Two Authors in Conversation: Kimberly Kay Hoang and Hal Weitzman

Tuesday, May 24, 2022 - 6:00pm - 7:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Kimberly Kay Hoang and Hal Weitzman

Kimberly Kay Hoang and Hal Weitzman will dicuss their new books Spiderweb Capitalism: How Global Elites Exploit Frontier Markets and What's the Matter with Delaware?: How the First State Has Favored the Rich, Powerful, and Criminal--and How it Costs Us All.

This event will be held in person at the Seminary Co-op. 

About Spiderweb Capitalism In 2015, the anonymous leak of the Panama Papers brought to light millions of financial and legal documents exposing how the superrich hide their money using complex webs of offshore vehicles. Spiderweb Capitalism takes you inside this shadow economy, uncovering the mechanics behind the invisible, mundane networks of lawyers, accountants, company secretaries, and fixers who facilitate the illicit movement of wealth across borders and around the globe.

Kimberly Kay Hoang traveled more than 350,000 miles and conducted hundreds of in-depth interviews with private wealth managers, fund managers, entrepreneurs, C-suite executives, bankers, auditors, and other financial professionals. She traces the flow of capital from offshore funds in places like the Cayman Islands, Samoa, and Panama to special-purpose vehicles and holding companies in Singapore and Hong Kong, and how it finds its way into risky markets onshore in Vietnam and Myanmar. Hoang reveals the strategies behind spiderweb capitalism and examines the moral dilemmas of making money in legal, financial, and political gray zones.

Dazzlingly written, Spiderweb Capitalism sheds critical light on how global elites capitalize on risky frontier markets, and deepens our understanding of the paradoxical ways in which global economic growth is sustained through states where the line separating the legal from the corrupt is not always clear.

About What's the Matter with DelawareThe legal home to over a million companies, Delaware has more registered businesses than residents. Why do virtually all of the biggest corporations in the United States register there? Why do so many small companies choose to set up in Delaware rather than their home states? Why do wealthy individuals form multiple layers of private companies in the state? This book reveals how a systematic enterprise lies behind the business-friendly corporate veneer, one that has kept the state afloat financially by diverting public funds away from some of the poorest people in the United States and supporting dictators and criminals across the world.

Hal Weitzman shows how the de facto capital of corporate America has provided safe haven to money launderers, kleptocratic foreign rulers, and human traffickers, and facilitated tax dodging and money laundering by multinational companies and international gangsters. Revenues from Delaware’s business-formation industry, known as the Franchise, account for two-fifths of the state’s budget and have helped to keep the tax burden on its residents among the lowest in the United States. Delaware derives enormous political clout from the Franchise, effectively writing the corporate code for the entire country—and because of its outsized influence on corporate America, the second smallest state in the United States also writes the rules for much of the world.

What’s the Matter with Delaware? shows how, in Joe Biden’s home state, the corporate laws get written behind closed doors, enabling the rich and powerful to do business in the shadows.

About the authors: 

Kimberly Kay Hoang is an Associate Professor of Sociology and the College and the Director of Global Studies at the University of Chicago. She is an award winning scholar, teacher, and author of Dealing in Desire: Asian Ascendancy, Western Decline, and the Hidden Currencies of Global Sex Work (2015) published by the University of California Press. Her work has been published in American Sociological ReviewSocial Problems, Gender & SocietyCity & CommunityContexts, and the Journal of Contemporary Ethnography.

Hal Weitzman is executive director for intellectual capital at the University of Chicago's Booth School of Business. He is editor-in-chief of Chicago Booth Review  and host of The Big Question, Booth's monthly video panel discussion series. He was a reporter and editor at the Financial Times from 2000 to 2012, the last seven years as a foreign correspondent in South America and Chicago. As well as the FT, his reporting has appeared in The Economist, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Miami Herald, New Statesman, The Irish Times, Slate and Politico.

Event Location: 
Seminary Co-op Bookstores
5751 S Woodlawn Ave
Chicago, IL 60637