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I wish I’d been in that meeting: Facebook’s shame-o-gram.

I wish I’d been in that meeting. You know… the one where Facebook decided to hire a scary blue chip law firm to threaten a small non-profit anti-litter campaign over infringing its Instagram trademark.

That’s not because it’s a good example of a multi-billion dollar giant bullying a tiny little company with no hope of defending itself against a mega-lawsuit. Nor is it because of the startling irony of using trademark law to aggressively defend Instagram, a brand that is a deeply questionable trademark to begin with.

No. It’s because what this case represents is no less than an attempt to privatise aspects of the English language itself.

That’s an act of supreme corporate hubris, even for a company that paid out £35 million in staff bonuses in the UK last year… yet managed to pay only £4327 in UK corporation tax.  Especially considering that company has a history of defending complex class action law suits, out of court settlements and ongoing allegations of misleading shareholders over aspects of its IPO, breaching copyright, invasion of privacy and conducting unethical psychological experiments on users, to name but a few scandals in their short, but meteoric rise to the top.

In this case, Facebook has instructed Bristows law firm to threaten a small app you’ve probably never heard of called Littergram into changing its name.

Letter of the law dullards will argue, as they always do, that this is an open and shut case. Littergram sounds like Instagram, a bit. And it’s an app that is designed to take photos, tag them, add a message and share it with other users. Which does, on the face of it sound like a description of Instagram. But the story is far more nuanced than that. In the spirit, if not the letter of trademark law, this episode resembles good old-fashioned corporate rent-seeking. It’s a rentseekergram.

Let’s break it down a bit…

Exhibit A: Instagram is a brand that clearly refers to the old Kodak instamatic cameras, popular and world famous for nearly forty years. And the app icon for Instagram appears to be an mildly re-worked version of old model SX-70 Polaroid camera. There may have been no trademark violation intended, but Instagram appears to have unashamedly used naming and imagery borrowed from other world famous products to define itself. Which is basically substance of their claim against Littergram. That’s an Insta-pot-calling-kettle-black-gram isn’t it?

Exhibit B: Instagram boasts over 300 million monthly users worldwide, and is supported by vast advertising and marketing budgets. Its photo content is hugely diverse, and used by thousands of brands to market their products. It is clearly established as a brand leader in its marketplace. Littergram, on the other hand, is a small non-profit anti-litter campaign tool that uses smartphones to snap shots of litter and make the proper clean-up authorities aware of it. The idea that Littergram is harming the Instagram brand in some meaningful way, or that it might unfairly eat into Instagram’s revenues or reputation by a misleading brand association, is more paranoia than probability.

Exhibit C: Whilst perfectly legal, Facebook’s corporate tax avoidance in the UK is clearly a contributing factor to low tax revenues, exacerbating the effects of austerity and driving public spending cuts. The same cuts that contribute to the rising problem of litter, illegal waste dumping and pollution. Which is, of course, what prompted Littergram’s founder Danny Lucas to create the app in the first place. What Littergram is trying to do is assist democratically elected local councils to improve the cost efficiency of providing a basic public service. So the laws of the land are now being used by a foreign tax avoider to interfere in the services that our taxes pay for? Yes. (And also, are you having a laugh or what, Zuckerberg?)

Exhibit D: The inherent rules of the English language contain the suffix -gram, which stems from the ancient Greek gramma meaning “something that is written, drawn or otherwise recorded, akin to a carving.” Logically speaking a photograph of problem litter in a specific location is, quite literally, a littergram. Which means Facebook really is attempting to use trademark law to claim ownership of an aspect of the English language. It is the very worst kind of rent-seeking to lay claim to the nomenclature of the words we use. Especially considering the suffix -gram predates Instagram (telegram, cardiogram, radiogram, mammogram, the list is long and ancient by comparison to both Instagram and Facebook).

On that last point, Facebook has a worrying track record. Facebook has made similar legal threats against many apps that used “insta” or “gram” in their brand names. Even apps that were designed to work with Instagram and directly contributed to its early success.

By coincidence, there is an ongoing lawsuit in the US, where Paramount/CBS is trying to take down a fan movie based on elements of their Star Trek brand. Within that suit, which is now in an appeal process, they laid claim to the constructed language of Klingon, a claim which was dismissed by the courts as being “overly broad”. Understandably so. There may be no actual Klingons, but it is a language and there are Klingon speakers. In fact, the defendants in the case submitted some of their court documents in Klingon (which had to then be translated by the court itself). That capacity for translation demonstrated Klingon is a viable language, it is deemed of “natural use to itself” (i.e. spoken by Klingon speakers) and therefore cannot be copyrighted.

And yet, Facebook has successfully bullied a number of companies into giving-up their rights to legitimately use the suffix gram.  And it’s happening again. They are part-privatising the use of English using trademark law as a loophole… much like the loopholes that facilitate their ability to operate a multi-billion dollar global corporation yet avoid paying taxes in many of the countries they operate in.

However, this rather grim moment in Facebook’s history might well come back to haunt them. Much like stag parties in the 1980s, back in the day when Strippergrams were all the rage. Thousands of shame-faced, middle-aged dads now have to explain to their children how they hypocritically bang on about decency and such… but had their photo taken with a policewoman in stockings and suspenders, waggling her boobs over Dad’s cringe-worthy Flock of Seagulls haircut. It’s something that conjures grimaces from younger people, not least for all the overtones of low rent sexism and lewdness. How dad wishes that photo didn’t exist.

In much the same way, there is a generation of people now becoming aware of the venal corporate motivations behind social networks and their schmaltzy social sharing shtick. Facebook, by behaving with all the charm of a tobacco company struggling to suppress reports over smoking and lung cancer in the 1970s, risks exposing their aspirational lifestyle marketing as a deception. A cynical distraction comprised of LOLs, likes and emojis, designed to keep their naïve users “engaged” whilst they jack every last cent out of them.

The likes of Facebook, and Instagram, defined themselves as the underdog when they started. The newcomers who threw out the rulebook of the pinstriped business stiffs who were only after your money. Instagram’s own website describes it as “a fun and quirky way to share your life with friends through a series of pictures” and waxes lyrical about the possibilities of a better world, “We imagine a world more connected through photos.” That’s what they say.

