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Capitalisn't on Smash Notes

Capitalisn't podcast.

March 27, 2020

Capitalism is the engine of prosperity. Capitalism sows the seeds of its own demise. Could both be right? Economists Luigi Zingales (University of Chicago) and Kate Waldock (Georgetown) share the sort of irreverent banter you’d hear between economists at a bar, if economists were capable of sarcasm and social enough to go out to bars.



Episodes with Smash Notes

In recent weeks, The Great Barrington Declaration erupted the debate about how best to continue the fight against COVID-19. On this episode, we try to have an honest and difficult conversation about the tradeoffs of different strategies for the future, from lockdowns to herd immunity.

We also speak to people on both sides of the aisle: Sunetra Gupta, an epidemiologist from Oxford and one of the signers of The Great Barrington Declaration, and Andy Slavitt, former Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under Obama and the host of the In The Bubble Podcast.

MMT—modern monetary theory—has become one of the hottest topics in economics. The best selling book, "The Deficit Myth", by economist Stephanie Kelton has even made this little understood theory go mainstream. But deeply analyzing these ideas has become more pressing than ever as we debate, in the middle of a pandemic, whether the government should be adding more debt to support the economy.

Along with our guest, "grumpy" economist John Cochran from the Hoover Institute at Stanford University, we take a look at what MMT gets right, what it gets wrong, and how it should change our thinking.

Will rich people be able to buy a coronavirus vaccine before everyone else? Should we pay people to be part of clinical trials? Is a market for vaccine vouchers a terrible idea?

On this episode, we tackle the complex questions around developing and distributing a coronavirus vaccine in a capitalist system. And to get some help with the answers, Luigi and Bethany speak with bioethicist, Dr. Arthur L. Caplan, from the NYU School of Medicine.

As we start a new season of Capitalisn't, we welcome our new co-host, Vanity Fair contributing editor Bethany McLean. Academics tend to think journalists are too driven by anecdotes and journalists tend to think that academics are irrelevant. But in our new season, we hope to combine these two expertises to illuminate the ways capitalism is and isn't working in our world.

CapitalIsn't will be returning with a new co-host in September! In the meantime, as we develop the re-launch of our show, we'll be airing previously unreleased content and re-releasing some of our favorite episodes.

In light of the upcoming 2020 election, we thought it would be worthwhile to rebroadcast a conversation Kate and Luigi had about money in politics.

CapitalIsn't will be returning with a new co-host in September! In the meantime, as we develop the re-launch of our show, we'll be airing previously unreleased content and re-releasing some of our favorite episodes.

In light of a recent threat by the Department of Justice to bring a lawsuit against Yale University for allegedly discriminating against Asian-American and White applicants, we thought it would be worthwhile to rebroadcast a conversation Kate and Luigi had about the Harvard admission scandal last year.

CapitalIsn't will be returning with a new co-host in September! In the meantime, as we develop the re-launch of our show, we'll be airing previously unreleased content and re-releasing some of our favorite episodes.

On our last episode, we aired pieces of an interview with Lisa Cook, a professor from Michigan State University. We actually had a much longer conversation about the lack of diversity in the economics field that we think deserves to be aired. So, we hope you enjoy listening, and we look forward to sharing the re-launched Capitalisn’t with you in September!

On this episode—Kate Waldock's final episode as a co-host of CapitalIsn't—we tackle a crucial question the economics field is facing: what is it going to do about its lack of diversity? To fully investigate this question, Kate and Luigi are joined by a series of guests who each offer a different perspective on why there's a lack of diversity in economics, what the profession is missing because of it, and what can be done to fix it.

Guests:

- Peter Henry, William R. Berkley Professor of Economics and Business and former dean of NYU’s Stern School of Business - Lisa Cook, Professor of Economics and International Relations at Michigan State University - Anna Gifty Opoku-Agyeman, (Anna Gifty Ah-poke-oo Ah-jah-men), founder of the Sadie Collective and an emerging economist - Rohan Williamson, Bolton Sullivan and Thomas A. Dean Chair of International Business and former dean of Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business - Andres Liberman, Chief Data Officer at Burn to Give - Luis Lopez, Assistant Professor of Finance at UIC Business School

There is an ongoing debate about whether private equity adds value or simply extracts value. In the economic literature, benefits are better documented than extraction for a very simple reason: when value is created everybody is willing to share the data to show it. When value is extracted, much less so. On this episode, Kate and Luigi present an often overlooked story of how a private equity fund made millions through connections, lobbying, and a spectrum auction.

The coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on most businesses, but it has been especially hard on small businesses. But should those businesses file for bankruptcy, and what will happen to them if they do? On this episode, Kate and Luigi explain how bankruptcy works...or doesn't work...for small businesses and how the system needs to change.

"Defund the police" has become one of the central demands coming from the protests that have arisen following George Floyd's killing at the hands of a white police office. On this episode, Kate and Luigi take an economist's look at the concept of defunding the police.

On this episode, Kate and Luigi use a recent criminal case against Walmart over its sale of opioids to explain the tactics many huge corporations use to dodge the justice system.