Monday, April 9, 2012

Democratize Wall Street, for Social Good

MANY finance students and members of the Occupy Wall Street movement have a great deal in common: a deep interest in democratizing Wall Street.

At Yale, where I have been teaching for 25 years, I’ve been hearing a great deal lately from my students about financial innovations linked to social media. One such innovation, called crowdfunding, is embedded in the jobs bill signed into law by President Obama on Thursday. The idea involves Web sites that help many investors contribute small amounts of capital to projects that they read about online, and that might otherwise be starved for money.

Though the concept is being tried, in different ways, on sites like and, it is still very much an experiment, and its real-world benefits for small investors are still uncertain.

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