Fun? Quirky? Sharing lives? A world more connected through photos? How long before people work out that aggressive trademark lawsuits and corporate bullying is what lies beneath that stinking pile of trash? It’s no wonder an app that wants to clean-up our environment has got them worried… right kids?

Andrew Walker is a Renegade Inc. contributor

Twitter: @Killdozer

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Freedom, the Economy, and the Rule of Law

Freedom has been the ultimate battle cry of liberal politics. It has shaped the battle field from the French revolution, the American war of independence, the Second World War, and even the modern day battle fields of Iraq and Syria. It has become a term so inextricably linked to democratic progress and has become the de-facto way in determining who, in any conflict, possesses legitimacy.

And why should it not be? Freedom, in its conceptual form, is the ultimate attestation to the importance of individual will over that of society. It presents the inextricable truth that we, although social, exist on an individual conscious level with different motivations, experiences, and objectives, and have an inherent right to our thoughts and feelings. More so, in a grander sense, it is the final and only measure on which a state can be truly held accountable on when judged on its ability to govern without slipping into the temptation of rule.

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150-Strong: A Pathway to a Different Future – Serialisation Part 3

“The more laws and commands there are, the more thieves and robbers there will be.” Lao Tzu

Information leaked in the Panama Papers about the use of tax havens certainly supports this statement! Under the cover of the law thieves and robbers have been maintaining their privilege and ultra-wealth by being tricky. Many of them are leaders – politicians, monarchs and business executives. “I have done nothing illegal,” they say as their souls disappear a little further into a fog. And from the germ of their example a cancer grows.

Rules work best when they are kept to a minimum.

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Goldman Sachs

Bernie Sanders’ campaign is right: “Our economy works for Wall Street because it’s rigged by Wall Street. That’s the problem.”

From Four Horsemen:

Famous for once claiming it did God’s work – Goldman Sachs is one of the most influential investment banks in the world. Its alumni often occupy positions of great influence in governments and central banks. In September 2008, barely a month before the stock market crash, Goldman – supposedly a pillar of the free market – changed its banking status from investment to commercial. This meant it was now eligible for state protection. Socialism for the rich, right there.

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Australia’s housing bubble and the road to private serfdom

Banks, abetted by government, want you to keep getting crippling mortages to pay for vastly overpriced land, but the party can’t last forever, reports economist Philip Soos.

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150 Strong: A Pathway to a Different Future – Serialisation Part 2

When we find ourselves in need of a miracle there is a simple formula that can be applied: “Don’t panic, take stock, and do the next logical thing.” If we apply this formula, hold our course and maintain a positive outlook, the white knight of providence may intercede on our behalf.

That is not to say that the relationship between action and consequence can be avoided. There is no magic wand for the absolution of a life of feckless excess. In the case of our collective consumption binge, we have brought about the sixth mass-extinction event (to add to the previous ones, which are evident in the Earth’s geologic record), we have created a shambolic financial system of gross imbalance, and we have allowed our culture to degrade so far that a figure as flawed as that of Donald Trump has been allowed to become a credible candidate for the position of the world’s supposedly most powerful person. It would be a long way back to some semblance of a reasonable equilibrium.

But we should not give up hope.  If we work through our collective karma, we might find that there is the potential for regeneration.

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Radovan Karadjic and the Ferhadija Mosque in Banja Luka, Bosnia

The verdict and sentence on Radovan Karadjic, forty years imprisonment, has exposed persistent deep divisions in Bosnia.

For Bosnian Muslims, Karadjic is a monster who brought genocide back into Europe. One of the group Mothers of Srebrenica, Kala Holic, said: ‘That’s not enough. It should have been life.

For many Bosnian Serbs, Karadjic is a hero championing Serbia in its determination to stop Islam.

These divisions harden with age. They form the backdrop to the inauguration of the Ferhadija Mosque on May 7 in Banja Luka.

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TREES

150 Strong: A Pathway to a Different Future – Serialisation

Creative capitalism, ethical capitalism, altruistic capitalism, natural capitalism, green capitalism, distributed and democratic capitalism. Capitalism 2.0?

Capitalism comes with a potpourri of sweet-scented prefixes, all of which presume that there is something wrong with capitalism per se. There are some other prefixes we commonly hear—crony capitalism and unbridled capitalism—that suggest that we aren’t doing it right.

Perhaps it is Goldilocks capitalism we need? Not too mean, with just the right amount of good will and charity, a measured dose of state regulation, a safety net – not too big and not too small, and the rest left to the free market?

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Hey Britain – Your Kids Have Just Been Privatised

The infamous Conservative March 2016 budget was to capture ‘the next generations’ and control their cognitive map.

Wish I’d Been in That Meeting: Breitbart implodes under weight of its own irony

I wish I’d been in that meeting. You know, the one where Breitbart news executives experienced an existential crisis. That’s quite rare for a news network.

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Wish I’d Been in that Meeting: The New Day

I wish I’d been in that meeting. The one where Trinity Mirror staff brainstormed the idea for a new kind of daily newspaper. That must have been quite a thing. A room full of newspaper execs and seasoned editorial staff, throwing out rulebooks and old fashioned thinking.  The result… A DAILY NEWSPAPER.

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Austerity is Killing Democracy

Separating economics and politics is impossible, so it’s important to point out that the misguided notion of austerity is not just killing people, but also democracy.

Democratic governance is built on the ideal concept of citizen involvement. That is, the notion that for a government to be able to manage the citizens of its state, citizens need to be involved in the decision making process.

This justifies the use of voter turnout as a barometer of democratic health. The greater the voter involvement the further a governing system is from autocracy or bureaucracy. The metric also acts as a self-check mechanism, where low voter turnout provides a platform to push radical or reformist agendas.

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Future Proof Your Child

10 Scary Facts about School

1. Under proposed new assessment guidance for tests for 11 year olds, if your child scores 5 out of 6 for their ability to change nouns to adjectives by adding prefixes/suffixes, they’ll end up with a grand score of 0. For more on this, read this article from the Cambridge Primary Review.

2. If your child does SATS tests in the next year and beyond, they are expected to be writing, reading and doing maths at a level previously expected of a child at least a year older. The “expected” level has risen dramatically. If they fall short, they will have to resit in Year 7.

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Wish I’d Been in that Meeting: Inside Asda’s “panic room”

I wish I’d been in that meeting, the one where Asda bosses started screaming, like Chief Brody in the film Jaws, that they would “need a bigger boat.”

