of those they do not agree with and hate speech and death threats pour forth on social media platforms.

Jo Cox MP was murdered in 2016 by a white supremacist Sir David Amess MP was killed in 2021 by an Islamic extremist.  Apart from those MPs murdered due to the Irish situation, one would have to go back to 1812, when the previous MP was assassinated—Spencer Perceval, who was also Prime Minister.  We cannot draw a trend from two events, but one is left feeling that something has changed.    

UK politicians face exhausting schedules, often work late into the evening, suffer constant scrutiny into details of their private lives and job insecurity.  Some further indignities of being an MP are well-described by Rory Stewart in his book Politics on the Edge.  Given the above, it is hard to argue that MPs are lavishly paid.  A backbench MP earns £86,584 per annum, slightly below the starting salary of a London Business School MBA, and a fraction of what the median FTSE 250 CEO[1] earns (£1.8m).  Taken all together, this does not look like such a great job.

Conversely, citizens seem increasingly disillusioned with the work politicians conduct on their behalf.  Ipsos reported[2] that trust in politicians has reached its lowest level since the survey began in 1983.  According to the report, “Just nine per cent of the British public say they trust politicians to tell the truth, down from twelve per cent in 2022. This makes them the least trusted profession in Britain.”  Based upon interviews of voters in recent byelections, pundits and anecdotes there is little enthusiasm for politicians of any stripe (with perhaps those of the far right providing a worrying exception).

Isabel Hardman’s recent book, Why We Get the Wrong Politicians, and many others, help us to understand some of the reasons that the “wrong” people often pop up as politicians.  Some of these also offer reforms to increase accountability, diversity, effectiveness or anything else we care about, but it seems worth asking, “why do we bother to have representatives in our democracies at all?”

We muse, misty-eyed, on historical examples of “real” democracy in action—Athenian democracy, where citizens (of a select type) would legislate, or the Icelandic “Althing”, where the entire nation would meet every few years to decide how to govern themselves.  Such idealised notions of highly participatory democracy can be sustained even to the time of Rousseau, who imagined this working in his hometown of Geneva, but for the large modern nation state this is unworkable.  Representatives of the people were needed to legislate on their behalf and in their interest.  In practical terms we could no longer all fit in the same assembly hall (or in one open field, as in Thingvellir, Iceland).

Such assemblies brought many advantages.  Aside from the practical benefits, for people such as James Madison, one of the “founding fathers” of US democracy, it would avoid mob rule.  The “great and the good” would assemble, debate, and govern wisely.  Certainly, during my childhood, it seemed as if only the “best and the brightest” emerged to become our national leaders.  I was very naïve!

Recent events make this position harder to uphold.  Perhaps it is the relative wage differential, or a host of other factors putting the “best” people off becoming elected officials?  Whatever the explanation, if we as a nation are so unsatisfied by how our “public servants” perform on our behalf, then we should feel motivated to change things—leaving aside whether we actually have the power or authority to effect such a change.

Jamie Susskind, in his insightful book, Future Politics, argues that there are many different ways we might choose to govern ourselves, and lists many tools we might deploy in doing so.  Dramatic advances in technology mean many of us can be in the same virtual room at the same time, and sophisticated technologies exist for managing deliberation with sizable groups.  Even if we cannot have all 60+ million Brits debating online, we do now have the ability to ask all citizens, regularly, about important policy questions.  Of course this could become tedious, but a shift towards recurring citizen interrogations (a la Switzerland), even if only consultative, would be a huge step forward.  The idea that democracy is realised by a vote every five years for a candidate of one of a half dozen parties that hardly enthuse is clearly undershooting our democratic potential.

Polly Curtis argues persuasively in the Financial Times[3], earlier this week, for more Citizens’ Assemblies (CAs).  These have been playing an increasingly important role in helping to solve thorny questions which politicians seem incapable of addressing or unwilling to address—like abortion legislation in Ireland.  These could play an even bigger role.  Anyone who has sat on a jury (I have) can see that a random selection of citizens frequently behave with far more dignity, and no less knowledge or intelligence, than our MPs.  Random groupings such as CAs and juries are also more reflective of the societies in which we live and partly for this reason may seem to have greater legitimacy.

