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Aug 3, 2019

It’s not such a stretch to have Mark Blyth as a guest on our podcast. Although we normally feature proponents of Modern Monetary Theory, our interests are, above all, in the health of the planet and the social, physical, and economic health of our fellow citizens.
 
In this episode, host Steve Grumbine and Professor Blyth find that they share two concerns of utmost import: austerity, as both an economic as well as an ideological system, and the climate crisis.
 
Blyth is known for his pop culture references and his fantastic sense of humor. “A Lannister always pays his debts” leads to an illustration of the difference between public and private debt. Hint: the first is intergenerational. Grumbine may not agree that generations of private individuals are actually responsible for repaying the government’s commitments, but they both know that when wages are stagnant, personal debt is likely to be devastating and never-ending.
 
We think our listeners will get a kick out of Blyth’s irreverence as much as Grumbine clearly does. When Steve challenges Blyth’s comparison of Venezuela’s sovereign currency to that of the United States, Blyth retorts that it’s all “smoke and mirrors and bullshit.” 
 
Professor Blyth is concerned that MMT proponents haven’t faced up to the reality of political obstacles. “Have you met Republicans?” They’re not going to agree to “just take the Fed, write a big check, stick a golden penny in the Fed, and we’ll do a green new deal.” Well, we can’t argue with that.
 
You’re going to enjoy this conversation that takes us back to 1315, revealing that there has been a downward trend in interest rates for 700 years. (Did we mention that Grumbine and Blyth agree that the threat of inflation is vastly overblown?) Whether you’re interested in Westeros or Brexit or the Grateful Dead, it’s an episode you won’t want to miss.
 
Mark Blyth is The William R. Rhodes ’57 Professor of International Economics, Professor of Political Science and International and Public Affairs at Brown University.
 
Follow him on Twitter @MkBlyth
 
https://global.oup.com/academic/product/austerity-9780199389445?q=mark%20blyth&lang=en&cc=us
 
https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-future-of-the-euro-9780190233242?q=mark%20blyth&lang=en&cc=us