Thinking Differently with Kim Vose

Renegade Inc. shares a canoe trip with Kim Vose, a guide and teacher in Maine, USA. He has a special talent inspiring the kids who are too ‘difficult’ for mainstream education.

Twitter’s new Trust and Safety Council

I wish I’d been in that meeting, the one where Twitter decided to create its new Trust and Safety Council.

According to Twitter’s most vocal free speech activists (aka Trolls), this is an Orwellian suppression of free speech by radical feminists, homosexuals, jews, islamists and the left-wing liberal media.

According to Twitter’s CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey “Twitter stands for freedom of expression, speaking truth to power, and empowering dialogue. That starts with safety.”

Hunt’s NHS Gamble is Bloodsport

Jeremy Hunt misunderstands the medical profession – you cannot bully a vocation.

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I wish I’d been in that meeting #4 – YouTube reacts to “React To…” reactions too?

I wish I’d been in that meeting, the one where YouTube TV moguls the Fine Brothers abandoned their controversial plans to trademark the word “React”, abandoned their global licensing scheme for “React to…” video formats and ditched their copyright infringement claims against other “reaction videos”.

Make no mistake, this is a big deal for the future of entertainment and the evolution of digital media, and is so deeply ironic that it almost tore a whole in the space time continuum.

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Misguided Notions – Opec Is In Control Of World Oil Prices

Misguided Notions is back with a commentary on the Fading Power of OPEC in setting global oil prices

The Fall of the Renaissance Men

The concept of ‘Division of Labour’ has been around since 380 B.C. Ever since being mentioned in Plato’s Republic it has become a fundamental economic principle that is deemed necessary for both the construction of a state, and a way of providing basic needs and services for citizens.

The way of the renaissance men, the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Benjamin Franklin and Nikola Tesla did not fit within one of the division of labour silos – thankfully. So how do we now begin to awaken our natural curiosity, exploration, and critical thinking?

The Highest Degree of Charity?…Partnership

“The highest degree of charity is to aid a man in want, not by offering a gift or a loan, but by entering into a partnership with him or by providing work for him – so he may become self-sufficient.”

Written by Maimonides – a preeminent medieval Jewish philosopher and astronomer – these words have been an inspiration to many. It’s a way of saying that fair and effective partnership beats the charity hand out.

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I wish I’d been in that meeting #3 – “Volkswagen”

You know, the one where the secretive board of VW bosses decided their future direction lay down the road signposted “Electric Vehicles”. They’ve hired Christian Senger from VW technology supplier Continental, where he was involved in the development of electric vehicle systems and autonomous-driving technology, to lead the charge. The message is clear. The mistakes of VW’s diesel-engined past will be fixed by reconfiguring their product lines around electric power.

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I wish I’d been in that meeting #2 – Top Gear

I wish I’d been in that meeting…

Imagine what sort of grim circumstances would drive a top TV executive, placed in charge of a hugely successful global TV franchise like Top Gear, to walk out just a couple of months before the new series is due to air. Got to be serious, right? When you consider the relationship between the public broadcaster and its lucrative subsidiary BBC Worldwide, and the complex bundle of licensing deals and spin off products that Top Gear has become… well, the whole thing looks a bit Lehman Bros.

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I wish I’d been in that meeting #1- “Phone Shop Idol”

I wish I’d been in that meeting…

What sort of thinking would shape the commissioning of a six-part documentary series for the 10pm Tuesday evening slot on BBC2? It’s a tricky slot to fill. It has traditionally belonged to light entertainment (cheap TV filler). But the problem for BBC 2 is, it’s not that cheap anymore. The popular smug trivia show Q.I. fills that slot, and Stephen Fry ain’t cheap. Russell Howard too, and there’s wage inflation competition from Comedy Central for the likes of him. The rest of the week it’s populated with generic comedy celeb panel games, but even cheap celebs start to get pricey when there’s three each side plus the host. And a live studio audience. Clearly, in the age of austerity, a memo has been passed around BBC 2 to make deep cuts… and so we have Phone Shop Idol.

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Internship opportunity with Renegade Inc.

We are looking for an intern with design and social media skills, the right person would want to gain experience in the development and launch of an independent media platform. The internship will be full time (although we can work out flexible working hours) and will last 12-16 weeks. It will be from our studio in West London and we will cover travel expenses and lunch.

If you are interested in this opportunity or for more information tweet us @Renegade_Inc or send your CV to olivia@renegadeinc.com.

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Waiting for the Death of the ‘Human Capital’ Driven Economy

Ever since the financial crisis of 2008, one thing has taken centre stage when it comes to economic recovery: job creation.

It is under this banner that governments were able to justify multi-billion dollar bailout grants while imposing austerity measures and cutting interest rates. This, they believed, was the only way the economic cycle could be saved.

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Shopping

Peak Stuff and The Shift to Thrift

The headlong rush into economic progress has made almost everyone in developed nations happy, healthy and contented.

Consumerism has delivered all the stuff that everybody needs to be free.

The barometer for this universal satisfaction is the burgeoning global self-storage market.

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Meet the Renegades with Donald Reeves

It is not often you hear of a priest who worried the former British Prime Minister dubbed ‘The Iron Lady’. Margret Thatcher called Donald Reeves a ‘very dangerous man’ due to his support of the oppressed and his refusal to see foreign policy in terms of black and white.

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Linked In: Are we done yet? Yes, but nobody gives a shit.

We’ve all been that person who tries to start a conversation with a bunch of strangers out of extreme social anxiety at being in a confined space with a load of similarly anxious people in close proximity, like a lift or a sauna. Never works, does it? Linked In is a bit like that.

Except Linked In people hand out business cards in lifts and saunas. They don’t converse or comment, just respond to everything by giving you their details and a link to their CV. It’s the unspoken rule. “Shhhh, just look at where I went to uni and update your contacts with my new email…” is all they say.

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Meet the Renegades Andrew Walker

In this episode of Meet the Renegades he talks about where next for the internet, how entrepreneurship has been hijacked and who is ripe for the next wave of disruption.

Meet the Renegades Steve Keen

Steve Keen is one of very few economists globally who perfectly predicted the 2008 financial crisis. More recently he also predicted the Chinese economic downturn and deflation in Europe. How does he keep getting these predictions correct? The secret is to look at the elements of the economy that all mainstream economists deliberately ignore.

