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The Rhodes Center Podcast
28 minutes | a month ago
The Robots May Be Coming, But Probably Not for Your Job
Most discussions about AI and the future of work tend to go in one of two directions: either excitement for a ‘post-work’ utopia, or alarm over the end of work. On this episode Mark talks with Aaron Benanav, an economic historian, postdoctoral researcher at Humboldt University of Berlin, and author of ‘Automation and the Future of Work,’ about why this whole debate sort of misses the point. You can learn more about and purchase Aaron's book here: [https://www.versobooks.com/books/3717-automation-and-the-future-of-work] [Transcript forthcoming]
33 minutes | 2 months ago
How Precarity Puts Capitalism on Edge
On this episode Mark talks with Albena Azmanova, IWM Visiting Fellow at the Institute for Human Studies in Vienna and author of ‘Capitalism on Edge: How Fighting Precarity Can Achieve Radical Change Without Crisis or Utopia’. In the book, Albena explains how precarity (not inequality) is the central driver of our current political, economic, and social woes. Mark and Albena explore the roots of economic precarity, the reasons it’s more dangerous and destabilizing than inequality alone, and why addressing it will require mixing tried-and-true economic policies with a radical rethinking of how our economy is structured. You can learn more about Albena Azmanova's book here: [http://cup.columbia.edu/book/capitalism-on-edge/9780231195379] [Transcript forthcoming]
25 minutes | 3 months ago
Is Now the Time for a Federal Jobs Guarantee?
On this episode Mark talks with economist Pavlina Tcherneva about a policy proposal that’s bubbling under in the US policy debate: the creation of a federal jobs guarantee. Pavlina is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Bard College and author of 'The Case for a Job Guarantee.' As Pavlina describes it, a federal jobs guarantee isn’t just a good idea; in the face of our economic, environmental, and epidemiological crises, it may be a necessary one. You can watch her virtual visit to the Rhodes Center here: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EmlviHQT7M] You can learn more about and purchase her book here: [https://www.wiley.com/en-us/The+Case+for+a+Job+Guarantee-p-9781509542109]
28 minutes | 5 months ago
The Left, Divided Over the Extraction Economy
On this episode Mark talks with Thea Riofrancos. Thea is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at Providence College, and author of two essential reads on the challenges facing global left movements today: 'Resource Radicals: From Petro-Nationalism to Post-Extractivism in Ecuador' and 'A Planet to Win: Why We Need a Green New Deal.' Mark and Thea discuss why the Left in Ecuador fractured under the progressive Correa government starting in 2007, and the role resource extraction played in those divisions. As Riofrancos explains, this intra-left conflict isn’t just about political strategy or economic inclinations -- it’s also about competing visions of modernity, and it has lessons for progressive movements around the world. You can learn more about 'Resource Radicals' and 'A Planet to Win' here: [https://www.dukeupress.edu/resource-radicals] [https://www.versobooks.com/books/3107-a-planet-to-win] You can learn more about the Watson Institute’s full network of podcasts here: [https://watson.brown.edu/news/podcasts]
0 minutes | 6 months ago
Austerity Myths and the Health of Nations: What Malawi Tells Us About the Construction of Scarcity
On this episode Mark talks with Luke Messac, physician, historian, and author of ‘No More to Spend: Neglect and the Construction of Scarcity in Malawi's History of Health Care.’ They discuss how Malawi’s politics over the last century has - like in many countries - been defined by a rhetoric of scarcity and austerity. As Luke shows though, this scarcity is more often the product of political decisions rather than structural pressures, with devastating consequences for the country’s healthcare system. If you’re interested in how geopolitics and economics affect the health of nations, this is the book (and podcast) for you. You can learn more about and purchase Luke’s book here: [https://global.oup.com/academic/product/no-more-to-spend-9780190066192?cc=us&lang=en&]
34 minutes | 6 months ago
How Fraud Explains the Economy
On this episode Mark talks with economist Dan Davies about his book ‘Lying for Money: How Legendary Frauds Reveal the Workings of the World.’ Dan and Mark look at some of the great scams of modern history to explore how fraud works, why it persists, and what it can teach us about modern economies.
26 minutes | 6 months ago
Who Owns the Economy, and Who Pays for It?
On this episode Mark talks with political economist Brett Christophers. Brett’s a Professor at Uppsala University, and author of ‘Rentier Capitalism: Who Owns the Economy, and Who Pays for It?’. In the book, Brett explains how neoliberalism and financialization have led to an explosion of rent-seeking businesses in a variety of sectors, from natural resource extraction and finance, to tech and hospitality. And while it allows some companies to thrive, Brett argues that mostly it stifles innovation, hurts competition, and defangs what’s left of organized labor. In Brett’s view, this new model of capitalism is one of the key economics challenges we face. After reading his book, you might agree. You can learn more about and purchase Brett Christopher's book here: [https://www.versobooks.com/books/3683-rentier-capitalism]
31 minutes | 9 months ago
Why Does the EU Have a Legitimacy Problem?
