Any society that allows itself to become radically unequal eventually collapses into an uprising or a police state—or both. Join venture capitalist Nick Hanauer and some of the world’s leading economic and political thinkers in an exploration of who gets what and why. Turns out, everything you learned about economics is wrong. And if we don’t do something about rising inequality, the pitchforks are coming.
In 2014, venture capitalist Nick Hanauer warned his fellow plutocrats that our growing crisis of economic inequality would lead to an uprising or a dictatorship. Two years later, angry voters elected Donald Trump. In this inaugural episode of Pitchfork Economics, we explore why the pitchforks are coming, who they’re coming for, and how the stories we tell about the economy can change the economy itself.nShownotesThe Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/06/the-pitchforks-are-coming-for-us-plutocrats-108014nTwitter: @nickhanauer nFacebook: @CivicSkunkWorks @NickHanauernMedium: https://civicskunk.works/nGanesh Sitaraman: Professor of Law at Vanderbilt Law School and Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. Co-founder and Director of Policy for the Great Democracy Initiative. Policy Director to Elizabeth Warren, 2011-2013. Author of The Crisis of the Middle Class Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars, named one of the New York Times’ 100 notable books of 2017.nTwitter: @ganeshsitaraman nWalter Scheidel: Historian at Stanford. The most frequently cited active-duty Roman historian adjusted for age in the Western Hemisphere, Scheidel is the author or (co-)editor of 20 books, including The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality.nTwitter: @walterscheidel
What is “Econ 101,” and why do economists always get things wrong? In this episode we dismantle orthodox economics, exploring where it comes from, why it’s wrong, and how “It’s Econ 101!” became a cynical rallying cry in defense of the status quo. Guests Eric Beinhocker (The Origin of Wealth) and James Kwak (Economism) explain that, far from a science, Econ 101 is really just a story we tell ourselves to justify who gets what and why. And it’s time to tell a different story.nEric Beinhocker: Professor of Public Policy at the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. Executive Director of the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School. Author of The Origin of Wealth.nTwitter: @ericbeinhockernJames Kwak: Professor of Law at the Connecticut School of Law. Co-founder of the economics blog “The Baseline Scenario”, a commentary on developments in the global economy, law, and public policy. Author of Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality. Columnist for The Atlantic.nTwitter: @jamesykwaknFurther reading: https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/01/economism-and-the-minimum-wage/513155/
What is the “trick” in “trickle down” economics? It’s how wealthy elites and their neoliberal lackeys convince you that what’s good for them (tax cuts, deregulation, etc.) is good for you… and that policies like the minimum wage, overtime, and paid sick leave will ruin the economy. Economics is a story we tell ourselves to help explain who gets what, and why. In this episode we explore how to tell a better story.nYuval Harari: Author of international bestsellers: Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. Professor in the Department of History at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. PhD from the University of Oxford.nTwitter: @harari_yuvalnFacebook: @Prof.Yuval.Noah.HararinInstagram: @yuval_noah_hararinMolly Crockett: Director of the Crockett Lab, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Yale University, and Distinguished Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Neuroethics. PhD in Experimental Psychology from the University of Cambridge.nTwitter: @mollycrockettnFurther reading: n(1) https://democracyjournal.org/magazine/41/a-threat-not-a-theory/n(2) https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/07/18/to-my-fellow-plutocrats-you-can-cure-trumpism-215347
Civic Ventures president Zach Silk joins us for a quick explainer on how Republicans sold their trickle-down tax cuts as a great deal for the middle class—and how angry suburban voters punished them for their lies.