There is something extraordinary happening in the world

Most of us haven’t quite realized there is something extraordinary happening.

A few months ago I freed myself from standard-procedure society, I broke the chains of fear that kept me locked up into the system. Since then, I see the world from a different perspective: the one that everything is going through change and that most of us are unware of that.

Why is the world changing? In this post I’ll point out the 8 reasons that lead me to believe it.

Meet the Renegades with Eliane Glaser

Eliane Glaser is a Guardian writer, a lecturer and broadcaster. Her interest in ideology and propaganda has led her to critique the current faltering economic system.

In this episode of Meet the Renegades she explores how work is changing, how politics has been hijacked and how we can adapt to the new world. Hint: tech won’t solve everything.

“You have this kind of astroturf politics – a fake grass roots politics. You pretend to be on the side of the working man even though you’re a financial elite or you’re benefiting financial elites. And it’s this politics of disguise, the fake authentic politics where you say ‘we’re with you the hardworking people’ – but actually your interests are not at all aligned. ”

Her most recent book ‘Get Real – How to See Through the Hype, Spin and Lies of Modern Life’ is about how (almost) everything is now fake. In it she busts the jargon, unravels the spin and reveals the secrets behind modern life that we’re not really supposed to know.

10 Steps to Support Your Child’s Early Learning

The Ten-Step Parent Guide to Supporting You Child’s Learning in the Early Years.

It’s so easy to be educated but not really know anything. The system is set up for compliance so we do well in it by ‘doing what we’re told and doing it to the best of our abilities’.

For some people that’s their entire life – but some discover there is more to it than that and do something about it.

Commoditisation and the Destruction of Education

Private institutions who sell education as a commodity for profit are putting their interests above that of children. This corrosive shift is not what children, teachers or the world needs. Economist Prabhat Patnaik explains how real education is being deconstructed.

Thinking Differently with Roger Mavity

Ross Ashcroft speaks with Roger Mavity – former chief executive of The Conran Group and author of The Rule Breakers Book of Business – about idea that success at work is much more likely to be achieved if we are happy and confident in what we do. HINT: it’s only by ignoring the conventional wisdom.

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The entrenchment of liberalism

The night has been lit up with the red white and blue of the French flag, which, projected on landmarks across the occident, showed solidarity after coordinated terrorist attacks left at least 129 civilians of all faiths, religions, and ethnicities, dead. This solidarity was reverberated across social media sites, but it was not the lone voice. Many added to this feeling of despair and horror by asking “what about us?” recounting similar incidents of national suffering in Lebanon, Turkey, and Afghanistan.

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God, gold, and glory

The late fourteen hundreds saw the scramble of enlightened countries towards conquest of what was once known as “the new world”. Fuelled by the righteous notion under the banner of religion – God, Europe was to civilise the native populations of these new found territories.

To fund this conquest, gold was needed, gold to pay for ships, armies, and most importantly to enable the fast advance into, and claims of new territories away from the scorched battlefields of Europe. With these advances, the flags of European countries would claim glory back home, supremacy and exceptionalism over other nations and civilisations.

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Meet the Renegades with Darren Coffield

Darren Coffield is an artist and writer who feels the art world (read art industry) has become so commercialised that it now exists only to serve the collector, the speculator and the market.

In this episode of Meet the Renegades, Darren lifts the lid on how contemporary artists actually become famous and how ‘the market’ has created the art ‘industry.’

“The idea of originality which was a great point of modernism, of modern design; the idea of being original, of being true to yourself that’s completely gone out the window because you’re now into commodification of things.”

He explains that authenticity and originality have been stifled and extreme gentrification has pushed many artists to survive on margin of society.

Fog of war

Robert McNamara’s 11 lessons from Vietnam

From Robert McNamara’s 1995 book “In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam”

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In Change We Trust

As the lifespan of every company shortens, paying lip service to change is dangerous and following the herd can be fatal. 

I’ve recently been working with a few mature established companies on how to survive and thrive in an age of digitally-driven disruption and I’m struck by how often the initial response is that the “disruptive-age” sounds a bit far off in the future.

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Meet the Renegades Bonus – John Lanchester on the London Housing Crisis

In this bonus sequence from our Meet the Renegades show, writer John Lanchester talks about the London housing crisis, it’s social impacts and it’s consequences for ordinary citizens who can no longer afford to live in their capital city.

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Meet the Renegades – Martin Sandbu

In this episode of Meet The Renegades we speak to economics writer Martin Sandbu from the Financial Times.

His recently released book ‘Europe’s Orphan: The Future of the Euro and the Politics of Debt’ attacks the current thinking of what politicians and policy makers in Brussels and Frankfurt consider to be self-evident.

Meet the Renegades – John Lanchester

n our next episode of Meet the Renegades, we talk with writer John Lanchester.

We discuss how to navigate many of the challenges society faces today.

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Red Queen

“Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.”

So said the Red Queen to Alice when describing the nature of Looking Glass Land and it should be heeded by us, here, in Glass Tower Land.

The “Red Queen Hypothesis”, coined by an evolutionary scientist, describes the phenomenon “that organisms must constantly adapt, evolve, and proliferate not merely to gain reproductive advantage, but also simply to survive while pitted against ever-evolving opposing organisms in an ever-changing environment.”

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An update from Renegade Inc. HQ

It’s been about sixteen weeks since we closed our successful crowd-funding round, which many of you generously supported. Since then we have been busy at HQ creating the new Renegade Inc. platform. We have also been filming a new series of Meet the Renegades and meeting possible funding partners.

Thinking Differently with Hugh MacLeod

Where do ideas come from? What motivates people?

In this Thinking Differently podcast, Ross Ashcroft talks to cartoonist, creative entrepreneur and co-founder of GapingVoid Hugh MacLeod.

“When you have a great idea, nobody else can tell you whether it’s good or not. Only time will tell.”

Hugh’s best selling book Ignore Everybody has inspired many to take the leap and trust their ideas. He left advertising and began what is now a international career as a cartoonist. But where do ideas come from? And what motivates people to break out and do things differently?

Over 20minutes Hugh shares his views on what it takes to build an ‘overnight success’. He talks about his career and work to date and why we should all question our current notion of what it is to be ‘successful’.

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Meet the Renegades – Christian Felber

On this episode of Meet the Renegades, Ross Ashcroft welcomes Christian Felber – author, lecturer and founder of the Economy for the Common Good.

