…the new book on financial innovation by Franklin Allen and Glenn Yago? Financing the Future: Market-Based Innovations for Growth offers an antidote to the conventional wisdom that Wall Street’s relentless search for profit has done more harm than good. The chapters on business and housing finance retrace well-trod ground (though in exceptionally readable fashion). But the red meat here is the analysis of financial markets as tools for advancing societal goals in areas ranging from sustaining ocean fisheries to accelerating drug development to promoting small businesses in poor countries.
Full disclosure: We’re biased. Much of the material comes from Milken Institute’s work, where Yago and one of us (Passell) are employed. But, hey, this is 2010 and diffidence is out of fashion: if you won’t toot your own horn, who will?