On Chinese investment, Swiss democracy, and fleeing from Afghanistan.

In this Three Articles, we discuss flight or departure in various ways: China opening the gates for its huge savings to spill onto world markets; Switzerland leaving (or remaining outside) the EU; and the US's sudden departure from Afghanistan, without telling anyone. 

'Three Articles' episodes are normally for subscribers only - but this one's free. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast for regular access.

London book launch/bunga party: Register here

Articles:

On China, economic reform, and the future.

While Russia famously succumbed to destructive neoliberal "shock therapy", China managed to avoid it. How and why? Isabella Weber, author of How China Escaped Shock Therapy, tells us about China's opting for gradual reform instead. 

What did reform mean for understandings of socialism? Do communists make the best capitalists? And is the pursuit of growth and development at any cost China's own version of the End of History?

On consequences of the pandemic + important local election results in Spain & UK.
 
We start off by discussing the telling results of some recent local and regional elections: in the UK, Labour continues its drift to becoming a middle-class party; while in Spain, Madrid goes to the right. Podemos flops, while voters seem to endorse an anti-lockdown stance.
 
Then we get to our three articles on the consequences of the pandemic: is live-streaming complicit with power? Are liberals now anti-science? Will inflation return?
 
Three Articles:

On cash welfarism and state investment. Plus regionalism in Belgium & the UK.

Anton Jäger is back on the pod to discuss the emerging 'transfer state'. We examine Biden's massive trillion-dollar spending plans and ask if this means we're leaving neoliberalism. What are the limitations to the 'cashification of welfare'? Also comparisons with cash transfers or lack thereof in the UK, Brazil and Belgium.

Plus Anton talks us through recent Belgian history and why its immobilism and bureaucracy has actually prevented a full-on neoliberal assault. 

[Part 2 available at patreon.com/bungacast]

Readings:

Full episode is for subscribers only. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast 

In this latest Three Articles, we discuss cosmopolitanism, the end of austerity (maybe?) and social control in the pandemic. 

Readings:

 

Episode for patrons $10+. Subscribe at patreon.com/bungacast

This month we discuss Polish economist Michal Kalecki's landmark essay, "Political Aspects of Full Employment". This follows on from our recent free episode, 'It's Not Robots, It's Capitalism' (ep 149) focusing on unemployment.

Kalecki anticipated both the Keynesian postwar settlement as well as its undoing, and the neoliberalism that followed. We focus on how Kalecki introduces the question of political authority into economics.

For reference, the next five Reading Clubs have already been announced: https://www.patreon.com/posts/41524278 

On unemployment.

The Covid crisis has led to millions out of work - but the situation was none too rosy before, either. Post-crisis recoveries seem increasingly 'jobless', while the overall labour force participation rate keeps falling as people drop out entirely. 

We interview to Liz Pancotti of Employ America for a picture of what's driving US unemployment.

Then we talk to Aaron Benanav about his new book and learn that it's not robots who are stealing jobs, but rather capitalism's own stagnation. Why are both radical Keynesian ideas and UBI proposals no real solution? And, finally, what is the working class to do in a world with depressed demand for labour?

Running order:

  • Liz Pancotti - (04:09)
  • Aaron Benanav - (53:09)

 

Readings:

On US foreign policy.   

Following on from our episode on the political-economy of dollar hegemony (no. 139), we turn to look at how the dollar underpins American empire. Is 'permawar' a product of structural factors, rather than merely the result of poor policy decisions? And how is this related to the global financial architecture? 

We also discuss how the current period fits into US history, how US foreign policy might evolve over the next four years, and what a left-wing alternative foreign policy might look like.

Readings:

On dollar hegemony.

 

Dutch disease has long been seen as the curse of resource-rich economies in which a currency appreciates and jobs are lost overseas. But what if the greenback is having the same effects on the US economy, the largest in the world? Many historians and economists have studied the global effects of having the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. But what is the effect on the US economy itself? The authors of an influential essay on this question join us to talk about the feedback effects of dollar hegemony. 

 

Readings:

This is a subscriber-only episode. Sign up at patreon.com/bungacast

In this latests Three Articles we discuss power, money and the power of money - in a post-Covid world.

 
Readings:
Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) has been hailed by some and scorned by others as offering a new framework to understand the financial system. But what is specifically 'modern' about MMT, and how does it differ from rival accounts of the financial economy? We talk to Bill Mitchell, one of the leading proponents of MMT, who gives us an introductory rundown, plus tells us why the Japanese economy is unfairly maligned and explains what the future has in store for MMT as its inexorably advances against orthodox rivals.  
 
-> Our earlier episode with Doug Henwood, a critic of MMT, can be found here: Episode 68 
-> The episode with Bill Mitchell's co-author, Thomas Fazi, is here: Episode 38
 
Readings:

On the 30 years since 1989.

For our 100th episode, we invited our favourite guests to reflect on the question: “What one event, personal or political, most captures for you the past thirty years, since 1989?” 

Are we still living in the death throes of the 20th century, or is something new emerging?

Guests:

  • (00:07:42) - Maren Thom
  • (00:14:14) - David Broder
  • (00:21:33) - Ashley Frawley
  • (00:26:11) - Catherine Liu
  • (00:33:05) - Angela Nagle
  • (00:40:49) - Benjamin Fogel
  • (00:46:25) - Alex Gourevitch 
  • (00:51:31) - BungaCast hosts
  • (00:59:22) - David Adler
  • (01:04:05) - Amber A’Lee Frost
  • (01:08:48) - James Heartfield
  • (01:16:17) - Anton Jaeger
  • (01:23:24) - Leigh Phillips
  • (01:30:25) - Lee Jones
  • (01:36:03) - Karl Sharro

Subscribe: patreon.com/BungaCast

On Modern Monetary Theory. Doug Henwood joins us to discuss whether MMT offers a fiscal alternative for Left governments. What is monetary sovereignty and do all states have it? What are MMT's prospects for states as different as the USA, Nigeria or Brazil? Is it a suspect economic remedy, too much of a quick fix? Are MMT proponents guilty of avoiding political confrontation? 

Readings

Modern Monetary Theory Isn’t Helping, Doug Henwood, Jacobin

MMT Is Already Helping, Pavlina R. Tcherneva, Jacobin

Modern Money Theory 101: A Reply to Critics (pdf), Éric Tymoigne and L. Randall Wray 

Modern Money Theory (MMT) vs. Structural Keynesianism, Thomas Palley

What Is Modern Monetary Theory and Why Is It So Important to the Green New Deal?, Jacob Weindling, Paste Magazine

We can't print our own money. So please help us out: PATREON.COM/BUNGACAST

On 'Corbynomics'. We talk to James Meadway, former advisor to the UK's Shadow Chancellor, about what a Corbyn government could and should do. What is the scope for manoeuver of a Left Government in 2019? What does a British 'Green New Deal' look like? And we talk Brexit, because of course.

 

#BungaLive is this Thursday (21 March) in London - reserve your ticket now: bungacast.eventbrite.com

On democratic planning. Leigh Phillips and Michal Rozworski propose we look at Walmart and other giant corporations as sites of planning, not of markets -- and that this fact proves planning works. Rather than rely on markets and market actors to manage production and distribution, we should it ourselves. Do advances in computing mean that the old problems of planning have been overcome? Does planning lead to authoritarianism -- or does authoritarianism lead to bad planning? Can we overcome the age of Capitalist Übermenschen?

Readings:

PATREON: Help us grow (pay what you want) patreon.com/bungacast

Bunga theme music: Jonny Mundey

Bunga design: ramune.io

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