From Aristotle to Adam Smith economics was a school of thought based on Natural Laws and philosophy. How come we have strayed so far from our roots? What really has the Mont Pelerin Society got to do with Reaganomics and Thatcherism?

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Meet the Renegades – Ian Gilbert

In this Meet the Renegades, Ross Ashcroft speaks to writer and educator Ian Gilbert. They discuss the faltering education system in developed nations and how it is affecting a generation of children.

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Can Central Banks Bail Out The Economy Next Time Around?

There are vast numbers of Zombie companies out there who are paying off nominal interest payments on huge debts in order to keep the lights on.

“Zombie Company” is a media term for a company that needs constant bailouts in order to operate, or an indebted company that is able to repay the interest on its debts but not reduce its debts…Wikipedia

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Meet The Renegades – Anat Admati

Ross Ashcroft speaks to Anat Admati, Finance and Economics professor at Stanford School of Business. She is author of The Bankers’ New Clothes and gives a truthful view into the banking sector and the damage it has caused to the real economy.

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David Graeber: What the government doesn’t want you to know about debt

David Graeber, anthropologist and author of Debt: The First 5000 years, explains in this ‘Comment is Free’ video that ‘if the government balances its books, it becomes impossible for the private sector to do the same. And, he claims, this inevitable debt often gets landed on those in society least able to pay it back’.

Thinking Differently with Lord David Puttnam (Pt 2)

In the first episode of our new podcast series Thinking Differently, Ross Ashcroft speaks to Oscar winning filmmaker, Lord David Puttnam.

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Over-managed & under-led

The language we use is telling. We don’t ever ‘lead decline’ or ‘manage success’. We do the opposite – we ‘manage’ decline and ‘lead’ any success.

In business it’s binary – you’re doing one or the other. If you are in a corporate structure the likelihood is you are managing decline. If you have opted for the autonomy to write your own rules then you have more of a chance to lead a success.

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Thinking Differently with Lord David Puttnam (Pt 1)

In the first episode of our new podcast series Thinking Differently, Ross Ashcroft speaks to Oscar winning filmmaker and educator Lord David Puttnam.

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Taxation

Currently we are taxed on what we produce, perhaps it would be more progressive to tax land instead of our labour?

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Where were you when VW died?

I was sitting in Fernandez and Wells, Somerset House, London.

Both Liz (the person I had come to meet) and I were rendered speechless: how could VW have allowed, no willed, this to happen?

It’s known that car companies fiddle with their emissions testing by retuning engines etc but to create a piece of software specifically to cheat the authorities is premeditated fraud. I felt personally betrayed.

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How Business School killed Innovation

Which it did, according to Clay Christensen, the author of The Innovator’s Dilemma and the Grand Daddy of the innovation field.

Speaking at the RSA, Professor Christensen defined his views on innovation in compellingly simplistic terms and laid the blame of what went wrong firmly at the feet of the MBA schools prioritisation of the accumulation of capital above all else.

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A Social Dividend, a fair share for all?

The wealth and income gap between the top 1% and the remaining 99% in the UK, and across much of the western world, is on the increase and showing no signs of slowing down. Many of us do not recognise any positive benefits from this misguided attitude forced upon us by the ruling elite, and we are lectured to like children that by making people richer at the top everyone else will eventually profit below them.

Indeed, many politicians base their entire strategy on this flawed logic without questioning its true effectiveness. They label it as “the trickle down effect”.

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Leland Miller Interview

From Camp Kotok in Maine, Ross Ashcroft speaks to Leland Miller, president of China Beige Book International. They discuss the current landscape of the Chinese economy as well as Miller’s predictions for the next 5 years.

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Matthew Tyrmand Interview

In this Renegade Inc. talk show at Camp Kotok in Maine, Ross Ashcroft speaks to Matt Tyrmand from the NGO American Transparency which focuses on government accountability. They discuss the mission of American Transparency’s ‘Open The Books’ project, the Free Market and the liberalisation of Poland’s economy.

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Barry Ritholtz Interview

At Camp Kotok in Maine, USA, Ross Ashcroft speaks to author, columnist, equities analyst and CIO of Ritholtz Wealth Management, Barry Ritholtz. They discuss the Fed, recessions, the Chinese Equity Bubble, Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke.

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One has a job for life.

Why do we celebrate one person’s right to a job for life when they never interviewed for the position asks Matthew Lacey.

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David Kotok Interview

Ross Ashcroft speaks to David Kotok, founder of Camp Kotok, in Maine, and Chairman and Chief Investment Officer of Cumberland Advisors. They discuss the origins and purpose of Camp Kotok, the global economy, the Fed and US private debt levels.

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People who think differently

Despite their bed-hopping antics, the most important legacy of the Bloomsbury Group is what can be achieved by people who are prepared to challenge convention in pursuit of a better world, argues Mark Braund.

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The War on Terror

How much of U.S. foreign policy is genuinely altruistic? In this extract from the documentary Four Horsemen, we explore how much the war on terror is actually influenced by banks and corporations that profit so from it.

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Trickle Down Economics

In this extract from the documentary Four Horsemen, some of the world’s leading economists discuss the myth of trickle down economics.

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Exclusion and its consequences

Make no mistake, the purposeful exclusion of growing numbers from economic activity is an integral aspect of the economic system. The argument that there is no alternative to current arrangements carries with it an explicit acceptance that economic ‘realities’ make full employment impossible. This is utter nonsense, yet without fundamental change, exclusion will only get worse. The technology that should be delivering more comfortable lives and increased leisure time is instead accelerating the process of exclusion.

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How To Be Self-Employed In The “Big Society”

Making a job, not taking a job means so much more than simply turning your back on employment and setting up on your own. It is more a way of life, a new distinctive multiple income stream lifestyle. It requires a new way of thinking, and not relying on big business or government to put our best interests first.

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Elite power and unearned wealth

By now you may have noticed a common theme in these descriptions of how the banking sector and the financial markets make money: they do so not by creating real wealth but by manipulating a virtual-money economy. They can only do this because the banks are able to create money at will. This would be fine if they were dealing in matchsticks or Monopoly money, but they are dealing in the same money that is essential to the process of creating real wealth.

