Talk­ing About the Blog II

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Last month I gave a talk about the blog at Swin­burne Uni­ver­sity of Tech­nol­ogy, at the invi­ta­tion of one of the blog’s most active mem­bers, Dr Matt Mitchell. Swinburne’s video of the talk is below, and it neatly melds my talk and the pre­sen­ta­tion I gave:

Steve Keen’s Debt­watch Pod­cast

| Open Player in New Win­dow

The vol­ume will appear too low when you hear Matt’s intro­duc­tion, but this is because the audio level was set on my radio mic, which is much louder than the the­atre micro­phone. Turn the sound up to hear Matt’s open­ing, but be ready to turn it down when I start talk­ing.

I made an audio record­ing of the talk and the dis­cus­sion as well. The audio qual­ity in the video record­ing is quite good, but the audio record­ing is bet­ter for the discussion–at least when it comes to hear­ing what the ques­tions and com­ments by audi­ence mem­bers were.

Steve Keen’s Debt­watch Pod­cast


Matt’s doc­tor­ate is in edu­ca­tion, and he was fas­ci­nated by Debt­watch as an exam­ple of the way in which the inter­net, and blog­ging in par­tic­u­lar, has trans­formed people’s capac­ity to learn. I have also found it a fas­ci­nat­ing expe­ri­ence, given that I started it sim­ply as an eas­ier way of dis­trib­ut­ing my monthly Debt­watch Reports. I had no expec­ta­tion of it becom­ing as big as it is now, with almost 4,000 reg­is­tered users, over 7,000 unique read­ers per day, and a stim­u­lat­ing and extremely civil dis­cus­sion between about 100 active par­tic­i­pants.

Given the last point in par­tic­u­lar, it’s been a learn­ing expe­ri­ence for me as well: many of the ideas that have been dis­cussed on the blog will find their way into the book I am slowly writ­ing on finan­cial insta­bil­ity.

I also gave a quite detailed pre­sen­ta­tion on my analy­sis of the finan­cial cri­sis, which I’ll post when I have time next week.

The Debtwatch Association Meeting

We now have about a dozen tak­ers for this meet­ing, but the more that can make it the bet­ter. So if you are able to join us for din­ner at 7pm next Tues­day (March 9) in Syd­ney, please drop me an email using debunk­ing at gmail dot com.

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  • soho44

    Hi Steve,

    If you do use my com­ments in the book, I only ask one thing. Just spell my name right, ok :)?

  • Will do! You’ll all get a chance to proof read when the thing approaches com­ple­tion (which at the moment is a lot fur­ther away in time than Mt Kosciousko is in dis­tance).

  • soho44

    The world’s first book with roughly 100 co-edi­tors? Very cool…

  • jh

    For an extreme ver­sion of this, check out the book “Real World Haskell”. Peo­ple (who’ve logged in/registered) can/have com­ment on every sin­gle para­graph. You can see exam­ples at

    This feed­back resulted in many changes through the devel­op­ment of the book.

    Inter­est­ingly, the book is avail­able on line under a cre­ative com­mons licence as well as for sale through reg­u­lar chan­nels.

  • soho44

    I’m watch­ing your new pod­cast as I write this. Nice stats re: hits and pageviews.

    You men­tioned that when you started this you sent links out to var­i­ous jour­nal­ists. How would you rank a lot of Aus­tralian busi­ness media peo­ple (in their eco­nomic knowl­edge)? Do any of these peo­ple come from banks, hedge funds or other firms? Are any journalists/economists like you?

    It amazes me at times when some still throw out the line “for the ben­e­fit of our audi­ence, what exactly is a deriv­a­tive”?

  • There are vir­tu­ally 3 dif­fer­ent camps in the MSM soho44:

    The straight spruik­ers who are just writ­ers liv­ing off the stan­dard beliefs of finance;

    The eco­nomic jour­nal­ists, some of whom blow with the wind while oth­ers have a non-ortho­dox stance of their own but tem­per how much they pub­li­cise it; and

    The old-fash­ioned jour­nal­ists who sniff that there’s some­thing rot­ten in the State of Finance.

    By far the best of the above are the last group, and for­tu­nately there are plenty of them: Michael West in the SMH, Nick Gard­ner in the Sun­day Tele­graph and Chris Zap­pone in The Age to men­tion but three. There are some very good peo­ple in the sec­ond group too–like Stephen Long from the ABC, Tim Cole­batch from The Age.

    Over­all I’ve been very pleased with how I’ve been treated by the Aus­tralian media–personal attacks like those from Michael Pas­coe are a minor part of the cov­er­age in gen­eral.

    In terms of really crit­i­cal coverage–good in-depth analy­sis on their own right–then there are just a hand­ful. Stephen Long def­i­nitely, Ken David­son, Brian Toohey when he touches the issue. Then there’s David Hirst of Planet Wall Street, who’s the sharpest by far but still effec­tively an out­sider try­ing to re-estab­lish him­self in the media here (and I think he’ll suc­ceed).

  • soho44

    Have you ever done any inter­views on Late­line? If yes, how have they gone for you?

