May 21, 2022 • 1HR 28M

What’s Really Driving Inflation/War Without Death?

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Ralph Nader
Ralph Nader talks about what’s happening in America, what’s happening around the world, and most importantly what’s happening underneath it all.
Episode details

Ralph is joined by Lindsay Owens, executive director of the progressive economics think tank, the Groundwork Collaborative, who listened in on the earnings calls for some major corporations to hear management brag about using the current inflationary climate as cover for “plain old corporate profiteering.” And anthropologist, Roberto J. Gonzales, explains in his book “War Virtually" how the latest generation of autonomous weapons, robots, and drones are creating the illusion of war without risk and have the potential to boomerang back at us.

Lindsay Owens is a sociologist and the executive director for the Groundwork Collaborative, a progressive economics think tank. Her work has been published in leading social science journals including Brookings Papers on Economic ActivityThe Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, and Social Forces. She teaches at Georgetown University, and is the co-creator and co-instructor of America’s Poverty course online at Stanford University.

Folks like to think that CEOs are efficient stewards of scarce resources. You learn in Econ 101 they’re just raising prices responding to supply shortages, to bring supply back in line with demand. But the truth is, that’s really a fiction.

Lindsay Owens, executive director of the Groundwork Collaborative

It’s really tempting to blame this moment on the pandemic, or to think of it as a pandemic-induced aberration. But the truth is this knife-edged supply chain that we’re all living in is really decades in the making. Decades of offshoring, of mergers and acquisitions, building an economy that has very little redundancy, very little duplication, where we’re quite vulnerable to one firm being knocked out.

Lindsay Owens, executive director of the Groundwork Collaborative

Roberto J. González is Professor and Chair of the Anthropology Department at San José State University, where his research focuses on militarization and culture, processes of social and cultural control, and ethics in social science.  He is the author of several books, including Anthropologists in the Public Sphere: Speaking Out on War, Peace, and American PowerAmerican Counterinsurgency: Human Science and the Human Terrain, and War Virtually: The Quest to Automate Conflict, Militarize Data, and Predict the Future.

We’re essentially entering into a new phase of warfare. It’s a phase in which Big Tech merges with Big Defense. One of the central arguments that I make in the book is that Silicon Valley– and the tech industry more generally– needs to be seen as more than just a region that’s developing great new computers or cell phones or tablets… We need to start understanding them as major defense contractors in their own right.

Roberto J González, author of War Virtually: The Quest to Automate Conflict, Militarize Data, and Predict the Future

The mythology of Silicon Valley is that it was a bunch of brilliant college dropouts who tinkered in their garages and developed these very powerful computers over time. As if the industry wasn’t there before them in the 1970s and 80s, and as if they did it single handedly, without lots of taxpayer dollars paying for the military contracts that would eventually saturate the region.

Roberto J González, author of War Virtually: The Quest to Automate Conflict, Militarize Data, and Predict the Future

The peaceful state has got to rise to replace the warfare state. Human nature likes peace. Contrary to the myths. They don’t like to engage in war, killing each other. But warfare is profitable. Peace is not seen as a profit mechanism.

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 428 Transcript
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