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Fractional reserve banking

Fractional reserve banking began in Britain in the early days of gold and silver coinage, when people would deposit their coins with goldsmiths for safekeeping. The goldsmith issued a certificate with which the depositor could redeem his gold at a later date. These early bankers soon noticed that their certificates of deposit were being used as a method of payment. Why make a trip to the goldsmith when market stallholders were happy to accept a piece of paper as payment?

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Not all businesses are the same

We need a more sophisticated debate about business and how it impacts on wider society, writes Mark Braund.

Meet the Renegades: Hugh MacLeod

Ross Ashcroft speaks to cartoonist and creative entrepreneur Hugh MacLeod in this extract from our most recent ‘Meet the Renegades’ podcast.

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It’s economics, stupid.

In 2008 the Queen asked Luis Garicano, an economics professor at The London School of Economics, why nobody saw the global financial crisis coming. He was unable to answer her question. Is there a collective noun for economists? A dither would be appropriate, or perhaps a hindsight – but certainly not a vision. How is it that a handful of economists could see that the global economy was headed for the rocks while most remained blissfully unaware? How did the discipline of economics become so unfit for purpose?

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Thank You

A big thank you for supporting our crowdfunding campaign

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Sixty Seconds Sense with Pete Johansson – For-profit prisons

How can we begin to reduce crime if corporations profit from having full jails?

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A Modern Greek Tragedy: A Warning to Others?

Looking at the terms of the Greek bailout one thing is abundantly clear: this is not only a heartless deal, but a brainless one as well. The IMF – no tooth fairy themselves, as the Nigerian Seun Kuti’s song IMF makes clear – have signaled that they think the current Greek debt will never be repaid and would benefit from a partial write off, along with some ‘reforms’ that would see pensions slashed further and the retirement age pushed upwards. Sadly this program, austere in of itself, is not sufficient for those within the German Government and the EU who will accept no suggestion of a debt write off whatsoever.

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The Corbyn Effect

Anyone who believes in the possibility of a better world should support Labour leadership hopeful Jeremy Corbyn, even if they’re not convinced by his traditional left-wing agenda, argues Mark Braund.

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Will Greece Ever Be Free From Its Creditors?

Can Greece ever pay off its debts, adopt a German economic mindset and stay in the euro?

Since 2010 we have been gripped by the shenanigans being played out by major governments across the euro area. We all know Greece is in a catastrophic situation and its people are being shattered for a state of affairs that was not their fault. The debt is truly colossal, too immense to describe, but nevertheless I’m going to try and throw a bit of perspective on things.

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Money and Wealth

Most people equate money with wealth, but in economic terms money and wealth are quite separate things. Wealth can be defined as those goods and services which are essential to wellbeing, along with others which enhance our experience of life. Money can be used to acquire such wealth, but of itself money is not wealth. This is a crucial distinction, but one about which neo-classical economics has very little to say.

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Retail shock therapy

When the worst rioting in a generation hit the streets of English cities last summer, politicians and pundits rushed to apportion blame. Many of the rioters, we were told, were previously convicted criminals and most were gang members. None had any respect for the law; all were pretty much beyond redemption.

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Roman Krznaric on C.P. Ellis

Roman Krznaric, author of ‘Empathy: Why it matters and how to get it”, tells us the story of C. P. Ellis, the Klansman turned civil rights activist.

Meet the Renegades – Lord David Puttnam (Part 1)

Oscar winning filmmaker and educator Lord David Puttnam is one of the guests on our ‘Meet the Renegades’ podcast series.
His career and life have been defined by thinking differently. This short extract from a longer interview gives an insight into his life and his thinking.
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Climate Change

Even people who do not believe that climate change is man made must see that our fragile environment is getting a battering from current economic arrangements. In a hyper-competitive economy, where mega-corporations chase short-term profits, something always gets exploited. Without systemic change, there is no chance of cooperation to achieve mutually beneficial solutions to the problems of resource depletion and climate change. Progress could quickly be made if the economic context and business incentives were to be altered.

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Make a Job Not Take a Job.

News stories of peak self employment have given many commentators the false impression that the trend for working as a sole trader, or in a business with less than 10 employees is “returning to the norm” of big business employment domination. If you looked at the numbers and percentages from the 2008 crash through to today you would most likely agree, or at least see some evidence to support it.

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Minority excess versus universal security

The material benefits of a perpetually expanding economy have reached remarkably few people, despite the speed with which mainstream economic thinking has penetrated all corners of the planet. Even in rich countries, long-term economic security remains a minority privilege. Globalization has succeeded only in persuading nearly everybody (wherever they live) that they should aspire to the levels of consumption enjoyed by a minority of westerners. This is an impossible goal.

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Keep calm and carry on consuming

Critics of the current economic system condemn our modern-day ‘culture of consumption’. If we measure progress over the course of our lives purely by increased consumption, they say, or if all that motivates us to get out of bed in the morning is the thought of consuming, then not only will happiness elude us but humankind will quickly devour all the planet’s resources.

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Markets and Power

Our life prospects and our capacity to secure the wealth we need to survive and flourish are determined by the amount of economic power we each bring to the table. Currently the distribution of such power is extremely unequal. There are many reasons for this, some historical, some a consequence of different genetic attributes and some to do with the quality of environmental inputs when we are young. But these pre-existing differences in economic power are reinforced and exacerbated by a system which assumes they don’t exist. There is nothing wrong with the market mechanism, but if the inputs into it are grossly unequal because a few people have disproportionate economic power, then the outputs will be similarly unequal and many will be left in poverty.

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Brave New World

Before we can build a brave new world, we have to acknowledge the depth of the current crisis. It’s tempting to trace today’s problems back to the financial meltdown of 2008, but that was the final act in a drawn-out drama of decline. The world was in bad shape long before 2008. If we can identify the root causes of the collapse of historical civilizations, and then find ways to break the cycle, progress will be possible. It isn’t a question of returning to some far-off golden age when all was well – no such time ever existed. Nor should we kid ourselves that we are a few short steps from Utopia. Our brave new world will remain a work in progress. Human beings are too complicated, and society too complex, for us quickly to reform our way to a world where all is peace and harmony. But we can start to identify the obstacles to progress and work to dismantle them.

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The Ages of Empires

The West has not yet come to terms with it’s fading supremacy…

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Where did it all go so wrong?

