Stan­ford and Keen dou­ble bill

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Jim Stan­ford, the author of the pop­u­lar  Eco­nom­ics for Every­one (from which the car­toon to the left is taken), and I spoke at a dou­ble bill on the global debt cri­sis for the ven­er­a­ble Syd­ney insti­tu­tion “Pol­i­tics in the Pub” last night.

We had a full house for an provoca­tive evening on why the Dis­mal Sci­ence is nei­ther nec­es­sar­ily Dis­mal, nor any­thing close to a Sci­ence, and why the debt cri­sis is still with us.

Jim, as well as being an out­stand­ing non-ortho­dox econ­o­mist, is also a very engag­ing speaker–as I whis­pered to the Chair (Pro­fes­sor Frank Stil­well, from Syd­ney University’s Depart­ment of Polit­i­cal Econ­omy) while Jim spoke, he was a very hard act to fol­low!

I did my best, though as Jim noted, the “No Pow­er­point” rule that Pol­i­tics in the Pub enforces meant that I didn’t have my usual guide on what to say next, and I ram­bled some­what. Jim on the other hand pre­pared his own “Pre-Pow­er­point” guide and gave a much more well struc­tured talk.

Jim is in New Zealand right now, on a self-funded sab­bat­i­cal from his employer the Cana­dian Auto Work­ers Union. If you enjoy what you see in the video below, you can fol­low Jim’s work by vis­it­ing his blog, read­ing his posts on the Pro­gres­sive Eco­nom­ics Forum, and read the occa­sional papers he writes for the Post Autis­tic Eco­nom­ics Review.

The video is lengthy–our talks and the ques­tion time after­wards lasted over two hours–but enter­tain­ing, and it opens with two songs by the Sol­i­dar­ity Choir.

Steve Keen’s Debt­watch Pod­cast 

| Open Player in New Win­dow

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  • soho44

    Just out of curi­ousity. Out of all the global “expert eco­nomic pun­dits” that keep the MSM on-air, have any­one ever given a spe­cific date when the cur­rent unsus­tain­able debt will col­lapse?

    I know nobody can pre­dict the mar­ket 100% of the time. Yet, lately (exclud­ing this blog), I’m see­ing a lot of other sites end­lessly rehash­ing the obvi­ous. Also, if you’re so sure of your data, why is it unrea­son­able to not have var­i­ous sce­nar­ios of how mar­kets could play out? 

    The basis of good sci­ence is being able to rea­son­ably prove your data. Exclude for a moment the dis­senters in every sit­u­a­tion (and please, no Al-Gore-cli­mate-change-is-all-a-scam jokes). Not to pump up your ego, Steve. But here(while you may dis­agree with him), at least he has some sound foot­ing when pre­sent­ing his ideas.

    All I’m see­ing on 99.99% of those OTHER sites is rehash­ing the same old links. Buy gold now. Obama sucks. The world’s gonna end soon. So you’d bet­ter stock up on the weapon of your choice. And so on.

    How many of these other pun­dits:
    Have invest­ments in defense-related com­pa­nies?

    Have invest­ments in com­modi­ties? (Jim Rodgers was recently quoted as say­ing while insur­rec­tions are lousy for those in that coun­try, for investors it can be a golden oppor­tu­nity).

    I try to watch var­i­ous media sources world­wide online. And lately it seems like they’re turn­ing more right-wing than usual.

    You can’t crit­i­cize the bankers.
    You can’t crit­i­cize hedge funds.
    You can’t call for mar­ket reg­u­la­tion.
    If a guest tries to do any of the above, you must
    pub­li­cally ridicule them.
    Even if a pro-bank­ing sec­tor guest says some­thing that you know is bla­tantly false, never pub­li­cally cor­rect them. Because the spon­sors don’t like that.
    Even if the pro-bank­ing sec­tor guest says some­thing that the other guest agrees with, make sure that they scream at each other dur­ing the inter­view. Because the audi­ence eats this stuff up.

