Nick Hanauer has become an important voice in the raging debate on inequality — and his provocative argument is aimed at his fellow plutocrats.

Why you should listen

Nick Hanauer has founded, co-founded and funded more than 30 companies across a range of industries, with a pretty notable record of success. As a few highlights, he cofounded a company called aQuantive that sold to Microsoft for $6.4 billion, and was the first non-family investor in Amazon.

Meanwhile Hanauer, a “proud and unapologetic capitalist,” has also been looking closely at society’s growing inequality gap, and the consequences it holds for our shared destiny — and the ultimate fate of our democracies. In 2007, he and civic activist Eric Liu co-wrote the book The True Patriot, an examination of progressive patriotism. This was followed by 2011’s The Gardens of Democracy, also with Liu, a vision for “growing” good citizens.

In 2013, Hanauer published a commentary in Bloomberg BusinessWeek proposing a $15 minimum wage (a suggestion that Seattle acted on this year). Early in 2014, he and Eric Beinhocker published "Capitalism, Redefined." In the summer of 2014, Hanauer published a much-shared essay in Politico that suggests, if societal inequality is allowed to grow unchecked, modern societies could start looking an awful lot like pre-Revolutionary France.

He is working on a new book, due out in 2015.

Nick Hanauer’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Nick Hanauer


How did Nick Hanauer get onto TED’s home page?!

August 12, 2014

There’s a bit of a back story behind today’s TED Talk, in which Nick Hanauer issues a powerful warning to his fellow zillionaire ‘plutocrats’ that it’s time to take the inequality issue seriously, and makes the case to dramatically raise the minimum wage. Some of you may remember that two years ago there was an online spat between […]

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