The novel coronavirus — and America’s disastrously inept response — has shuttered the economy, leaving factories quiet, businesses closed, workers unable to do their jobs. Pulling out of this hole will require an economic effort unlike anything in recent history. We don’t just need a bit of stimulus. We will need a remobilization. But towards what end?
This is the first episode in a four-part series exploring how to rebuild the economy after COVID. Future episodes will look at a Green New Deal, a children-centric economy, and a universal basic income. But I wanted to start at the beginning. What can the government do? What is the economy for? Why should we trust politicians, rather than markets, to allocate resources on this scale?
Zach Carter is a senior reporter at HuffPost and the author of a new book, The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes. The book, which has widely been hailed as one of the year’s best, is a remarkable biography animated by a question many of us have forgotten Keynes asked: What values should guide an economy? What are the higher purposes economic policy should serve? Carter and I discuss:
- What Keynes would advise the US government to do if he were alive today
- How good domestic economic management can reduce the risk of global war
- Whether economics should be about maximizing consumer preferences or pursuing a social purpose
- The limits of democracy
- The role advertising plays in economic preferences
- Why the gold standard was — and is — a terrible idea
- Why Democratic politicians are stuck in the 1990s when it comes to their thinking on budget deficits
- Modern Monetary Theory (and its discontents)
And much more.
The Globaists by Quinn Slobodian
The Deluge by Adam Tooze
Nova by Samuel R. Delany
John Kenneth Galbraith: His Life, His Politics, His Economics by Richard Parker
This podcast is part of a larger Vox project called The Great Rebuild, which is made possible thanks to support from Omidyar Network, a social impact venture that works to reimagine critical systems and the ideas that govern them, and to build more inclusive and equitable societies. You can find out more at vox.com/the-great-rebuild (https://bit.ly/3iBcVoW)
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