    If any­body com­plains about one of these inter­views, is any real action ever taken? I know in many coun­tries there are broad­cast and print “reg­u­la­tory bod­ies” that are sup­posed to over­see this stuff. But when was the last time a sta­tion in Aus­tralia or a paper got fined for a story? In the U.K. you have a Press Asso­ci­a­tion. When was the last time they fined some­body (for get­ting say 5,000 com­plaints about a story)? Same thing in the States with the FCC. If you file a com­plaint, 99.9% of the time the answer is “it’s free speech. Don’t waste our time.”

    Which means you can then either boy­cott them. Sue (and have deep pock­ets). Or, shoot your TV.

    From here, it leads to the next ques­tion. Re: Aus­tralian busi­ness media, is Mur­doch THAT pow­er­ful?

  • spooky2009

    @1 Soho44 I agree with pretty much all you’ve said. I sus­pect most of the right wing pun­dits you see on USA TV are on cable chan­nels, and of course the talk­ing heads there are in the pay of the rich elite who have a vested inter­est in pro­mot­ing their par­tic­u­lar agenda. I find the daily show with jon Stew­art to be a great source of amuse­ment as he spends a lot of time mock­ing and tak­ing these right wing “opin­ion­a­tors” to task over thier com­ments.

    Aus­tralia is just as bad. Here at least there is some minor sav­ing grace with the ABC 7.30 report and such, but even it is flawed. For­get get­ting any­thing resem­bling real jour­nal­ism out of 9,7,10. Cur­rent affair and today tonight do noth­ing but biased fluff pieces push­ing the agenda of who­ever has the most adver­tis­ing rev­enue on that chan­nel.
    Its galling to see the rub­bish they pump out, beca­sue you know there is a whole coun­try full of finan­cial malfea­sance that needs inves­ti­gat­ing and the news reports are bought and paid for by big busi­ness. Its appalling and rep­re­hen­si­ble.

    I caught the lat­est max keiser inter­view on the week­end with steve. It was very good. Max has a ten­dency to ram­ble but this inter­view was a good and on topic, and infor­ma­tive.
    I note also, that it seems max has to broad­cast on russ­ian tv by the looks of things out of Paris. I won­der if this is beca­sue he could not get his con­trar­ian views shown on main­stream TV, tho he seems to finaly have a voice on a USA radio show now.

  • Mikael­Rus­sito


    I draw your atten­tion to Michael Pascoe’s arti­cle in today’s Age online and quote this para­graph for your dis­cus­sion.

    I’ve used the anal­ogy before and will use it again: the Dooms­day Fore­caster sees a bus full of peo­ple head­ing towards a cliff and there­fore glee­fully fore­casts that the bus will crash over the cliff and every­one in the bus will die – e.g. Steve Keen’s dia­bol­i­cal hous­ing price tip. What is now allowed for is the ten­dency of the peo­ple in the bus to turn the wheel, apply the brakes or jump out of the win­dows. ”

    Why do these com­men­ta­tors think that just because some­one points out impend­ing trou­ble that they are “glee­fully” antic­i­pat­ing the event to occur? I think it speaks more to their bias and gen­eral igno­rance of mat­ters finan­cial than the peo­ple they attack, in this case Steve Keen. I hap­pen to agree whole­heart­edly with almost every­thing Mr Keen has writ­ten and spo­ken about with regards debt and the loom­ing hous­ing cri­sis and think it is a ridicu­lous assump­tion to believe that he will be happy when the hous­ing bub­ble pops (which it most assuredly will) I will be the first to wel­come a return to afford­able hous­ing again but I am in no doubt that to get there will involve a lot of pain for peo­ple trapped in the cur­rent debt tread­mill.

  • M.R.
    What you say I can iden­tify with. What I find dif­fi­cult to come to terms with is that peole only want the “good” news that every­thing will be okay. Take Greece, the peole have enjoyed the “take” and now they hate the idea of repay­ing or the “give” back what was never earned in the first place.
    If Steve iden­ti­fies this sce­nario then he gets pil­lorised.

    The mes­sen­ger gets shot!”

