The First Bank of Starbucks (Project-Syndicate)

How did an international chain of coffee shops position itself to play a major role in upending not just how payments are made but also the business model of established financial institutions? In a word: technology.

Simon Johnson, a former chief economist of the IMF, is a professor at MIT Sloan, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and co-founder of a leading economics blog, The Baseline Scenario. He is the co-author, with James Kwak, of White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You.

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