The pursuit by individuals of limitless material prosperity – regardless of the consequences for others – has become the basis of all economic activity. Yet even those who succeed are rarely satisfied; they always want more. Their only means of achieving more is to deny the means to greater prosperity to those who have less. But even the super-rich seem unhappy with the outcome.

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Empires old and new

In the ancient world, empire building usually entailed the territorial conquest of one self-identifying group by another. Typically it involved exploitation based on racial or cultural differences, often justified by religious belief. But it was economics, not religion, that was the principal driving force, especially the desire to control more land. Land was the prerequisite for wealth creation in pre-technological times.

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Professor Michael Hudson – The German Debt Jubilee

In this extract from the documentary Four Horsemen, Professor Michael Hudson explains how the German Debt was cancelled in 1947.

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The Financial System

Changes to the monetary and taxation systems will provide mechanisms for curtailing two of the three forms of unearned wealth that drive much of the injustice and exclusion that blights today’s world.

Changes to the financial system will be necessary to address the third: gains from speculative investment. Speculative investment takes real wealth from those who create it, and drives the expansion of the money supply.

The objective of the financial system should be to act as intermediary between people with savings and those who seek funds for investment. Under the monetary reforms outlined above, the financial system would also have a role to play in the distribution of newly issued money to those in need of investment funds.

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Competition versus cooperation

Supporters of the current free-market economy argue that competition among producers ensures efficiency and keeps prices as low as possible. This argument sounds reasonable in theory, but in practice it delivers the kind of race-to-the-bottom economy which sidelines workers and delivers much of the productive economy into the hands of a minority. Basing economic progress on competitive behaviour driven by fear and insecurity is an archaic way of organizing society. It’s an approach that assumes no advance in morals since the middle ages. It helps explain why psychopaths and people with other personality disorders are over-represented among business leaders.

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Too big to fail or too big to bail?

Since the crash, taxpayers’ money has been used to bail out failing banks because they are perceived to be too big to fail. Are they too big to fail? Or should we be asking a different question: aren’t these banks too big to bail out? Firms in any other sector would be left to go to the wall, but, because governments have allowed the provision of credit to become a business, they now have to step in when the banking system is unable to meet the needs of the economy. What would be the consequences if they were left to their fate?

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Good money, bad money

Generally, loans are made (and money is created) for one of three purposes:

  • to fund direct investment in the creation of new tangible wealth;
  • to fund investments in financial markets and ‘products’ which have no direct link to the creation of real wealth; or,
  • to fund the consumption of goods and services.

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Hope is not enough

If people feel alienated when they are denied access to decent economic opportunities, then it must be the case that an inclusive economy would have the opposite effect. Fewer people would be inclined to indulge in antisocial behaviour or wanton acts of violence, or to express themselves through the destruction of other people’s property, if they were able to create some meaning and purpose in their lives. The one essential prerequisite to a meaningful life is work, even if that meaning is not derived directly from the particular job you do. Whether it’s rioting on the streets of one of the world’s richest cities, or hatching terrorist plots in marginal lands, it’s a universal truth that virtually all modern-day social violence is driven by economic exclusion.

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A debt that can’t be paid won’t be

Although the current crisis is possibly the most serious and complex in human history, it follows a pattern that has existed since ancient times. The rulers of early civilizations, like that in Mesopotamia, had wiser solutions than today’s politicians. When the landless and other dispossessed people in these ancient societies ran up unsustainable levels of debt which threatened widespread economic ruin, they bit the bullet and tackled the problem head on. The authorities periodically made clean-slate proclamations: all debts were written off. This had the effect of resetting the economy to its original condition. Money lenders would suffer a nominal loss of wealth, but because things had become so out of kilter they understood they weren’t going to get their money back anyway. It was accepted that such debt jubilees were the only way out of crisis.

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Four Horsemen Reading List

The following books have inspired our thinking for the Four Horsemen film and our Survival Manual book.

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Roman Krznaric- 3 Ways to Make Your Life More Empathic

In a clip from our interview with Roman Krznaric, he tells us three ways in which we can all make our lives more empathic.

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Sixty Seconds Sense with Pete Johansson – NRA

The problem with gun ownership is where the money is being made.

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Kickstarter Campaign

Our Kickstarter campaign is now live! Please support us at http://bit.ly/RenegadeInc-KS

Ross Ashcroft: Economics and Europe

Kim Hill from Radio New Zealand discusses Greece, austerity and Europe’s future with Ross Ashcroft on her Saturday Morning show.

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Harold Crooks and John Christensen Interview – Part 2

Harold Crooks, Director of “The Price We Pay” and John Christensen, Director and Co-founder of Tax Justice Network discuss the Robin Hood tax, the capture of the political class by the financial industry and the hope that lies in civil society’s intensifying fight for tax justice in the second half of this interview series.

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Harold Crooks and John Christensen Interview – Part 1

Harold Crooks, Director of “The Price We Pay” and John Christensen, Director and Co-founder of Tax Justice Network come to the studio to talk about the ‘finance curse’, taxation and the sustainability of democracy in the first half of this interview series.

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Roman Krznaric on Empathy

Roman Krznaric, author of ‘Empathy: Why it matters and how to get it”, talks to us about empathy in the age of self interest.

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Try as he may, the Chancellor cannot “eliminate the deficit” – by Ann Pettifor

The Fabian Society invited Nicola Smith of the TUC, Dan Corry – once a Labour government adviser – and me to address their Summer Conference last Saturday. The theme: how can Labour restore its economic credibility with the electorate? The audience was large – about 300 earnest, well-informed and assertive Fabians. The discussion was lively, with a buzz, as the session immediately following was to be a hustings for Labour leadership candidates.

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Sixty Seconds Sense- The “Migrant Crisis”

Comedian Pete Johansson is back to put some perspective on the “Migrant Crisis” in 60 seconds or less.

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Cultural conflict or economic apartheid?

The chances of reducing the number of lives ruined by war and other forms of social violence depend on our ability to identify the root causes. Terrorist acts, the retaliatory war against terror, civil wars in desperately poor countries, and the violent civil unrest which is an increasing feature in rich and poor worlds; all bring loss of life, destruction of property and the ruination of economic infrastructure. They also inflict hardship on many who escape their direct effects.

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Introducing Cohort C

When you were born is irrelevant – how a mixed cohort now thinks — is about to change everything.