The American middle class is shrinking and, contrary to popular belief, globalization and automation are not to blame. Far from inevitable, skyrocketing inequality is a choice. In this episode, we look at the policy choices that have relentlessly undermined the middle class, and why we desperately need to choose a better future.nHeather Boushey: Executive director and chief economist at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Author of Finding Time: The Economics of Work-Life Conflict. nnTwitter: @HBousheynMatthew Stewart: Philosopher, D.Phil from Oxford University. Author of Nature’s God and The Management Myth. Contributor to The Atlantic.nWebsite: https://mwstewart.com/ nFurther reading: n(1) http://evonomics.com/new-social-security-system-sharing-economy-hanauer/n(2) https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/11/overtime-pay-obama-congress-112954
Pop quiz: What does “GDP” stand for? And now, quickly: what the hell does “gross domestic product” even mean? It turns out, the way we measure the economy changes the way we manage the economy, so if we want to broadly improve the lives of all Americans we need to measure the things that really matter.nDiane Coyle: Bennett Professor of Public Policy at the University of Cambridge. Former advisor to the UK treasury. Author of numerous books, most recently GDP: A Brief But Affectionate History, The Economics of Enough, and The Soulful Science. Founder of the consultancy Enlightenment Economics, specializing in the economics of new technologies.nTwitter: @DianeCoyle1859 nFurther reading: n(1) https://www.jfklibrary.org/learn/about-jfk/the-kennedy-family/robert-f-kennedy/robert-f-kennedy-speeches/remarks-at-the-university-of-kansas-march-18-1968n(2) https://democracyjournal.org/magazine/31/capitalism-redefined/
Is economic growth all about money, trade, and GDP, or are healthy economies built on a different foundation? In this episode, economist W. Brian Arthur and MIT physicist Cesar Hidalgo explain why human knowledge, knowhow, and innovation are the best measures of rising prosperity and future economic growth. nGuest BiosnW. Brian Arthur: Economist credited with developing the modern approach to increasing returns, and one of the pioneers of the science of complexity. Author of three books including The Nature of Technology: What it Is and How it Evolves. External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. nCesar Hidalgo: Physicist, writer, and entrepreneur. Associate Professor at MIT, and Director of the Collective Learning group at the MIT Media Lab. Co-founder of Datawheel, a company that specializes in digital transformation solutions for governments and large companies. Author of Why Information Grows and co-author of The Atlas of Economic Complexity. nTwitter: @cesifotinFurther reading:nComplexity Economics: a different framework for economic thought: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Ftuvalu.santafe.edu%2F~wbarthur%2FPapers%2FComp.Econ.SFI.pdfnEconomic Complexity: From useless to keystone: https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=https%3A%2F%2Fchidalgo.com%2Fs%2Fnphys4337.pdfnComplexity Economics Shows Us Why Laissez-Faire Economics Always Fails: http://evonomics.com/complexity-economics-shows-us-that-laissez-faire-fail-nickhanauer/
As newly elected Democrats across the country enter their respective capitol buildings for the first time, Civic Ventures president Zach Silk and former Washington State legislator (and Civic Ventures senior VP) Jessyn Farrell offer advice for what they should prioritize – and it starts with economic policies that help the broad majority. nFurther reading: https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/08/14/democrats-must-reclaim-the-center-by-moving-hard-left-219354
Is the American Dream dead? Is economic mobility a myth? The foundational promise of America is that anyone, if they work hard and play by the rules, can enjoy a secure, middle-class life. Christian Cooper and Khiara Bridges join us to discuss the prevailing narrative that we each control our own economic destiny.nChristian Cooper: Derivatives trader and author. Frequent commentator in the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Financial Times, and Bloomberg News. Director of Banking for a New Beginning, a public/private partnership between The Aspen Institute and the US Department of State. Member of the roundtables at the Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies. nTwitter: @christiancoopernKhiara Bridges: Associate Dean for Equity, Justice, and Engagement at the Boston University School of Law, specializing in the intersectionality of race, reproductive justice, and law. Professor of Law and Professor of Anthropology at Boston University. Author of The Poverty of Privacy Rights and Reproducing Race: An Ethnography of Pregnancy as a Site of Racialization. nFurther reading: nWhy Poverty Is Like a Disease: http://nautil.us/issue/47/consciousness/why-poverty-is-like-a-diseasenExcavating Race-Based Disadvantage Among Class-Privileged People of Color: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3143892 nIncome Mobility Charts: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/27/upshot/make-your-own-mobility-animation.html nDivided We Fall: https://newrepublic.com/article/141644/divided-fall-trump-symptom-constitutional-crisis-inequality nRaj Chetty in 14 charts: Big findings on opportunity and mobility we should all know: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/social-mobility-memos/2018/01/11/raj-chetty-in-14-charts-big-findings-on-opportunity-and-mobility-we-should-know/