Dr. Randall Wray on Minsky

31 October 2016Modern Monetary Theory innovator and torchbearer, Dr. L. Randall Wray is with us for most of the show in a deep dive interview on his book, Why Minsky Matters:  An Introduction to the Work of a Maverick Economist (here from Princeton University Press or here from Amazon). If you have been a listener for more than a couple of weeks you have undoubtedly heard me speak of Dr. Wray. I may have discovered MMT through Dr. Stephanie Kelton but it was Dr. Wray’s book, Modern Money Theory:  A Primer on Macroeconomics for Sovereign Monetary Systems, which entirely captured my imagination, gave me hope as to how we get to where we need to go and (finally) made economics make real sense to my very pragmatic mind. Still, even though this was one of our longest interviews to date I could have easily asked another hundred questions–Wray is that interesting. I think you will be fascinated.

At the top of the show Will takes just a few minutes to knock down the persistent Clinton bashing related to Honduras. People, facts matter. Really. Twitter is just loaded-up with Bros who are convinced that Hillary backed a war in Honduras facts not withstanding. …very frustrating. I take a similar ride only related to the most recent e-mails FBI Director James Comey detonated into the election, likely breaking the Hatch Act while he was at it. According to Kurt Eichenwald, of Newsweek, who seems to have an inside source, none of the e-mails involved appear to be either to or from Hillary. None of the e-mails appear to have been withheld by Hillary from the investigation. The FBI has had the laptop with the e-mails for weeks and they were told about the e-mail accounts involved in April! Director Comey said, in the bomb he sent to Congress, that he has no idea what is in the e-mails. He just thought he would blow-up the election for the hell of it!

Sadly, Will and I will be off next week. Will has an election-related job and I am, of course, busy making sure the Rabbit American vote turns out. We will be back on the 14th. Carrots! – Arliss

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JD Alt on “The Millennials’ Money”; AltRight & the Trump Economy

17 October 2016 – I have been talking on the show about JD Alt’s book, The Millennials’ Money, since it was still a series of posts on the modern monetary theory (MMT) blog, New Economic Perspectives. This book is that good and it’s that important. JD not only covers the basics of MMT effectively and in an especially accessible manner, he goes much further and explains why it has particular applicability to millennials and how it can be the tool they need to make the changes in the world they have been calling for so articulately. JD’s ideas for using MMT to solve some of the biggest challenges facing society genuinely made me think deeply. And guess what, there’s an app for that (or there could be.) JD is an architect by trade so his drawings, showing how MMT works, are unmatched and are core to the success of his first MMT book, the best-seller, Diagrams & Dollars. The inclusion of his diagrams in The Millennials’ Money makes the book even more useful. Perhaps the most important thing JD brings to the MMT discussion is some truly original and interesting thinking on how we re-frame the debate to make the obvious nature of MMT as apparent to everyone else as it is to us right now. The Millennial’s Money is available from Dog Ear Publishing and on Amazon.

This week Will starts our talking about the cluster bombing of Syrian civilians by the Russians. Cluster bombs are fragmentation weapons which deploy many smaller bombs and are anti-personnel ordinance on a major scale. Will then goes on to talk about so-called “New Mysogyny” and the Altright. Apparently, there are various pods of men who are so under-developed emotionally that they think women rule the world and are running a massive conspiracy to keep men down all the while being considerably less intelligent than are men. (Because that makes sense. LOL!) But these guys in the Manosphere are so far gone that they are working to repeal the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, and are blaming their involuntary celibacy (which they refer to as “incel”) on everything except their own repulsiveness. Will recommends David Futrelle’s website We Hunted the Mammoth for insight and appropriate mocking of these tiny, tiny “men.”

I start out with something you knew had to be coming, a run-down of the “achievements” of Indiana Governor and GOP Vice Presidential Candidate, Mike Pence. Suffice to say here that Pence is dangerous but unlikely to be a threat to anyone in the future as he rides off into the sunset of what will be his non-starter of a 2020 Presidential campaign. I then finish-up detailing the lies Trump told about the economy during the first debate. This does not really matter since the Trump campaign is toast but these old tropes are regularly trotted out by the GOP so it is worth putting a stake through their heart.

