407 episodes

Economist Steve Keen talks to Phil Dobbie about the failings of the neoclassical economics and how it reflects on society.
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Debunking Economics - the podcast Steve Keen & Phil Dobbie

    • Education
    • 4.0 • 34 Ratings

Economist Steve Keen talks to Phil Dobbie about the failings of the neoclassical economics and how it reflects on society.
Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    Two parties obsessed with government debt

    Two parties obsessed with government debt

    Imagine if Keir Starmer, the UK Labour leader, had said, let’s not get too obsessed with government debt. If we go down that road we won‘t be able to provide the public services we need, our infrastructure will crumble further and we’ll simply see the country’s productivity erode further by the day. Unfortunately, he didn’t say that. Instead, he has pledged himself to the temple of fiscal responsibility, just like the Conservatives. That means, whichever party is in power the UK can expect something akin to the austerity that plagued the last 2010s. Phil asks Steve just ow much extra spending the government can get away with, though, when the Liz Truss experience suggests governments are answerable to the financial markets.
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    • 36 min
    Rising margins, higher inflation, lower wages. No wonder you feel worse off.

    Rising margins, higher inflation, lower wages. No wonder you feel worse off.

    There’s been a debate brewing post-pandemic about how much inflation has been elevated by companies increasing their margins. The evidence of that is the increased profits, not just in the tech sector, which has helped increase the share prices of these companies, evidenced by record levels across the US share market indices.
    This week Steve Keen says its clear that is happening. Even before the pandemic, when inflation was lower, companies were still increasing their margins more than the level of wages, so workers were increasingly worse off. Hence the pre-pandemic stagnation. But companies need to improve their efficiency to fend off competitors and provided the rising returns that investors are demanding. So, isn’t the constant drive for higher margins simply an acceptable and necessary function of capitalism?

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    • 43 min
    Productivity – the election winner that Rishi Sunak failed on

    Productivity – the election winner that Rishi Sunak failed on

    The UK is heading to the polls on July 4th and the Conservative Party is heading for annihilation. Yet, when it comes to espousing sensible ideas from textbooks, Rishi Sunak had the making of a good Prime Minister. For example, tackling productivity by building the necessary infrastructure, investing in education and building cities and regions where businesses could cross pollinate their expertise, facilitated by strong communication and transport links. He presented all of these ideas three years ago and since then productivity has fallen. Why? Steve says these are all great ideas, but there was no money there to support them. You can’t facilitate growth whilst pulling money out of the economy through government spending cuts. Hence, Tory party economics has failed on delivery. 
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    • 42 min
    Trump's plan. Same old same old, only more so.

    Trump's plan. Same old same old, only more so.

    Steve is on hols this week, so Phil takes a look back at a couple of Debunking Economics podcasts from just before Donald Trump took office. In many ways he stuck to his promises. He tried to cut immigration, he introduced protectionism with hefty tariffs on China and he cut taxes. Now he’s promising more of the same, although Biden might have beaten him to it when it comes to heftier taxes on China’s EV exports.
    The first time around Steve suggested some of Trump’s thinking was right, although perhaps for the wrong reasons. Tax cuts to boost spending seems like a good idea, but he directed it at high income earners in the false belief that they would use this money to invest in jobs to grow the economy. Instead, tax receipts fell and the new jobs didn’t materialise.
    He is also hell bent on making America self-sufficient for energy. America’s domestic oil production has been steadily increasing since 2016. Can we expect this to accelerate, given he has repeatedly declared climate change is a hoax, and the likely funding support he is receiving from the fossil fuel industry?

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    • 29 min
    Should the wealthy get away with less tax?

    Should the wealthy get away with less tax?

    Should we tax wealth more? The UK’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reevs wouldn’t be drawn o the question at an FT forum recently. She said the UK is already a high taxing country. But around the world the wealthy are getting wealthier. Is that a bad thing? Some would say that if they are making money creating growth for the economy, then why would you want to stop them. Jeff Bezos, for example, makes a small fraction of the wealth of the economic benefit he has created for broader society.  But does it make sense that income from wealth – primarily capital gains – is taxed less than I come from work? No, says Steve Keen. It should be the other way round. Listen in for a discussion about taxing wealth, that’s a little more nuanced than just saying tax the rich.
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    • 40 min
    UK Labour’s Half-Baked Nationalisation Plans

    UK Labour’s Half-Baked Nationalisation Plans

    UK Labour leader Keir Starmer has said if he wins the next general election, within 5 years he will have re-nationalised Britain’s railways. Phil asks Steve whether it naturally follows that this will lead to an improvement in services and lower fares? Steve reckons you any need to look at government run services elsewhere in Europe to answer that question – but Britain’s trains weren’t so great even in the days of British Rail, when they were in government hands. This time there’s a chance one of the key areas of investment will remain in private hands, negating the advantage of public ownership.
    Railways are also an easy choice. Many franchise operators have fallen by the wayside, forcing the government to step in. Renationalisation was starting t happen by default. Ut what about water?  Nd, more significantly, what about the power industry. How can an industry that relies on making more money from customers operate in an environment where climate change is demanding we use less?
    Phil and Steve discuss how Labour’s plans only seem to scratch the surface.  Th direction of travel is right, but they don’t seem to be heading very far down the line.

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    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5
34 Ratings

34 Ratings

paulsplanet ,

Steve seems knowledgeable but a little bitter

Not sure I’d ever catch-up on all episodes. In the 6 months I’ve had the pod with me, they cover a lot of stuff but Steve seems obsessed to play the shot rather than the rally.

Cindy YA ,

great insights

just started listening to this podcast and the real life examples from around the world have been fascinating! thanks

TimewastedbyVirginspam ,

Mixed

Steve Keen has an interesting take that runs refreshingly counter to the economics establishment. Phil Dobbie, however, has a very mainstream establishment blob take on the politics though which wears thin after a bit e.g. anyone who disagrees with him is a ‘right wing nut job’ by which he appears to mean centre right.

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