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Podcast – Biden and Trump, climate crisis, US healthcare, UBI

Its Wednesday and as usual I am not writing much here. Further, I have many commitments today (see one of them below). So we just have some information for you plus a podcast I did recently. And, finally, some Bob and Johnny for our music segment.

Cheese and Macro – Juxtapositions with Bill Mitchell Podcast

I recently recorded an interview with Steve Grumbine who leads the fabulous team at Real Progressives in the US, who tirelessly work to promote Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), effort that I am eternally grateful for.

We talked about a lot of things and the edited version captures the scope of the conversation.

You can access the discussion – HERE.

Thanks to Steve who stayed up late to fit into our global dispersion.

It is the first time I have been in the same picture as Biden and Trump and I have never worn a yellow tie!

Upcoming events

I have been doing a lot of presentations in the recent period to a variety of audiences, mostly restricted.

Two public events that are coming up include, one tonight and another later in the month.

PHAA event – An economy that guarantees health and wellbeing for all: the right to work and income security

Date: October, 14, 2020.

Time: 18:00 Melbourne, Australia summer time.

Tonight, the Public Health Association, Australia is sponsoring an event – An economy that guarantees health and wellbeing for all: the right to work and income security.

In the neoliberal era, poverty, income inequality and unemployment have been on the rise and have come to be seen as inevitable and immutable features of market-based economies. During this time governments, increasingly obsessed with austerity economics, have come to be cast as powerless to tackle these issues with the burden of responsibility being placed on the individual. The individual and societal health consequences of the failure to address these issues are profound and wide-ranging. Far from being inevitable and immutable problems, solutions are certainly at hand, at the centre of which is the fiscal capacity of our governments to provide for the wellbeing of all.

Our distinguished guests, Professor John Quiggin, Noel Pearson and Professor Bill Mitchell will participate in a panel discussion on the health, social and economic impacts of the ongoing failure to address the problems of poverty, income inequality and unemployment. The meaning and benefits of work; welfare systems and income security; the ever-growing gap between the rich and the poor; the case for a Job Guarantee and/or a Basic Income Guarantee; Modern Monetary Theory and the fiscal capacity of monetary sovereigns are just some of the topics likely to be discussed as we explore the health implications of achieving a full employment economy and welfare system reform that guarantees the health and well-being of all.

It will be a Zoom event (yes, another one) and you can – Register Here.

The participation is free up to an audience limit. Get in early if you want a guaranteed spot.

The event begins at 18:00 Melbourne, Australia summer time.

October 29, 2020 – Economic Policy after Brexit and COVID-19: Taking Control

The team at the Full Brexit is sponsoring this event.

Date: October, 29, 2020.

Time: 20:00-21:30 (online event) – This is London time.

Britain is in its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. The costs of the coronavirus pandemic continue to dwarf even the most exaggerated Remainer predictions of the costs of leaving the European Union.

But neoliberal shibboleths have also been shattered, with the government intervening to save jobs and businesses, while even the EU has set aside its treasured state aid rules (despite continuing to try to force the UK to abide by them).

At the same time, governments around the world seem short on imaginative ideas to reboot the economy. The priority seems to be trying to restore a pre-crisis system that was already failing millions long before COVID-19.

So how do we really “build back better”? How do we avoid a slow, jobless recovery – a degraded “new normal”? What policies and programmes are required to allow working people to take control of their lives, and enjoy a more prosperous and fulfilling future?

Join two world-leading experts to debate these crucial issues:

  • Professor Costas Lapavitsas, renowned economist, former member of the Greek parliament, and author of The Left Case Against the EU (Polity, 2019).
  • Professor Bill Mitchell, one of the leading lights of Modern Monetary Theory, and co-author, with Thomas Fazi, of Reclaiming the State: A Progressive Vision of Sovereignty for a Post-Neoliberal World (Pluto, 2017).

Professor Costas Lapavitsas, renowned economist, former member of the Greek parliament, and author of The Left Case Against the EU (Polity, 2019), and

Registration Available Here.

The event is free but you have to register to get Zoom access. Registered attendees will be emailed with the link on the day of the event.

Music – This is the favourite song of a 7-year old I know

And I like it a lot too.