In this episode Mark talks with Boston University Professor Vivien Schmidt. Schmidt is an expert in the political economy of the European Union, and one of the keenest analysts of its institutions. Her new book, ‘Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy: Governing by Rules and Ruling by Numbers in the Eurozone (2019),’ asks questions that each year grow more pressing. Why does the EU seem to have a constant legitimacy problem within its own membership, and what does this persistent legitimacy gap mean for Europe and the world? You can learn more about and purchase Schmidt's book here: [https://global.oup.com/academic/product/europes-crisis-of-legitimacy-9780198797067?cc=us&lang=en&] You can find a transcript of this episode here: [https://drive.google.com/file/d/19GIO_qZSfKlq_ityoMfO5_Bt_H8Cfw7r/view?usp=sharing]
42 minutes | 10 months ago
Do Deficits Matter? (MMT Explained)
On this episode Mark talks with Stephanie Kelton, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at Stony Brook University and author of 'The Deficit Myth: Modern Monetary Theory and the Birth of the People's Economy'. Kelton is one of the leading experts on modern monetary theory (MMT), a view of macroeconomics that upends many long-held assumptions about federal government spending. Mark and Stephanie start by unpacking a key tenet of MMT: when it comes to spending, debt, and savings, governments are NOTHING like households. But as you'll hear, that's only the tip of the MMT iceberg. You can learn more about and purchase Stephanie Kelton's book here: [https://www.publicaffairsbooks.com/titles/stephanie-kelton/the-deficit-myth/9781541736184/] You can read or download a transcript of this episode here: [https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-Th_TsKlZLpDPl7pznRz-_G5HPVuVe-b/view?usp=sharing]
43 minutes | 10 months ago
The Fraught, Complex, and Important 'Economics of Belonging'
On this episode Mark talks with Martin Sandbu, a journalist at the Financial Times and author of 'The Economics of Belonging.' In addition to having a great title, the book provides a penetrating explanation for why so many people have come to feel so left behind in wealthy Western countries. Mark and Martin discuss the role economics plays in this discontent, and look at how radical economic policy could help not just boost national GDP's and employment rates in the West, but renew a widespread sense of citizenship and belonging. You can read or download a transcript of this episode here: [https://drive.google.com/file/d/1zj_lSC-q7JOXG2lqkeNQWqL_Comg83Az/view?usp=sharing] You can learn more about and purchase Martin's book here: [https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691204529/the-economics-of-belonging]
44 minutes | a year ago
Populism, or 'Anti-System Politics'?
On this episode Mark talks with Jonathan Hopkin, author of 'Anti-System Politics: The Crisis of Market Liberalism in Rich Democracies.' Unlike most analyses of populism and the breakdown of party systems, Hopkin argues that the way countries' have governed their markets in the last 30 years has shaped not just the rise of populism, but a form of politics opposed to market liberalism that spans the ideological spectrum. You can read or download a transcript of this episode here: [https://drive.google.com/file/d/12E8x0QEsi0PR7RbUPs9ysl7DXrthCEht/view?usp=sharing] You can learn more about and purchase John Hopkin's book here: [https://www.amazon.com/Anti-System-Politics-Crisis-Liberalism-Democracies/dp/0190699760]
43 minutes | a year ago
How US Hegemony Ends
On this episode Mark talks with Alex Cooley and Dan Nexon, authors of 'Exit from Hegemony: The Unraveling of the American Global Order.' Scholars and pundits have been predicting the US's decline as the singular world power since at least the 1970s. Now, with President Trump's isolationist, nativist politics, many are saying this decline has finally arrived. Cooley and Nexon agree that the US's exit from hegemony has begun -- but as they explain, it started long before Trump's inauguration. You can learn more about and purchase they book here: [https://global.oup.com/academic/product/exit-from-hegemony-9780190916473?cc=us&lang=en&]
29 minutes | a year ago
Possibilities for a Post-Covid Economy
Megan Greene is an economist who actually sticks her head out the window, and takes real world observations as seriously as the models. For that reason (and many others), she’s currently a Fellow at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and a Fellow at the Rhodes Center. On this episode Mark talks with Megan about what a post-Covid economy might look like, whether we’re already in a global Depression, and how the American unemployment model is a little more European than many people think.
