Ralph welcomes New York Times reporter, Binyamin Applebaum, author of “The Economists' Hour: False Prophets, Free Markets, and the Fracture of Society” about how Chicago School economists of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s “who believed in the power and the glory of markets… transformed the business of government, the conduct of business, and, as a result, the patterns of everyday life.”
Thank you for this interesting focus on economics. I suggest inviting Economist Richard Wolff to discuss his take on economics on the RNRH. He has been opposed for decades to the economic model that is impoverishing the 99%. A discussion between Ralph Nader and Richard Wolff for the whole hour would be fascinating.
I've been taking gospel ministers to task for failing to call out financial fraud. I've worked as a laborer for some of the Wall Street fraudsters and believe that exposing them should be a civic responsibility.
For example, I contacted Times Square Church's ministry which likes to run hard-hitting messages on low level crimes and transgressions but almost never exposes the criminal financial industry. There are many Bible verses and other traditional writings that decry fraud and taking advantage in any way from dishonesty in all its guises such as Ezekiel 22 and in other prophets. We are facing disasters due to a lack of citizen vigilance.
Here was what I wrote "World Challenge" which runs a lot of highly beneficial programs for drug addicts and alcoholics, taking them out to a farm so they are removed from destructive addiction influences. They also do the same for prostitutes and others in rough circumstances.
"Dear World Challenge;
"I watched Carter Conlon's recent message on Ezekiel 22: http://sermons.tsc.nyc/every-once-in-a-while-god-finds-someone-like-you/
"But here's some practical applications of rebuking the corruption. I've worked for a number of hedge fund workers. They all like the churches because they do a good job of sanitizing their consciences.
"Steven A. Cohen, should have gone to jail for insider trading.
"Other ones such as Larry Fink of Blackwater. Blackrock, Vanguard, and all the rest. Bridgewater in Westport and Ray Dalio is not much better. They are all involved in criminal activity, insider trading and other immoral and socially destructive behavior. They are using money stolen from the government through various shrewd "investment" methodologies. They have the most shady lawyers and lobbyists to game the system that becomes more top heavy year after year with virtually no economic opportunities for the vast majority of Americans.
"No minister speaks out against them. Here in New Canaan, I can't remember any minister speaking out against the transparently fraudulent Iraq War and other immoral wars. Instead ministers like the military because it supposedly employs young people, not thinking about how unproductive it is and how calloused service members come back often with addictions.
"Weapons of destruction are highly profitable. Same thing with the immoral drug and pharmaceutical companies. I've never heard your ministers speak out against the many and varied Wall Street corrupt investment companies. Instead ministers solicit their money because it is big and the perception is you can't discriminate against those who make donations.
"However the Bible speaks strongly against accepting the reward of the wicked for advantage and repeatedly admonishes on this point. No minister will speak about the subtle evil doers you and others preach to. Hosea said that the sin was demolishing the fabric of society of Ephraim like moths or other insidious influences.
"Sure you can present watered down messages like tragedians on the stage, but what does the Lord think of this vain show? There is a way that seems "right" unto a man, but the end thereof.....
"The Puritans spoke strongly against specific moral depravity among them--they wanted everything out in the open. There will never be meaningful revivals or salvation that really sticks where people's characters develop as God intended until you deal with the sin condition that is pervasive. It's easy to enumerate the "nasties" the obvious and odious sins but the more subtle ones you don't hardly even go near for fear of losing contributions from those with deep pockets."
Please also interview Pavlina Tcherneva on her book A Federal Job Guarantee and how it would benefit society and even the playing field between employers and employees.
RN's interviewing Mr. Applebaum about his important book made for highly informative program. Thank you.
I especially liked the way Nader pressed Applebaum on why failed "free market" economic ideas continue to hold sway while economics that include the public good and evidence from the lives of real people "flies under the radar" and rarely gets a hearing. The fact that "free market" economics is what the powerful benefit from and want to hear seems a big part of the answer as to why it prevails.
"Spending on education is the most productive investment that we can make."
Unfortunately the spending on education has been done by the corporate interests that have transformed the media into "educating" citizens to believe the neoliberal construct promoted by the false prophets that use evidence that supports their theories and ignore evidence that contradicts their theories.
Ralph has dipped his toe in the water with the Radio Hour and Capitol Hill Citizen, but it is time for Ralph to lead the 1% of citizens he often talks about to create a media conglomerate to provide the education citizens need that the corporate controlled media does not provide as it does not serve their corporate interests.