As we consider the relative merits/demerits of representative democracy, we must also reflect on the risks in concentrating power in few hands.  The disadvantages seem to be increasing and raise questions about the ability of liberal democracies to sit alongside free-market capitalism.  In the US, the influence of money on politics is diabolical, a phenomenon which reached UK and European shores many years ago.  For powerful corporations, buying influence or favourable legislation, or killing unfavourable legislation, is a far more attractive use of capital than investing in plant and equipment, with a higher/more certain return.  This has led to the conviction that governments legislate for the rich and not in society’s best interest, supported by the growing concentrations of wealth.

Curtis articulates many of the important advantages of CAs, and how they help politicians and the public to work together in solving tricky problems.  CAs also enhance the legitimacy of decisions by making them more inclusive—they are carefully formed to reflect the relevant population—unlike Parliament.  However, Curtis adds that “CAs do not replace parliaments”.  But perhaps they should?  She also notes that they “should not allow politicians to swerve accountability”, which is a wholly fair point, and the need for accountability is one of the strongest arguments in favour of representative democracy.  However, an election every five years feels like accountability in the thinnest sense. 

I have no doubt that we are unlikely to see the end of representative democracy, or the abolition of parliaments in my lifetime or in the lifetimes of my children.  However, if we start from the premise that we can only tinker, we will fail to undertake the radical reforms which are necessary and now technologically possible.  Doing so is very much in the interest of citizens, but also may make the lives of politicians more enjoyable and ultimately safer.


[1] https://highpaycentre.org/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/Copy-of-CEO-pay-report-2023-1-1.pdf downloaded 27/2/24 at 17:23

[2] https://www.ipsos.com/en-uk/ipsos-trust-in-professions-veracity-index-2023 downloaded 27/2/24 at 17:29

[3] Financial Times, Monday 26 February 2024

“Hierarchism” at University and in Politics–and How we Really Learn

When I started my master’s degree in Democracy and Comparative Politics at UCL I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  Would I be leaning about Plato and Aristotle, or Hobbes and Marx?  In fact, it’s Weber and Rawls where our studies seem to begin.  However, I find that many of my political lessons do not come from books written by any of the great theorists, but rather in observing how universities operate and how that mirrors government treatment of citizens.  Let me explain.

As I sit here today on 28 February, I am awaiting the results of an exam handed in on 11 January. I have had a steady stream of apologetic emails assuring me that the grades are to be available imminently–hmmmmm.  I recollect this also occurred with the mid-terms for the same class.  In fact, we did not receive the results until after the end of term!  Thus, one had no chance to learn from the exam, or to gain an understanding of concepts one failed to absorb in preparation for the mid-term exam.

It is also infuriating that the final exam was handed out in the middle of the Christmas break on 3 January (classes resumed on the 9th), and we were expected to hand in our exam papers by 14:00 on the 11th. Hopes that exams be handed out at the end of term were thwarted as it would have meant that professors would be marking over their Christmas break, which was understandably unacceptable. However, the idea that students should be expected to do an exam during their Christmas break seemed perfectly reasonable.

Another example, in another class, were the repeated promises that an important lecture would be made available through the online portal by a specific time. Of course this did not appear much later. I fully understand that shit happens, and that university professors are massively overworked (and underpaid), but what I find galling is the hard-assed insistence on students meeting firm deadlines at the same time as the university persistently fails to meet nearly every deadline it establishes for itself.  We are told that if we hand in exams even just one minute late there will be penalties. 