Its from Bob Dylan with Johnny Cash.

The song – Girl from the North Country – was originally on Bob Dylan’s 1963 second album – The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan – which I used to play to its ultimate death. The album has so many classic songs on it that it is hard to think of a better album.

He took the melody for this song from the traditional English folk ballad – Scarborough Fair.

This version, however, is on Bob Dylan 1969 album – Nashville Skyline – which was released on Columbia Records and features the song in duet form.

I think this is a special case of a song cover (even though Bob is still involved) that is better than the original. The original is a bit quicker and I think i like the slower tempo. I also like the baritone register that Johnny Cash brings.

My question: How can a 7-year old have such sophisticated tastes?

That is enough for today!

(c) Copyright 2020 William Mitchell. All Rights Reserved.

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    This Post Has 7 Comments
    1. Bill, I don’t know the answer to your question but I agree with the 7 year old and yourself. I have always thought that the chord structure and key made the song seem wistful and perhaps accompanied by some regret. Although the song is in a major key, I always thought it pervaded by more than a little melancholy.

    2. Excellent music choice and Freewheelin of course has the most beautiful album cover. I feel somewhat connected, not only having let a lot of Bob Dylan music into my life since a first viewing of One too many mornings from the Rolling Thunder Revue on BBC’s The Old Grey Whistle Test, but also having lived in Scarborough (North Yorkshire) for several years. Of course, Blowin in the Wind, also from Freewheelin, could be the theme for the question of when our leaders will stop lying and start acting in the interests of their citizens. Talk of the north country also always reminds me of my Canadian roots and another beautiful song, Helpless by Neil Young opening with: ‘there is a town in North Ontario’.

    3. Many thanks, Bill, again. I didn’t pay full attention till the end bit on UBI. So glad I did. I always pick up something new to add to my growing files on UBI: “Enjoy individual freedom but collective responsibility. No such thing as society. The right to work, the duty to work. Individualism is neoliberalism.” I’ve spent a lot of time (as a CLP rep on UK Labour National Policy Forum Economics Commission) commenting on submissions using MMT arguments, and especially rebutting those calling for UBI. So much so that the organiser recently thanked me for making the most contribution! It will be thoroughly ignored by the Party, of course, but I believe that John McDonnell was turning his back on UBI and I doubt it will be picked up by Anneliese Dodds – because it’s ‘unaffordable’.

    4. Thanks for the music. I discovered Dylan in the early 60s. I’ve long thought early (acoustic) Dylan was unparalleled. His voice was mesmerizing and the poetry of his lyrics was captivating.

      I listened to the podcast. I understand that Joe Biden was not your first (perhaps second, third, or fourth) choice. I would have been happy to support Bernie Sanders, but he was not the choice of the party. And by party, I mean the voters in the Democratic primaries. This was no secret cabal that chose Biden. It was the base that did. Bernie’s campaign was well-funded and well-run. I don’t know why Bernie never connected with the African-American community, but the fact is, long before Clayburn’s endorsement, Bernie’s standing with that community was very low. The African-American community is the base of the Democratic party. A Democrat can’t win without their vote. Biden is polling at 94% with that community.

      I do not understand the proclivity of some on the left to continue to bad-mouth the Democratic ticket. All it will serve to do is suppress support. And to claim, as the host did, that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats is both nonsensical and dangerous.

    5. @Neil Wyman writes:

      “I don’t know why Bernie never connected with the African-American community, but the fact is, long before Clayburn’s endorsement, Bernie’s standing with that community was very low”.

      Interesting – and important – comment.

      I suspect the title ‘socialist’ – Bernie describes himself as a ‘democratic socialist’ – with its anti-religious connotations, may be unsettling for a black community seeking security and solace in faith.

      “And to claim, as the host did, that there is no difference between Republicans and Democrats is both nonsensical and dangerous”.

      I think Biden’s tax plan will raise c.$200 billion. Useless small change. He needs $2 trillion just for starters, if he is going to begin to address the reality observed by, of all people, Trump, in 2016; (“You are living in poverty, your neighborhoods are like war zones, your young men are in prison”….)

      AOC *could* inform Biden how he can get it; but the Right wing of the Dem party won’t have a bar of it.

      Where does that leave us?

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