Our Lives in Their Portfolios

Our Lives in Their Portfolios:Why Asset Managers Own the World

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All hail the new masters of Capitalism: How asset managers acquired the world

Banks have taken a backseat since the global financial crisis over a decade ago. Today, our new financial masters are asset managers, like Blackstone and BlackRock. And they don't just own financial assets.

The roads we drive on; the pipes that supply our drinking water; the farmland that provides our food; energy systems for electricity and heat; hospitals, schools, and even the homes in which many of us live-all now swell asset managers' bulging investment portfolios.

As the owners of more and more of the basic building blocks of everyday life, asset managers shape the lives of each and every one of us in profound and disturbing ways. In this eye-opening follow-up to Rentier Capitalism, Brett Christophers peels back the veil on ""asset manager society.""

Asset managers, he shows, are unlike traditional owners of housing and other essential infrastructure. Buying and selling these life-supporting assets at a dizzying pace, the crux of their business model is not long-term investment and careful custodianship but making quick profits for themselves and the investors that back them.

In asset manager society, the natural and built environments that sustain us become one more vehicle for siphoning money from the many to the few.


  • At its best when [Christophers'] passion comes through, stripping away the spin of an industry that likes to portray itself as benefiting teachers, nurses and firefighters but which disproportionately enriches itself.

    Philip AugarFinancial Times
  • An illuminating interrogation of asset-manager society and its pathologies.

    John Cassidy, author of How Markets Fail: The Rise and Fall of Free Market Economics
  • If big banks were the villains of the 2008 financial crisis, big asset managers may well be at the heart of the next global economic trauma. In this must read book, Brett Christophers outlines how the world's top fund managers and private equity titans have taken over not only our portfolios, but the homes in which we live, the hospitals we go to when we are sick, the food we eat and the water we drink. Our very lives are now financialized - with disturbing consequences that have yet to be understood, or grappled with

    Rana Foroohar, Global Business Columnist and Associate Editor, Financial Times