360 episodes

Coronavirus! Climate! Brexit! Trump! Politics has never been more unpredictable, more alarming or more interesting: Talking Politics is the podcast that tries to make sense of it all. Every week David Runciman and Helen Thompson talk to the most interesting people around about the ideas and events that shape our world: from history to economics, from philosophy to fiction. What does the future hold?
Can democracy survive? How crazy will it get? This is the political conversation that matters.


Talking Politics is brought to you in partnership with the London Review of Books, Europe's leading magazine of books and ideas.
Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/talkingpolitics

TALKING POLITICS Talking Politics

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    • 5.0 • 3 Ratings

Coronavirus! Climate! Brexit! Trump! Politics has never been more unpredictable, more alarming or more interesting: Talking Politics is the podcast that tries to make sense of it all. Every week David Runciman and Helen Thompson talk to the most interesting people around about the ideas and events that shape our world: from history to economics, from philosophy to fiction. What does the future hold?
Can democracy survive? How crazy will it get? This is the political conversation that matters.


Talking Politics is brought to you in partnership with the London Review of Books, Europe's leading magazine of books and ideas.
Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/talkingpolitics

    Shutdown/Confronting Leviathan

    Shutdown/Confronting Leviathan

    We’re back from our summer break with David, Helen and Adam Tooze exploring what the pandemic has revealed about politics, economics and the new world order. From Covid crisis to China crisis to climate crisis: how does it all fit together? And what comes next? Adam’s new book is Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World’s Economy. Plus David talks about his new book based on series one of History of Ideas: Confronting Leviathan. 


    Talking Points:


    The term ‘lockdown’ can be misleading. Many aspects of the response were not top-down.
    - Most of the reduction in mobility predated government mandate.
    - The financial markets made huge moves and central banks then had to step in.
    - The popular response cannot be separated from the actions of the state.


    The term ‘shutdown’ better captures the pandemic’s impact on the economy.
    - Huge parts of the productive economy literally ground to a halt. 
    - It seems like central banks learned something from the last crisis.
    - Is there still a realistic prospect of normalization? Adam and Helen are skeptical. 


    Is there such thing as democratic money?
    - If so, then democracy has changed.
    - The condition of possibility for the freedom of action of central bankers is a political vacuum.
    - Parts of the left see an opportunity in monetary politics. 


    The entire monetary order in China is political, but there was a debate within the regime over stimulus.
    - The conservatives won out.
    - Some Western financial leaders used this to push back against central bankers in their own countries. 


    The Republican party is becoming increasingly incoherent.
    - Some, such as Mnuchin, emphasize the structural necessity of some kind of continuity. 
    - Others, such as Jay Powell, argue that the priority is confronting China. 
    - There is an ongoing de-centering from the West in a dollar-based world. 


    The U.S.-China competition has changed. 
    - We have moved from a realm of competition over GDP growth rates to a much starker contest involving hard power.
    - The tech sanctions are a sovereignty issue, not just an economic issue.


    Mentioned in this Episode:
    - Adam’s new book, Shutdown
    - James Meadway on neoliberalism
    - Rudiger Dornbusch, Essays (1998/2001)
    - Quinn Slobodian on right-wing globalists
    - Perry Anderson’s review of Adam’s work, and Adam’s response
    - Marx’s Capital Volume 1
    - Helen’s book, Oil and the Western Economic Crisis
    - Daniela Gabor on macrofinance 
    - Niklas Luhmann on social systems
    - David’s new book, Confronting Leviathan


    Further Learning:
    - Adam’s new podcast, Ones and Tooze
    - Adam for the LRB on the rise of China
    - From the archives… talking to Adam about the pandemic in March 2020


    And as ever, recommended reading curated by our friends at the LRB can be found here: lrb.co.uk/talking
     
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    • 1 hr 4 min
    Q & A with Helen and David: Trump and Everything Else

    Q & A with Helen and David: Trump and Everything Else

    Our final session of answering your questions, starting with Trump and moving on to where we get our ideas from and what we've learned from all our failed predictions. Plus, were the 1990s really the decade of missed opportunity? After this, Talking Politics is taking a summer break. We will be back in September with lots of new things to talk about. See you then! We hope you have a lovely summer and thank you so much for listening.
     
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    • 53 min
    Q & A With Helen and David: UK Politics and the Union

    Q & A With Helen and David: UK Politics and the Union

    The second part of our attempt to answer your questions, this week covering British politics. Helen and David tackle whether Labour can win, what happened to the Lib Dems, where the Greens are heading and what's in store for the Union. Plus, how much is being held together by the Queen and what will happen when she is no longer around? Next week, Trump, and much more.