Just 6-7% of the 150 million 2020 voters investing in one share of a non-profit selling for 100 dollars a share would raise 1 billion dollars to buy up/start up a media conglomerate that would provide the education citizens do not receive from the corporate controlled media. These shares could only be owned by American citizens (actual people) and could only be sold for 100 d0llars as the purpose of owning the shares is for citizens to control the media conglomerate and not to make money on owning the shares. No one citizen could own more than ten shares.
The non-profit would be overseen by a board of directors made up of people like Ralph.
If we start it now it could be offering this education for citizens in time for the 2024 elections.
If you would rather hear Ralph in 2024 doing more episodes that include the sad state of affairs that result in a large part from the miseducation provided by the corporate media then you can do nothing and it will happen.
But if you would rather hear Ralph in 2024 doing episodes about this new media conglomerate owned and controlled by ordinary citizens, then encourage Ralph to start it now by organizing his 1% to get the ball rolling with the purchase of 100-200 million dollars in shares that will encourage another 5-6 % of 2020 voters to make the investment bringing the total investment to 1 billion dollars by 2024. And if the citizens all bought ten shares it would total 10 billion dollars.
I quite enjoyed this discussion with Mr. Applebaum. There are many aspects of the RNRH discussion I could discuss further, but I will focus on the progressive response to the empirically false neoliberal economic theory. As we saw with François Mitterrand’s government in France long before Bill Clinton’s presidency here, western social democratic parties have long been under the spell of neoliberal policies which has ensured that neoliberalism is orthodoxy. Instead of countering Margaret Thatcher’s famous and empirically false statement, “there is no alternative,” social democratic parties have adopted similar statements. New Labour in the UK uses almost the exact same verbiage even today under the despicable Keir Starmer. We have our own versions of those slogans here in the US. Joe Biden, and even Bernie Sanders, continue to use similarly false narratives about ‘bankrupting the country’ and ‘using the country’s credit card’.
As Mr. Applebaum alluded to in the discussion, at least in terms of public narratives, progressives have not even remotely countered ‘there is no alternative’ type narratives from the Republican and Democratic Parties. If anything, they have only supported that statement. Policy proposals I see from so-called progressive policy organizations in terms of environmental policy, military policy, and so forth are completely grounded in economic orthodoxy...neoliberalism. This is to say that they are using austerity as a proposed solution to austerity! It seems even well-intending progressives have not seen the logical flaw in this nonsense even after four or five decades! Corporate actors in the political process might make this wittingly so, but even those with pure intentions unwittingly make this mistake through complete economic ignorance. It seems that economic competence is hardly a requisite in progressive policymaking circles.
Mr. Applebaum alludes to some emerging trends in progressive policy which are based on empirically-sound reasoning. I’m not sure exactly what he is referring to, it would have been nice to expound on that, but I do agree that there is some movement in the right direction on the theory side for those who know about it. Susan Eldridge already mentioned in the comments about a federal job guarantee and that is really the first necessary policy step which progressives should push for. That said, there is still a lot of work which needs to be done in terms of taking solid theory and turning it into solid policy.
I’m glad to see the RNRH is taking these economic matters seriously in these recent episodes. Now that the RNRH has dedicated some episodes to describing the problems created by neoliberalism, it is only natural that the show should start to shift towards using solid heterodox theory to create solid policy. Once again, I think Randy Wray is the best person to discuss these matters. He’s an engaging speaker and, just like with these other recent economic shows, I think the listeners will really get a lot out of hearing him discuss matters.
I have one last comment regarding Mr. Applebaum. Given his background in the media, it might be worthwhile for the RNRH to ask him to comment on the recent report commissioned by the BBC which analyzed their coverage of economics. The report found many issues, including that reporters lack the knowledge to properly discuss economic matters. The ‘progressive economist’* Bill Mitchell compiled several of his own thoughts about the report based on his experience working with the media. I’ve mentioned these before, but they are very relevant with this episode:
BBC report: https://www.bbc.co.uk/aboutthebbc/documents/thematic-review-taxation-public-spending-govt-borrowing-debt.pdf
Bill Mitchell’s analysis (note that the ABC that Mitchell is referring to is the Australian Broadcasting Company, not the US ABC): http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=51211
* - Klassik does not like the term ‘progressive economist’. Either an economist is using solid theory or they are not. That should be the basis of comparison.