    Soho44. It is good for you to have opin­ions and to seek your own truth from oth­ers opin­ions. It is hard to con­cieve that you could form these opin­ions if oth­ers have not offered the argu­ments for you to be able to from them.

    Be thank­ful that there are such peolpe that can think so freely and are pre­pared to share them with you.
    The same applies to jour­nal­ism, Yes, MSM is so ste­rio typed it is not funny and news­pa­pers are suf­fer­ing at the expense of other forms of com­mu­ni­ca­tion (elec­tronic –in the form of Blogs or other self inter­ests.- all are rather pathetic to some and infor­ma­tive to oth­ers)

    All of this is called free­dom of speech. Why would you or any­one else want to con­trol other thoughts expressed openly.
    Agree to dis­agree and move on for oth­ers once you have exer­cised your brand of con­trol may not like what you dish up.

    I am not against any­thing you say or you for say­ing it but when you apply your own phi­los­o­phy it returns to where it started.

    If we don’t like what’s on we can turn it off. If we don’t like what we read we don’t have to read it. It’s called indi­vid­ual choice by per­sonal cen­sor­ship.

  • ken

    What is needed is a cor­rec­tion to the bus anal­ogy. The bus is on top of a mesa, and just gets faster and faster. Even­tu­ally it isn’t going to turn fast enough. In 2008 we had one wheel half over the edge, so the next turn could be very excit­ing. The prob­lem is that is hard to pre­dict when the edge is approach­ing, until you are star­ing at the abyss. That is why it is hard to pre­dict the next event. The 1970 bear mar­ket was fol­lowed in only 3 years time by the 1973 bear mar­ket. I think that might be the sort of time span this time.

  • spooky2009

    Well here we go. Polit­i­cal cow­ardice and self inter­est trumps com­mon sense. Per­son­aly im expect­ing another boost to the first home own­ers grant as the elec­tion date gets closer.

    Fed­eral Trea­surer Wayne Swan has responded to the Henry tax review by say­ing Labor would never reduce the exist­ing con­ces­sions on neg­a­tive gear­ing and cap­i­tal gains tax.

    The lat­est offi­cial esti­mates show house prices jump­ing by 20 per cent over the past year and crit­ics say that rein­forces the need to wind back tax breaks that inflate house prices.

  • Aver­age­Bloke

    Thanks Spooky2009!

    That is a great arti­cle. It sums up the whole sorry sit­u­a­tion in one hit.

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  • Steve, the video is no more vis­i­ble I tried today Fri­day 21st May and the result is: video not found.


  • The amend­ment I made would have been lost in the backup gunny; I’ll redo it now.

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  • Awesome…you guys are good, but the singers at the begin­ning are price­less!!!

  • For as much as it is not a total remedy.…it is a begin­ning.

    In the NZ 2010 Bud­get there were some timid mea­sures to start to cool off the invest­ment prop­er­ties mania and start to close the tax loop­holes that in the last two years led the invest­ment prop­er­ties sec­tor to a NEGATIVE Tax con­tri­bu­tion of 500Mil­lions ( lotsa money for lil New Zealand).

    I was sur­prised by this bud­get, and more sur­prised that a National Govt. could put it together, increas­ing fund­ing to Health and School teachers…and at least this year not com­ing up again with more “pri­va­ti­za­tions” BS. In the end the only thing I would have added would have been a dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion of GST…lowering it for food items and basic neces­si­ties and increase it for con­sumeris­tic items.

    I am really sur­prised Nation­als pulled this.…and a bit ashamed Labour could not put together a cri­tique and sug­gest alter­na­tives.
    But in this kind of times.…I am ready to lis­ten to any­one who does the right thing, no mat­ter of what darn colour they paint their tribe with…

    And clos­ing the Invest­ment prop­er­ties tax loop­holes was the clever thing to do. Such a wretched thing as “loss bear­ing vehi­cles” are going to dis­ap­pear.

    A lit­tle tiny but seri­ous atta boy to John Key.…but I keep my watch. After so many years, I treat politi­cos with “Beware of gift car­ry­ing Greeks” atti­tude.