    Talking UK Politics… 


    Our State of the Union Series: 
    - On Scotland
    - On Northern Ireland
    - On Wales
    - On England


    From our archives:
    - Election Fallout (May 2021)
    - Where is the Opposition? (December 2020)
    - Labour and Brexit: Beyond the Crisis (May 2020)
    - What’s the Future for Labour? (January 2020)
    - Party like it’s 1974 (November 2019)
    - The Party Splits! (In 1846!)
    - Who is Jeremy Corbyn? (February 2018)


    And as ever, recommended reading curated by our friends at the LRB can be found here: lrb.co.uk/talking
     
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    • 58 min
    Q & A with Helen and David: Geopolitics

    Q & A with Helen and David: Geopolitics

    In the first of a short series of episodes, Helen and David do their best to answer your questions about anything and everything. Here, it's the geopolitics of vaccines, Germany as a 'useful idiot', the Great Game in the 21st century, oil prices, green finance and the risks and rewards of 'Japanification'. Next week, they tackle UK politics and the future of the Union.


    Talking Geopolitics… from our archives
    - Michael Lewis on the Pandemic (June 2021)
    - After Merkel… What? With Hans Kundnani (April 2021)
    - The Tragic Choices of Climate Change with Adam Tooze (March 2021)
    - Germany, Italy, Coalitions and Vaccines (January 2021)
    - China, Climate, Covid: The New Energy Map with David Yergin (November 2020)
    - Post-COVID economics… with Adam Tooze (November 2020)
    - Adam Tooze on US vs China (May 2019)
    - Oil! With Helen (June 2017)


    And as ever, recommended reading curated by our friends at the LRB can be found here: lrb.co.uk/talking
     
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    • 50 min
    Ed Miliband's Big Ideas

    Ed Miliband's Big Ideas

    David talks to Ed Miliband about the thinking behind his new book Go Big. What are the ideas that have the power to change British politics? If they have been shown to work elsewhere, why are they so hard to make happen? Is it the politicians or the public who are reluctant to make the shift? Plus, we discuss whether the Tories might be better at the politics of change than Labour.


    Mentioned in this Episode: 
    - Ed’s new book, Go Big: How to Fix Our World
    - Ed’s podcast, Reasons to be Cheerful


    Further Learning: 
    - Ed on why the Labour Party should think big for the Guardian
    - More on the Vienna model of social housing
    - Matthew Brown on what Preston council can teach Labour


    And as ever, recommended reading curated by our friends at the LRB can be found here: lrb.co.uk/talking
     
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    • 45 min
    Covid-Union-Labour-Brexit-Climate

    Covid-Union-Labour-Brexit-Climate

    This week David and Helen take stock of the state of British politics, looking at how the big themes of the last year fit together. They try to join the dots between the pandemic and the fraying of the Union, the weakness of the Labour party and the fraught politics of climate change, along with the lingering impact of Brexit on everything. We are also looking for your questions on these topics too - please let us know what you would like David and Helen to discuss next: https://www.talkingpoliticspodcast.com/contact


    Talking Points: 


    Incumbents, under the conditions of vaccine politics, have done well. 
    - The next phase will be about the economy, but we aren’t out of the vaccine stage yet.
    - When an inquiry happens, there will be some tough questions about the British state.
    - If the economic recovery goes well, there will be space for critical reflection. But if recovery stalls or is skewed, that will be the main focus.


    The Northern Ireland question may pose a real challenge to the politics of the Union.
    - This may be the government’s number one problem right now.
    - The UK government is extremely constrained. 
    - The EU has invested a lot of its credibility in defending the single market.  
    - The perverse consequence of Brexit is that it embroiled the EU into the politics of Northern Ireland.


    Is the First Past the Post system propping up a moribund Labour Party?
    - The electoral system works to Labour’s favour when compared to continental centre-left parties.
    - But the thing that Labour has to deal with that is unique is the Union question.
    - Labour has always struggled to win a majority of seats in England.


    In 2020, Britain and the EU diverged on the question of China. 
    - Biden wants to bring the EU toward the American position. And the EU has moved a bit already.
    - This might dilute the advantage that Johnson thought he might gain with the Biden admin by being tough on China.


    The geopolitics of climate change are bound up in the EU/US position on China.
    - Merkel has been inclined to treat China as more serious about climate change.
    - Johnson wants to put Britain at the head of ‘green finance.’
    - Climate change is not currently an electorally contested issue in Britain. But that might not be true for much longer.


    Mentioned in this Episode: 
    - Our Union series… on Scotland
    - David Frost’s FT column on the Northern Ireland Protocol


    Further Learning: 
    - Helen on Labour and the ‘English Question’ for the New Statesman
    - More on Johnson’s ‘green finance’ plans
    - Talking climate change with Helen and Adam Tooze


    And as ever, recommended reading curated by our friends at the LRB can be found here: lrb.co.uk/talking
     
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    • 45 min

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