61 episodes

A podcast from the Rhodes Center for International Finance and Economics at the Watson Institute at Brown University. Hosted by political economist and director of the Rhodes Center, Mark Blyth.

The Rhodes Center Podcast with Mark Blyth Rhodes Center

    • Education
    • 5.0 • 43 Ratings

A podcast from the Rhodes Center for International Finance and Economics at the Watson Institute at Brown University. Hosted by political economist and director of the Rhodes Center, Mark Blyth.

    How asset managers came to own everything and you failed to notice

    How asset managers came to own everything and you failed to notice

    Listeners of the Rhodes Center Podcast have probably heard of companies like Black Rock, State Street and Vanguard. You’ve also probably heard how, through ETFs and other investment products, these types of investment firms own a staggering share of the world’s biggest companies (20-25% of the S&P 500 by some estimates). 
    But in this episode, you’ll hear about a whole other side of asset management; one that’s more opaque, and possibly much more influential (and corrosive) to our daily lives.  
    Brett Christophers is a geographer and professor at Uppsala University’s Institute for Housing and Urban Research, and author of the new book “Our Lives in Their Portfolios: Why Asset Managers Own the World.” In it, he explains how asset management companies like Blackstone and Macquarie Asset Management do more than passively own shares. Over the last few decades, they've begun to invest in and actively run a growing portion of our infrastructure and essential services: hospitals, care homes, water treatment plants, bridges and even parking meters. 
    On this episode, he talks with Mark Blyth about the economics of this new subspecies of asset management, and how they’ve begun to reshape our society, economy and planet in ways we don’t fully understand. 
    Learn about and purchase “Our Lives in Their Portfolios: Why Asset Managers Own the World”
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    • 53 min
    The business side of fighting climate change

    The business side of fighting climate change

    On this podcast, you’ve heard from a range of experts about the policies and politics of decarbonization. But what does the fight against climate change look like from the business side?
    Sophie Purdom is the Founder and Managing Partner of Planeteer Capital, a venture capital fund that invests in early-stage climate technology companies. She also writes Climate Tech VC, an industry newsletter that goes deep into the business side of the green transition. 
    On this episode, Sophie Purdom talks with a special guest host for the Rhodes Center Podcast, political scientist and director of the Watson Institute’s Climate Solutions Lab Jeff Colgan. They talk about the world of “climate tech,” as it’s known in the startup community, how the industry started, where it’s going, and what it can teach us about the relationship between private enterprise and the global fight against climate change.
    Learn more about and subscribe to Sophie Purdom’s newsletter, Climate Tech VC
    Learn more about the Climate Solutions Lab at the Watson Institute
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    • 33 min
    An Immigrant Economist in the Land of Inequality: A Conversation with Sir Angus Deaton

    An Immigrant Economist in the Land of Inequality: A Conversation with Sir Angus Deaton

    In 2015, economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton published a paper that revealed something startling: an increase in mortality rates in the United States among white middle-aged men and women between the years of 1999 and 2013. 
    They published a book in 2020 that aimed to explain the trend, which they attributed to — among other factors — economic stagnation, social isolation, and the opioid crisis. The book, titled “Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism,”, caused a stir inside and outside the field of economics, as people tried to make sense of America’s economy and society in the Trump years. 
    On this episode, Rhodes Center Director Mark Blyth talks with Deaton about his newest book “Economics in America: An Immigrant Economist Explores the Land of Inequality,” which takes a broader view of the issues brought up in “Deaths of Despair.” They explore the pervasiveness of inequality in America, how it relates to the “deaths of despair” phenomenon, and why the field of economics often seems blind to the most pressing issues facing individuals and communities.
    Learn more about and purchase “Economics in America: An Immigrant Economist Explores the Land of Inequality”
    Learn more about the Watson Institute’s other award-winning podcasts

    • 32 min
    The new politics of growth and stagnation (part 3): houses, micro states, finance, carbon

    The new politics of growth and stagnation (part 3): houses, micro states, finance, carbon

    This is part three in our companion series to the book “Diminishing Returns: The New Politics of Growth and Stagnation” (co-edited by Mark Blyth, Lucio Baccaro and Jonas Pontusson). 
    On this episode, Mark talks with four contributors for the book: Alex Reisenbichler, Aidan Regan, Oddný Helgadóttir, and Jonas Nahm. They look at case studies in a handful of countries, as well as some of the cross-cutting trends affecting all growth models across the world. They explore the role of finance and politics in growth models, and how the climate crisis is making us rethink this all even further. 
    Learn more about and purchase “Diminishing Returns: The New Politics of Growth and Stagnation”
    Listen to part one of this series
    Listen to part two of this series
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    • 35 min
    The new politics of growth and stagnation (part 2): growth models at scale

    The new politics of growth and stagnation (part 2): growth models at scale

    This is part two in our companion series to the book “Diminishing Returns: The New Politics of Growth and Stagnation” (co-edited by Mark Blyth, Lucio Baccaro and Jonas Pontusson). 
    In part one (which, if you haven’t listened to, we’d recommend you go back and do), Mark and his guests discussed how growth models are almost like the business model for a country. But of course, countries don’t exist in isolation. They can rise and fall together, and operate as regional economies tied into wider global networks. 
    So…what do growth models look like at scale? How should we even think about them? 
    To explore this concept, Mark spoke with two contributors to the book. Jazmin Sierra is an assistant professor of political science at Notre Dame, whose work focuses on the political economy of Latin America. Alison Johnston is an associate professor of political science at Oregon State University, whose work focuses on the European Union. 
    Learn more about and purchase “Diminishing Returns: The New Politics of Growth and Stagnation”
    Listen to part one of this series
    Learn more about and listen to Watson’s other podcasts

    • 32 min
    The new politics of growth and stagnation (part 1)

    The new politics of growth and stagnation (part 1)

    This is the first in a three-part series on Diminishing Returns: The New Politics of Growth and Stagnation, a book co-edited by Mark Blyth, Lucio Baccaro, and Jonas Pontusson. 
    Using examples from around the world, the book offers a new understanding of what happens to our politics when growth slows down. In this episode, Mark grills his co-authors about how the book came to be, and the big questions that guided its creation. 
    Guests on this episode:
    Lucio Baccaro, Director at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of SocietiesJonas Pontusson, Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Geneva
    Learn more about and purchase Diminishing Returns: The New Politics of Growth and Stagnation
    Learn more about the Watson Institutes’ other podcasts 

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
43 Ratings

43 Ratings

JimV 1 ,

Great Pod!!

Great Pod!!

jj wx ,

Insightful interviews

It is challenging to find interviews like this that are not patisan and that are even handed, there are always fresh new guests that bring new perspectives.

svrnclv ,

Best economics podcast

Guests are well-selected and Mark Blyth provides easy-to-digest insight and analysis on various economic themed topics.

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