It is not only professors that continually miss deadlines, but the university itself.  Lectures, course outlines and necessary material are often not available until after the first classes of term begin, which is patently ridiculous.  I suspect this attitude of strict deadlines for those further down in the hierarchical system, and disregard for them at the top permeates downwards—as they say, “a fish rots from the head”.  I could go on and provide more examples, but I am sure you get the picture.

I have been reflecting on the question of “where else have I seen this behaviour in the world we inhabit?” I wonder……………   As many will recall, the Conservative government under Boris Johnson was strict with regard to COVID restrictions. Citizens who had the audacity to sit on a park bench as they took their daily walk at the height of the restrictions were quickly moved along by police and those found to have had group gatherings were punished. It is a matter of public record that while we were adhering to these restrictions those who governed over us were flaunting them with abandon. I presume that they believed it was important that restrictions were put in place in order to keep us healthy and to prevent hospitals overflowing with patients, but clearly they did not seem to worry about this for themselves.  Were they not worried?  Did not care?  In any event, the rules were only applicable to us but not to them!  I have decided to call this behaviour “hierarchism”, whereby those in power strictly enforce rules and regulations on those over which they have power without feeling any obligation to abide by these rules themselves.

This feels an important political lesson, but one I suspect the university has taught unintentionally. It’s about people in power using this power to procure benefits for themselves or make their lives easier  without any regard to those over whom they have power, further down the hierarchy. The irony in both cases is that it is actually students and citizens who are theoretically in charge. As students we are the customers of universities and are paying them to provide us with a service.  They work for us—it rarely feels that way. As citizens, politicians are nominally meant to be public servants, acting in our interest under authority delegated to them. Yet this theoretical model does not seem to work in practise.  Even if it did operate in Athens many centuries ago it certainly fails in the modern era.

Students exert pretty much zero power over the universities, despite being the customer.  Frankly even the professors seem relatively powerless and are often forced to undertake inane tasks for wages that are far too low.  But this is the nature of hierarchism—each tier dumps on the tier below.

My time as a student is limited, and this is true for most of us.  However, we are (unless you are Shamima Begum) forever citizens of our countries.  Democracy cannot operate effectively in an environment where citizens feel—and arguably are—powerless.  Yes, we have elections, but……….. Until we seriously address this, a vibrant healthy democracy cannot exist.  Perhaps in future blog posts I can explore this issue and analyse those governments which are at least taking a few steps in that direction.  In the meantime, I will just keep on learning, grateful to the university for the many lessons it is teaching me 😊

Rodney Schwartz

London, UK—28 February 2023

I started my career in mainstream finance and shifted into impact investing before returning to my lifelong passion of politics in early 2021. This blog reflects that return and is my way of sharing the impressions of someone journeying from “proper jobs” in the investment world back into education to study politics after four decades. For those interested in why I started this blog click here, and to read my declaration of known biases, click here. I welcome any comments.

Why I am dedicating my professional life to democratic innovation (and why I started this Blog)

My CV is typical—did this, moved here, achieved X, spent time at Y.  I then attempt to array these facts in such a way as to concoct a coherent narrative designed for the targeted role.  We all do this—I am hardly unique.  I have worked for 42 years and only recently has a deeper underlying “story” of which I was not consciously aware become apparent—that in my professional life the greatest pleasure has come from being a student.  Ironically, I only discovered my “driving force” after leaving formal schooling (specifically after leaving business school in 1980). 

I have pursued this inclination to study almost exclusively outside of academia (at least until now), which fortunately meant that I could put food on the table. Looking back, eliminating the random noise, my career was dedicated to studying two subjects in depth—financial services (1980-2007) and impact investing and social enterprise (1999-2021), and I earned an income by leveraging the knowledge I acquired.  (BTW, I can explain the chronological overlap should anyone be interested–just get in touch.)

