Georgetown Law Launches Denny Center for Democratic Capitalism

August 26, 2020

WASHINGTON – Georgetown Law is launching the Denny Center for Democratic Capitalism.

The new center is dedicated to reconciling the benefits of free market capitalism with the values and expectations of a democratic society.

“The Denny Center’s commitment to bolstering the health of democratic capitalism is incredibly timely and will advance Georgetown Law’s deep commitment to justice and developing innovative policy solutions to critical global challenges,” said Dean William M. Treanor.

Jim Denny Headshot

James M. Denny (L’60)

The Center will work to measure the vitality and stability of capitalism as the engine of economic growth, highlight shortcomings, and recommend new paths forward. It is named for founder and Georgetown Law alumnus James M. Denny (L’60), a retired business leader who rose through the ranks at Firestone, G.D. Searle and Sears, before serving on boards of numerous publicly traded companies, including as vice chair of the Sears board and chair of pharmaceutical giant Gilead’s board.

The Center’s faculty director is Professor James Feinerman, the James and Catherine Denny Chair in Democratic Capitalism. Bruce Shaw, a former CFO in the energy sector who most recently served as managing director of the long-term investing advocate FCLTGlobal, will serve as founding executive director.

“The current public health crisis has underscored how critical a thriving business sector is to our nation’s well-being, but also how growth alone cannot guarantee the sustainability of our economic and political systems,” said Shaw. “As we emerge from this crisis, the Denny Center will be at the forefront of proposing a different approach for consideration, one where promoting economic growth and addressing the broader needs of society are not seen as zero-sum tradeoffs.”

Bruce Shaw Headshot

Founding Executive Director Bruce Shaw

Addressing uneven economic opportunities, the degradation of natural resources, and issues of corporate integrity in the pursuit of profit are among the topic areas where the Denny Center will pursue long-term research objectives with a wide variety of stakeholders, all from its strategically located base in the nation’s capital.

The Center’s activities will include a signature annual report card analyzing the current condition of democratic capitalism, weighing factors such as economic growth, business investment, income levels, social mobility, institutional health, and the quality of social safety nets.

Through events, the Center will convene discussions on new ways to measure the health of capitalism in the United States and around the world, and explore foundational topics such as the purpose of a business, the primary responsibilities of boards of directors, and tangible frameworks and action steps available to business leaders and the professionals who advise them.

The Center will also engage the next generation of leaders by creating experiences that enrich Georgetown Law students’ educational journey, involve them in the center’s mission, and prepare them for lifelong contributions in related areas of work.

The Denny Center is the latest addition to Georgetown Law’s rich array of centers and institutes tackling critical global challenges with innovative legal and policy solutions. From the heart of the U.S. capital, these academic think tanks engage the top legal practitioners and policymakers of the day, while educating the leaders of tomorrow. More than 20 centers and institutes produce cutting-edge research and indispensable resources across fields including health, the environment, human rights, national security, international economics, and technology.

Learn more about the Denny Center for Democratic Capitalism.