The Humanist Hub is delighted to honor Nick Hanauer as our 2018 Harvard and MIT Humanist of the Year, on September 30.

Hanauer, a Seattle-based venture capitalist and entrepreneur, has for the past decade become one of the world’s boldest voices for progressive economic activism, including his famous warnings of the “ pitchforks ” coming for his “ fellow zillionaires .”

An early investor in Amazon and the successful founder, funder or manager of businesses across a range of technologies and industries, Hanauer is a critic of rising economic inequality, writing several books and articles on the topic, including national bestsellers The True Patriot and The Garden of Democracy (with Eric Liu), as well as two TED talks, each with more than one million views.

For all of this and more, we at the Humanist Hub believe Hanauer may well be America’s most humanistic plutocrat.

Humanism requires us to apply critical thinking and compassion to the work of creating economies that influence the lives of billions of human beings, and it’s not hard to recognize that things have gone awry in this endeavor. In order to move forward, we need influential capitalists to speak truth to their powerful peers. Hanauer can serve as a healthy example of success for students who hope to gain influence through technology and business, and his message of progressive economics is relevant to all who care about humanist philosophy today.

“It is an honor both to receive this award, and to join the Humanist Hub in helping to change the way we think and talk about the economy,” said Hanauer. “It turns out that most people get capitalism wrong. Capitalism works best when it works for everybody, not just for zillionaires like me.”

Other recipients of this award have included filmmaker Seth MacFarlane; “Cosmos” creator Ann Druyan; human rights heroes Gen. Romeo Dallaire and Taslima Nasreen; and world-renowned scientists Steven Pinker and E.O. Wilson.

The ceremony - our “relaunch” event after recently expanding to also serve MIT after 40 years at Harvard - will be part of a major event spotlighting the ethics of wealth.

The event will include a short speech from and extended dialogue with Hanauer; as well as music from 2017 Women of the World Poetry Slam champion Oopma; remarks from author Matthew Stewart (author of recent Atlantic cover story on the “9.9 Percent” as the “New American Aristocracy;” Associate Dean and BU Professor of Law Khiara Bridges; award-winning filmmaker Lauren Greenfield (“Generation Wealth”), and more.

September 30, 1:30 PM: MIT Building 34 (50 Vassar Street), Room 101. Read more here.
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