43 minutes | a year ago
The First Globalist: Sandy Zipp Talks Wendell Willkie’s World
At a time when globalization is being contested by nationalists and battered by coronavirus, Mark talks to Samuel (Sandy) Zipp, Associate Professor of American Studies and Urban Studies at Brown, about the first American globalist: ex-Republican Presidential Candidate Wendell Willkie. Sandy is the author of 'The Idealist: Wendell Willkie's Wartime Quest to Build One World,' and as he describes in it, after losing to FDR, Willkie circumnavigated the globe in 1942, steeled the Allied countries' resolve to fight Nazism, and in the process picked up a new politics of globalism. Back home Willkie wrote 'One World,' a wildly successful book that briefly pushed Americans to embrace the causes of decolonization. Mark and Sandy discuss Willkie’s odyssey, and its relevance for the world we find ourselves in today. You can learn more about Zipp’s book here: [https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674737518]
46 minutes | a year ago
The Corona Oil Shock
Something strange happened in late April: the price of oil went negative. This below-zero price tag didn’t last long, but it remains unusually cheap. And thanks to the coronavirus, it will likely stay that way for a while. In this episode Mark talks with Watson Associate Professor Jeff Colgan, an expert on the oil industry and the geopolitics that define it. They get into oil's current price fluctuations, how it’s related to the coronavirus pandemic, and how changes to this singular commodity will affect industries and countries in a post-pandemic world. You can watch the extended video of this conversation here: [https://watson.brown.edu/events/2020/live-corona-oil-shock]
35 minutes | a year ago
State Capacity, Growth Models, and Coronavirus in Latin America
In this episode, Mark talks with Jazmin Sierra, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Notre Dame, who is a specialist in the political economies of Latin America. This interview was on the books before the coronavirus pandemic; Mark and Jazmin were planning to talk growth models in Latin America - that is, what bits of GDP the different economies tickle to generate growth. Now of course, there’s a more pressing topic at hand. But surprise, surprise: the two topics are deeply connected. They discuss how different countries in Latin America are responding to this crisis, and what it’s revealing about the strengths and vulnerabilities of their different growth models in this moment. Plus, the eerie feeling of deja vu one gets when watching Brazilian politics from the US.
28 minutes | a year ago
'Leftism Reinvented' with Stephanie Mudge
For decades, left-leaning political parties were defined by their advocacy for the working class. But in the 1990s that started to change, as left voters were asked to adapt to a more technocratic, market-driven world and parties themselves changed, becoming more technocratic. Parties changed internally with finance-friendly economists and political strategists taking over from trade union economists and party activists. We’re living with the consequences of that transformation today, from the rise of inequality to the surge of anti-immigrant nationalist political parties. To better understand this strange new political world, Mark talks with Stephanie L. Mudge, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Davis and author of 'Leftism Reinvented: Western Parties' from Socialism to Neoliberalism (Recorded on 3/5/2020). You can watch Stephanie Mudge's March 5th talk at Watson here: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cP86Fk5AMQI&feature=youtu.be] You can learn more about and purchase 'Leftism Reinvented' here: [https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674971813]
26 minutes | a year ago
Experts and the National Interest: The Curious Case of China and the US
Between 2016 and 2018, relations between the United States and China went from focusing on engagement to competition to something bordering on threat management. If you think that's because of President Trump...you're wrong. On this episode Mark talks China, foreign policy, and the role of experts with David McCourt, Associate Professor of Sociology at University of California, Davis. McCourt has studied the formation, evolution, and influence of the relatively small group of China 'experts' who guide China policy in the US and Europe. He and Mark talk about how this group operates, why their views change when they do, and what their inner workings can teach us about the future of US-China relations. You can watch David McCourt's recent talk at the Watson Institute here: [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdAK0rJUuvQ&feature=youtu.be]
34 minutes | a year ago
What’s Next? The Post-American Global Economy
First, there was Bretton Woods. Then, globalized neoliberalism. On this episode of the Rhodes Center Podcast, Mark and his guests ask: what’s next? Is the ‘American order’ over? And if not, how will we know when it is? Mark talks with Ilene Grabel, Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, and Jonathan Kirshner, political scientist at Boston College. Optimist, pessimist, or realist, this conversation will give you something to chew on.
28 minutes | a year ago
Rethinking Economic Paternalism
On this episode Mark talks with Mario Rizzo, co-author of “Escaping Paternalism: Rationality, Behavioral Economics, and Public Policy.” In the book, Rizzo makes the case that economists, policy makers, and psychologists have developed an overly restrictive view of ‘rational behavior,’ and that this causes problems for institutions and governments seeking to promote certain types of behavior over others. Rizzo challenges the idea that experts and policymakers can always design beneficial interventions, and instead argues for a more inclusive theory of rationality in policy making.
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