Remember that voting is open in many states. Be sure to vote and to get all your (sane) friends and family to the polls to do the same. A big win for Democrats will help us crush the “the vote is rigged” meme beneath our foot, grind it under our heel and then scrape it off on the nearest patch of grass. This election is the most important in decades. Never doubt it. Carrots! – Arliss

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Common Core Reprise and Update

29 August 2016 – Will is out of town on business this week and I have finally managed to struggle back up onto my paws after six days in the hospital and way too many more in recovery at home. Under normal conditions Will and I would have tried to prepare a show in advance but it was impossible to predict that I would be hospitalized and he would have a concussion at the same time almost immediately followed by an emergency business trip. Obviously, fate is snickering at us.

Hopping Mad is a show which requires considerable preparation and,  because Will and I both have “day” jobs, we fit all that in around already full days. His travel this week and my short days (work, nap, work, nap, work, nap….) made thorough preparation impossible. I have to say that when I am too exhausted to read about financial news or economics, I am one seriously pissed off rabbit. After all, who doesn’t love reading about economics at 3AM!

Will and I solemnly promise a terrific new show next week. So much has happened and we have a LOT to say about it. Seriously, last week Donald Trump had former UKIP leader Nigel Farage at one of his rally extravaganzas!!! There was Farage, “Hello Mississippi….” I think we can all safely anticipate a rant from Will on that subject.

This week we are going back to our 7th show, from last November, when Will first started talking to us about South Sudan and the Spratly Islands and I was on the so-called “budget deal” and the difference between fiscal and monetary spending. The interview was with a California educator who was intimately involved in developing Common Core standards and she is absolutely fascinating on the subject. We hope you enjoy this and we will be back with you next week. Carrots to you and yours! – Arliss

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Dr. James Brusseau on Inequality & Philosophy

20 June 2016 – Both of the main topics this week, inequality through the lens of philosophy and Brexit, ended up stretching me to a new perspective. In both cases I default to the economics and the associated numbers but it turns out this wasn’t the week for that. Dr. James Brusseau is an author, a professor at Pace University and recently hosted a new documentary, the Wealth Inequality Workshop. Most people think about inequality in terms of the political sphere or the economic sphere but James brings a new voice, philosophy, into the conversation and in so doing the realization that the reason so many of us talk past one another on this topic is because we are starting from opposing perspectives on the equality/freedom continuum. Once you listen I suspect you too will be surprised at where you find yourself in the end.

Will and I are both on Brexit this week. I thought I was going to be talking about Brexit economics but following a Twitter conversation with a listener I ended up really thinking about the emotional content that has come to be so closely wrapped into Brexit. I tried to think about it in several different ways, as an MMT wonk, as a pragmatist and as just a feeling being. All of this was made immeasurably more sad by the assassination of Labour MP Jo Cox (photo above). Her loving, generous, brave life was taken by a man acting on a wave of the current of hate which is insidiously sweeping through the Leave side of the referendum. It’s easy to recognize because it is here in the US too, in the campaign of Donald Trump and even, to a lesser degree, in that of Bernie Sanders. As is the first line of the editorial in The Guardian about Jo’s death, “The slide from civilization to barbarism is shorter than we might like to imagine.”

#MoreInCommon – Carrots! Arliss

Just a quick note, I mentioned almost offhandedly the complexities of the relationships that surround the European Union.Wikipedia actually has one of the best breakdowns charted out here. That explains all the ancillary agreements and groups that surround the EU.

Catch you all next time! – Will

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Counter-Messaging ISIS, Immigration & Transphobia

23 May 2016 – Middle East expert Landon Shroder (@LandonShroder) has returned to talk to us about the work being done to counter-message ISIS. His new company and foundation, Applied Mathematics, combines the skills of experienced foreign policy experts with the messaging genius of marketing professionals to create authentic, high quality content which will provide a counter-weight against on-line, violent, extremist media.

