Wall Street has never been particularly popular in the American imagination, but the recent growth of conservative populism threatens to erode its position even further. A case in point is a new think tank, American Compass, run by Oren Cass, a former policy director for Mitt Romney. One of its first major projects—“Coin-Flip Capitalism”—concludes that investment funds, like private equity and venture capital, are socially wasteful.

A primer on Coin-Flip Capitalism, published in May, reviews the returns of various funds over…



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