  • ango­phera

    Re: Mat­ters Debt-Defla­tion­ary

    Fan­nie, Fred­die Hold­ers Shouldn’t Assume Guar­an­tee (Update4)”
    Via Karl Denninger’s Mar­ket Ticker

    For the time deprived a few extracts.
    “March 5 (Bloomberg) — Fan­nie Mae and Fred­die Macbond­hold­ers shouldn’t assume the gov­ern­ment will make them whole on their invest­ments as Con­gress dis­bands the com­pa­nies, House Finan­cial Ser­vices Com­mit­tee Chair­man Bar­ney Frank”

    Please don’t think this is fed­er­ally guar­an­teed, I don’t think it is, I don’t think it should be, I don’t feel any oblig­a­tion to bail you out,” Frank said. Con­gress will “cer­tainly not” extend any new pro­tec­tions to bond and mort­gage-secu­rity investors beyond what exists, Frank said.”

    A “whole range” of options is being con­sid­ered for investors in the two gov­ern­ment-seized com­pa­nies, “from pay­ing noth­ing to a hair­cut to what­ever,” said Frank, whose com­mit­tee over­sees Fan­nie Mae and Fred­die Mac.”

    Frank’s Sec­ond Clar­i­fi­ca­tion”

    Frank, in an inter­view with CNBC tele­vi­sion, said investors in Fan­nie Mae and Fred­die Mac debt issued before the com­pa­nies were seized don’t have as much pro­tec­tion from losses as those who pur­chased oblig­a­tions issued since.”

    It depends on when they bought that paper,” Frank told CNBC. “I just wanted to restate what I thought was fairly obvi­ous, that if you bought from Fan­nie Mae and Fred­die Mac, par­tic­u­larly before the 2008 con­ser­va­tor­ship, you were not buy­ing Trea­suries, you were not buy­ing 100 per­cent oblig­a­tions.”

    Peo­ple who bought from the con­ser­va­tor­ship on, that’s a dif­fer­ent story,” he said. “What’s hap­pened since the con­ser­va­tor­ship, yes that’s in a dif­fer­ent cat­e­gory because there were some explicit pledges made by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment.”

    Fan­nie Mae and Fred­die Mac are the biggest U.S. bor­row­ers after the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. In addi­tion to $1.7 tril­lion in unse­cured cor­po­rate debt, the com­pa­nies have $5.4 tril­lion in mort­gage bonds, accord­ing to data com­piled by Bloomberg.”

  • ango­phera

    Steve and Debt­watch­ers,

    You might be inter­ested in this analy­sis of the inter­play between the shadow bank­ing sys­tem and the zom­bie, ponzi, fic­tion­ally reserved, “real” bank­ing sytem. Pro­fes­sor Gorton’s graphs sug­gest he may be a “stocks and flows” guy.

    There are few peo­ple as qual­i­fied to dis­cuss the stresses of (and on) the finan­cial sys­tem over the past sev­eral years as Yale and Whar­ton Pro­fes­sor Gary Gor­ton, who just inci­den­tally has held posi­tions at the Bank Of Eng­land, the Fed­eral Reserve and the FDIC.”

    In a sub­mis­sion to Zero Hedge, Pro­fes­sor Gor­ton pro­vides some unique per­spec­tives into what we have long claimed was the imme­di­ate cat­a­lyst for the near col­lapse of the bank­ing sys­tem: the bank run, not so much on depos­i­tory insti­tu­tions, but on the much more crit­i­cal shadow bank­ing sys­tem.”

  • mahaish

    you know steve,

    the united nations is usu­ally the forum for the expres­sion hatred and dis­sunity, and blogs are some­times like that, in that the par­tic­i­pants gen­er­ally express views based on their pred­ju­di­cial views of the world.

    this blog has this char­ac­ter trait,but in a sense this is its great strength , in that once these views see the light of day they are expossed to the ever pry­ing eyes and minds of other blog­gers, and the debate begins as well our col­lec­tive enlight­en­ment with a lit­tle help from the pro­fes­sion­als.

    infact i would go so far as to say , that the solu­tions to the eco­nomic dile­mas we face lie in these blogs, since its bet­ter to have thou­sands of minds chew­ing over the prob­lem than a hand­full of minds, great they may be, clois­tered in the hall­ways of acad­e­mia .

    in many ways peo­ple such as your­self ask the ques­tions, but with this blog its not just you that responds with an answer, a very pow­er­full tool for change and under­stand­ing indeed. 

    i sup­pose elit­ists would see such blogs as a trou­ble mak­ers let­ter­box, but any men­tion of the unfa­mil­iar and off we blog­gers go scour­ing the inter­net for an explaina­tion or greater under­stand­ing.

    the more informed we all are of the issues that con­front us the greater the good in my opin­ion, and this blog has done that in spades.

    and that we have con­ducted our­selves with great civil­ity, is in part due to the gra­cious way the mod­er­ater has car­ried him­self in this forum,

  • soho44

    Hi Steve,

    I’ll agree with Mahaish re: the “civil­ity” of this blog. On many other sites, it’s just every­body hav­ing a go at every­one else. And the “mod­er­a­tor” who posts very tough sound­ing Terms of Use seems to be on per­me­nant hol­i­day.

    I really agree with this idea of con­sis­tent qual­ity con­tent does work. You may not have the “rock star” fac­tor like Obama does (in the sense of his build­ing his social network/donor list). On the other hand, when the “stan­dard” rules don’t seem to apply, we all know peo­ple will go else­where. And it’s nice to not be bom­barded with the “Bernanke is evil, buy gold now” rub­bish.

  • soho44

    Slightly off topic? Here’s a new Anony­mous Aus­tralia clip that the MSM seems to have missed: