Archive for the ‘Debt’ Category

3P-064 Money as Theft, or Why We Need a Glocal Economy

In this episode, we look at money as created through debt, but actually backed by theft, by examining the exchange of labor that money purportedly represents. We question the high cost of housing and services vs. the low cost of food and goods.  Looking ahead, we develop 10 features that a successful turnaround plan would need to have, and we explain how a strategy to deal with hyperinflation is the opposite of a strategy for inflation.

We also tell the story of meeting Claudia Solerno, Venezuela’s Presidential Envoy on Climate Justice, at the Green Festival. We cite a study from Fast Food/Slow Food: the Cultural Economy of the Global Food System by Richard Wilk, and an article by economist Michael Hudson called “Krugman, China and the Role of Finance.” Finally, we end with holiday shopping tips from Fair Trade USA, a guide from Shop to Stop Slavery, Free2Work’s I-phone app, and Kyle Thiermann’s video, “Buy Local, Surf Global.”

Poems:

  • “Each of Us Has a Name” by Zelda
  • “For the Sleepwalkers” by Edward Hirsch
  • “Everything is Going to be All Right” by Derek Mahon

Songs/Music Videos

  • “Welcome, Ghosts” by Explosions in the Sky
  • “Before I Go” by John Hiatt
  • “Freedom Hangs Like Heaven” by Iron & Wine

To listen or view the multimedia transcript, click here.

3P-062 Education and Its Discontents

In this special 2-hour feature, Third Paradigm hosts the 10th anniversary episode of Unwelcome Guests. This show looks forward and backwards at whether schools at the university, secondary, and elementary levels are serving the greater good of society or the greater wealth of CEO’s. In celebration of 520 episodes, this show begins by reading Lyn Gerry’s introduction to the very first edition of Unwelcome Guests. It announces the many new features of the UnwelcomeGuests.net website, including show summaries, topic and speaker indexes, embedded audio player, interactive wiki design, and “collaboratory” studio: all provided through the altruistic largesse of Robin Upton. In the second hour, an alternative media forum called the UniverseCity is cited, with an invitation to listeners to join.

We start by looking at the current state of college financing through excerpts from “The Student Loan Scam” and “Wossamotta U.” Then Ben Manski from Unwelcome Guests #345 looks at college costs a generation ago, and how corporatization has accompanied the rise in tuition. This episode was called “Dumbed Down, Buttoned Down, or Locked Down – Throwaway People in a Disposable Culture.” The first hour ends with a reading from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig.

In the second hour, Ken MacDermottRoe of History Counts interviews John Taylor Gatto in his episode,  “Dumbing Us Down.” Then Kenneth Dowst of New World Notes plays the conclusion of one of John Taylor Gatto’s talks, followed by an excerpt from Jonathon Kozol, who observes the same phenomenon but reaches a different solution. Data is presented from Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi’s book “The Two-Income Trap.”

Notable Quote: Keep in mind, this scheme was never intended…to be destructive, just the reverse. By converting Americans into specialized economic and social functions, into incompletely human human beings, this nation eventually achieved the most reliable domestic market in the world. The human mutilations of schooling are a trade0off for this prosperity. Comfort and security are achieved at the price of personal sovereignty and wholeness. That’s what makes extended childhood a paradox – give it up and people will enter a zone of great turbulence, since most people don’t have a clue what to do to make a living or how to entertain themselves. And the resolution of that turbulence nobody can predict.

Well-schooled people have a low threshold of boredom; they need constant novelty to feel alive. With only the flimsiest inner life, they must stay in touch with official voices…The cannot sit still without their minds wandering off to some commercial world or to the stock market…Well-schooled people must be poorly-trained in history, philosophy, economics, literature, poetry, music, art, theology, and anything known to develop a personal inner life… [It converts] spirits designed for independence into whiny, greedy, bored children who define themselves by what they consume…When you next find yourself appalled by infantile and irresponsible behavior that you see all around you, think of school as its forge and try to get rid of it.

– John Taylor Gatto

3P-061 Wossamotta U

Wossamotta U was the alma mater of Bullwinkle, an early teacher of the social innuendo. This episode examines the university as the self-perpetuating goal of education. We review the NY Times article “Placing the Blame as Students Are Mired in Debt,” the Washington Examiner article, “Higher Education’s Bubble is About to Burst,” and the eye-opening new book by Anya Kamenetz, DIY U. From her book, we cite statistics on drop-out rates, question the cost/benefit ratio, and take a jaundiced look at college from “The Economics of Education and the Education of an Economist.”

But from the last episode, we reconsider our conclusions from a Pew Center survey showing Republicans are happier than Democrats. And we ask, who funds the Pew Center anyway? We hypothesize that it’s the same group that’s grooming Presidential candidates, as John Perkins reveals they do for economic hit men. We end with a new educational paradigm, that compares apples to apples to measure the success of schooling.

Poems:

  • “When the Shoe Fits” by Chuang Tsu
  • “Straight Talk from Fox” by Mary Oliver

Songs and/or Music Videos

  • “A Day Without Rain” and “Tempus Vernum” by Enya
  • “Same Old, Same Old” by Chumbawumba
  • “Someday” by Brett Dennen

Excerpt

  • Question related to California’s Budget Crisis and Cabrillo College

To listen or view the multimedia transcript, click here!

3P-059 Two Things Are Certain: Debt and Taxes

This episode looks at national debts as sneaky taxes, and why protectionism should be one of the most holy words in our vocabulary. Asks, if we owe on loans without our consent, are we really free? Referencing the radio series Wizards of Money by “Smithy,” does an in-depth analysis of FICA, the tax that pays for Social Security and Medicare.

Demonstrates how FICA made the income tax less progressive, and why those who can’t afford their own insurance are paying the most to extend the lives of seniors. Proposes an alternative that would provide free reproductive, pre-natal, and pre-school healthcare, so the right to life doesn’t end at birth.

Finally, compares the budget of the Roman Empire in 150 CE and the 21st century US Empire, including the most expensive provinces for each: Judea and Egypt. Updates the parable of the talents to the modern terminology of IMF loans and corporate kickbacks.

Poems:

  • “No More Cliches” by Octavio Paz
  • “ The Tao of the Trial” by Marilyn Nelson

Songs:

  • “Everything Has an End, Even Sadness” by Kaki King
  • “Money” by Monty Python
  • “The Taxman” by the Beatles

Videos:

  • “The Money Programme” with Eric Idle of Monty Python
  • “Journeys with George,” a video-montage by Monica Guerra using footage from Alexandra Pelosi’s documentary of the same name

To listen or view the transcript, click here.

3P-054 Climate Debt and Interview with Barbara Ehrenreich

Climate Debt: Relates statistics about per capita carbon emissions to national debt burdens. Suggests that instead of charging “rich” countries a climate debt, we absolve all national debts – saving the global South 200 billion a year. Proposes a US plan for counties to keep 2% of their own income tax for every 2% the county lowers its carbon emissions. This would promote local sovereignty, defund the military, and lower emissions 20% by 2020, 40% by 2030, or even 80% by 2050.

Recommends that Evo Morales, Naomi Klein, Vendana Shiva, and Desmond Tutu read Barabara Ehrenreich, to understand why Americans aren’t rolling in the dough. Uses the case study of Firestone and Mittal Steel in Liberia to explain odious debt, vulture funds, and liability sheltering. From Clinton Callahan’s article, “Beware the Psychopath, My Son,” extrapolates that corporations are, by definition, psychopaths as persons without conscience or culpability.

Poems:

  • Mary Oliver, “Almost a Conversation” 
  • Marge Piercy, “The Seven of Pentacles”

Songs and/or Music Videos:

  • Alpha Yaya Diallo, “Bambara Blues,” 
  • Seize the Day, “The Price of Petrol”

Embedded PDF Files:

  • Global Witness, “Heavy Mittal”
  • UK Guardian Datablog, “Carbon Emissions Per Person, By Country”
  • Dr. Kevin Barrett, “Twilight of the Psychopaths”
  • Silvia Cattori, “Trick of the Psychopath’s Trade”

Audio Bonus:

  • Fun and lively interview with Barbara Ehrenreich. They discuss magical thinking in religion and business, ‘tit for tat’ in cancer fundraising, how the office has been outsourced to the home, and the danger of shooting the messenger. Tereza relates two stories of being fired for not being a “can-do girl,” and asks whether all middle-managers have become “can-do girls” in this musical chairs jobless market.