Will starts off the show with a story about flags. Because they had nothing better to do with their lives, Spanish soccer authorities tried to ban the Catalan flag, the Estelada, from being waved by fans during a championship match.  Will then goes on to talk about the tremendously dangerous environment which now exists for ALL women as a result of the new anti-trans, bathroom laws in North Carolina. Women across the nation have already come under active threat and it’s only going to get worse. Bathroom vigilantes are coming to a bathroom near you.

Transwomen look like women, because they are women. Take these women for example:

Do they look like they belong in the Men’s restroom?

What about her? But it’s not just women that this affects.

Does he look like he ought to be in the Women’s restroom? What about this couple? Which one should use which restroom?

North Carolina thinks they ought to use the same restroom. And honestly, I have no idea which restroom that would be, because the couple here haven’t informed anyone which one of them was assigned the wrong gender at birth.

I begin with the extravaganza that is Eurovision and the politics of the win this year by Jamala of Ukraine. You must, must, must take a moment to take a look at both the Ukrainian and Russian competitors. A…maz…carrots! My main take this week is on the economics of immigration and the enormous upside potential which exists for the US if we can force our way past the politics. This is one of those rare cases when we need business and money to do the talking because progressives, economists and American business are all on the same side.

Next week we have David Dayen for the interview on his new book, Chain of Title. Enjoy these few, final days of Spring. Carrots! –  Arliss

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If you’d like to contact Landon about his work, he can be reached at info@apmathlabs.com.

Conspiracy Theories, Democracy & Social Security

16 May 2016 – When you have Mark Potok, from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), on for the interview, you already know it’s going to be a good show. Mark is the editor of  the SPLC quarterly journal, Intelligence Report and most of this interview is based upon an article he and Don Terry wrote for the Winter issue, Margins to the Mainstream. While Mark is one of the leading experts in the country on extremism (and we will have him back in a few weeks on that very subject) this article took a look at the conspiracy theories which have seeped into the mainstream of politics from the radical right. In this, the season of Trump, it seemed apropos.

Will takes a thoughtful stroll around democracy. Once initially ensconced, most citizens tend to think of democracy as a done deal but it is a process and, certainly, both in North America and in Europe, it is undergoing change, some good and some bad. Will knows where he wants to go and that’s what he’s “on about” today.

I’m off on one of those “third rail” topics of American politics, Social Security. Everyone seems sure that Social Security is in need of saving and, well, everyone is wrong. It isn’t that we shouldn’t maintain and even strengthen Social Security, we most assuredly should, it’s that the problem with Social Security isn’t funding, the problem is politics.

…and one other thing…we are going to Netroots Nation in St. Louis in July! Will and I will be there the whole time. We will be recording interviews for Hopping Mad and helping out on Radio Row at the Netroots Radio booth. Come on by. We would love to meet you, maybe chat over a couple of carrots and generally have a fabulous time.

Thanks for listening! – Carrots! Arliss

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William Spriggs, Scots & Saudis

2 May 2016 – Even more than in the past there is this nexus between the progressive movement and the labor movement in the US. This week we were joined for the interview by the Chief Economist of the AFL-CIO, the deeply knowledgable Dr. William Spriggs. Dr. Spriggs kindly gave us an unusually long and detailed interview and we highly recommend visiting some of the pages, to which I refer during our talk. They are on the excellent website of the AFL-CIO here, here, here and here.

At the top of the show Will fills us in on what is going on with the protestors who have just taken the Iraqi Parliament. Later in the show he gives us the promised update on the Scottish elections which will take place on 5 May.

I start out on the newly released anti-austerity budget which has just been announced by the Trudeau government in Canada. I come back a bit later to give a lot of detail about the very aggressive Vision 2030 economic plan aimed at weaning Saudi Arabia off of its dependence on oil. Headed by favorite son Deputy Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman (MbS as he is called in Saudi), the plan is interesting and hopeful but will have to overcome significant resistance from Wahhabi fundamentalists in order to succeed. We’ll see….

I also learned that Netroots Radio has moved all of the old shows to which we had links from this site. Of course, all those links are now dead. I’ll have to figure out where they went and fix that. On a more cheerful note, the archive section for Hopping Mad has been updated and an index has been added making it easier to find specific subject – Carrots! Arliss

 

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