Hovering in the background was a third subject, politics (specifically democratic innovation), to which I have now decided to dedicate the remainder of my professional life.  At 64 I am most unlikely to get a 4th shot!  I have had several academic and professional “nibbles” in the political realm, so it is not all new to me.  I secured a BA in Political Science at the University of Rochester, and whilst studying was campaign coordinator for the Republican Party at the university and for youth across Monroe County, New York (there were liberal Republicans then, and I was one).  Moving to the UK in 1987, I became active in the Liberal Democrat Party, eventually standing as a parliamentary candidate in the 1997 general election in the Welwyn Hatfield constituency in Hertfordshire (lost the election but kept my deposit).  In 2019, out of frustration with a hopeless third party which lacked any distinctive presence or policies, I joined another hopeless party (The Green Party), which at least stands for something crystal clear and vitally important.

I despair at the state of formal party politics and the state of democracy throughout the “West”.  Thus, having chosen to leave impact investing in 2021, I decided to concentrate all my efforts on this apparently pointless field, and seek to learn as much as I could about what has gone wrong and if there is anything, anyone, anywhere is doing which is having a positive impact.  I lump all the attempts I observe into a broad category that I call “democratic innovation”.  The financial services sector I began covering in the 1980s was utterly transformed, partly through technology, but also through other vital structural innovations.  The investment industry has been and is being transformed through the introduction of ESG and impact metrics into the investment process.  This transition of investing from a two-dimensional discipline (risk and return) into one with three dimensions (adding impact) is profound, far-reaching, and growing rapidly.  Politics, at least in the OECD democracies, has hardly changed since I was a kid—and this is hardly because it is working so well.  Dissatisfaction with democracy is at an all-time high of 58% according to the Bennett Centre for the Future of Democracy at Cambridge University[1].  So, as I entered the final years of my professional life, I thought, “what could be more interesting and important to study than innovation, or the lack of it, in western democracies?”  On this occasion I have decided to commence my study formally, seeking a Master’s Degree in Democracy and Comparative Politics from UCL in London.

Throughout my career I have been a writer of my reflections on the areas which I have studied.  As an equity research analyst with PaineWebber and Lehman Brothers I wrote thousands of pages of research notes on the finance industry, its trends and prospects, and those of its constituent companies.  As one of the early entrants into the emergent social enterprise/impact investment field, I composed over 100 blog posts, authored many articles, and two academic papers about the subject.  On both these topics, the written work seemed to generate interest, but in any case I find writing both therapeutic and clarifying for myself.  Thus I feel compelled to start writing again about my latest interest.

It feels self-indulgent and audacious to publish this work, assuming it will be of interest to anyone.  This is especially true in this subject area, where many experts already make substantial contributions—and I am extremely far from being an expert.  However, I have found that “putting it out there” invites challenge and thereby improves my own thinking—and sometimes that of others.  It also encourages debate, which I always find to be beneficial  What I can add is my experience in observing innovation in other fields of endeavour and drawing out contrasts.  I am hopeful that this will enable me to offer some positive contributions.  

Also, I am not the only one who is on a continuing journey, and I thought that by sharing some of my trials and tribulations I might encourage others.  I imagine that there are people reading this who are also worried/fed up with/scared beyond description about the state of democracy in the west—I hope this blog will resonate with them.  Maybe others are considering a similar life change—and these musings may offer some encouragement (I really am loving it—18 months in!).  I will write about politics, political economy, democratic innovation and the experience of a graduate student in politics, especially one who is more than twice the age of everyone else in class.  I welcome challenge and debate, as I believe this makes us all smarter and better informed.  Unsurprisingly, I am going to call this series “The Politics Student”. 

Rodney Schwartz

London, UK—29 September 2022

I started my career in mainstream finance and shifted into impact investing before returning to my lifelong passion of politics in early 2021. This blog reflects that return and is my way of sharing the impressions of someone journeying from “proper jobs” in the investment world back into education to study politics after four decades. For those interested in why I started this blog click here, and to read my declaration of known biases, click here. I welcome any comments.


[1]https://www.bennettinstitute.cam.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/DemocracyReport2020_nYqqWi0.pdf  downloaded at 10:18 on 29/9/22.