When making the film Four Horsemen we regularly heard a glib reservation about our efforts: “you will never get young people interested in business and economics”. We ignored this. How do you define ‘young people?’ Why are we just speaking to ‘young people?’ Are business and economics the preserve of people who are ‘older?’ Hubris and youth obsession are lethal especially when you examine what has happened over the last twenty five years.

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It’s the media, stupid

“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”  Malcolm X

So most of the UK is still reeling from a ‘shock’ election result. The pollsters, the media, the soundbites… nobody saw it coming. Except it wasn’t a shock – in 86 years we’ve only seen one election-winning PM have a single term in office. In about 200 years we’ve only seen two formal coalitions – the last coalition was a blip, not a trend.

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Enter your email in the top left corner to get Renegade Inc updates, including information about our upcoming projects and our crowd funding campaign.

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Land and Housing

Everyone has a basic right to shelter, which they should be able to call home. A home should not be an investment but a place to live. The economy can be positively reconfigured to enable this outcome, as long as we can move away from the destructive emotional propaganda and false assumptions that surround the housing market.

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Ann Pettifor: How to Start an Economic Movement

Ross Ashcroft interviews Ann Pettifor director of Policy Research in Macroeconomics, PRIME and fellow at New Economics Foundation. They discuss Ann’s 2003 prediction of the 2007 financial crisis, her Jubilee 2000 campaign and Private Debt and the issues surrounding it. This is an extract from the Renegade Economist Talk Show.

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Prof. Joseph Stiglitz – Banking Regulations

Prof. Stiglitz on who should really take the blame for the financial crisis.

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Global Coordination

Changes on the scale and complexity outlined in this book will require global coordination if they are to be effectively implemented. The power of vested interests within the financial system is so great that, were one or a small group of nations to attempt to implement such reforms, their economies would come under immediate attack from the financial markets.

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Steve Keen on Education

Steve Keen Interview – Part 5: The UK’s business like approach to education leaves very little room for innovation. How do we shift the focus from monitoring and testing to improving the teaching level and learning experience?

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Steve Keen on Pensions

Steve Keen Interview – Part 4: As we enter the age of volatility, what does this mean for our pensions?

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Roulette for the rich

In 1970, ninety per cent of financial flows were used to finance trade or investment in the real economy; only ten per cent was speculative. Today more than ninety-nine per cent is purely speculative and has nothing to do with the real economy. As Simon Johnson says, “Wall Street has become a very specific type of casino. Unfortunately it’s not the type they have in Las Vegas that is a legitimate form of entertainment. It’s a casino that has massive negative effects on the rest of society.”

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Commodity-backed money versus fiat money

The use of precious metals as money goes back nearly three thousand years. Until quite recently, gold and other metals (notably silver) were the basis of money in nearly all societies. But, as modernity took hold, money no longer took the exclusive form of gold and silver coinage. Instead, paper money and base metal coins were issued and their quantity was linked to gold at a fixed rate. This satisfied the requirement for money supply stability because the stock of gold is relatively fixed and can only increase by the amount of new gold mined from the earth.

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Fiat Money

How is it that we’ve ended up with a system in which banks have the power to create money? In this extract from Four Horsemen we explain what Fiat money is.

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Steve Keen on China

Steve Keen Interview – Part 3: A look into China’s private debt problem.

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War and Profit

Perhaps surprisingly, the term ‘military-industrial complex’ was coined by a former soldier. On the occasion of his farewell address to the nation after serving two terms in The White House, President Eisenhower warned Americans: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” What would he make of the situation today, where US economic success seems inextricably linked to the continued production of the machinery of war on a scale unimaginable in Eisenhower’s time?

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Steve Keen on the Fed & Bank of England

Steve Keen Interview – Part 2: Elaborating on the problems with austerity, Steve Keen explains how private debt really works.

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Steve Keen on the UK Elections

Steve Keen Interview – Part 1: In the aftermath of the Conservatives’ surprise victory in the UK, Steve Keen tells us why he thinks this is a good thing: when the economy inevitably under-performs under strong austerity, with no one left to blame we will have to face the facts…

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Education

Recently we were told about a secret project. A group of wealthy benefactors decided that the modern targets based education wasn’t for them or their kids. They decided to open a new school. It was to have a holistic approach to education geared toward student centric learning not toward Ofsted high jumps central bureaucracy, teacher’s egos or other mindless measurements. The consortium bought land and quicklybuilt the school. They hired best and teachers and provided the finest meals and accommodation. As the first day of approached and the curriculum had been set the builders were putting the finishing touches to the campus.

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Media and the Creation of Apathy

The cognitive map that has been put in place by our schools, universities and our media does not encourage us to question accepted norms… instead there is apathy.

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The Role of the Media

Apart from supine politicians, the greatest friends of the elite are those who control much of the mass media. The elite have proved exceptionally adept at persuading politicians, with whom they share a desire for power, that their interests also coincide. They are less good at persuading the mass of ordinary people of the benefits of elite power. They leave that task to their chums in the media, who follow a depressing but quite successful strategy to confuse, confound, divide and disempower their audience.

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The psychology of terrorist involvement

The principal factor driving people to get involved in terrorism is a strong sense of injustice, both at a personal level and in respect of their society. An accompanying sense of alienation convinces them they’re no longer bound by social and moral norms. The absence of any hope for the future leaves them with a ‘nothing to lose’ mentality. These factors are driven almost totally by poor economic conditions. There can be no doubt that poverty and economic exclusion create a fertile breeding ground for terrorists.

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The 27 Principles

The following list is neither definitive nor exhaustive, but it summarises the main points of the book and is provided here as a starting point for further discussion. Creating a set of principles on which to base a successful process of global political and economic change has to be a collaborative project.

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The Real Looting of Baltimore

Why don’t we look at the root causes of the Baltimore riots…?

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No Fools Left

Freddie Gray’s death was the last straw for the victims of a corrupt financial system that has left tens of thousands of people with no work and no homes. This excerpt from ‘Four Horsemen -The Survival Manual’ gives context to the riots in Baltimore by explaining some of the broader issues at hand.

It is not possible for any thinking person to live in such a society as our own without wanting to change it.

George Orwell

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Socialism for the Rich – Capitalism for Everyone Else

The wider public is depressingly disinterested in the workings of the economy; nowhere is this more evident than in their ignorance of the monetary system. If more people understood the means by which banks create money, the way it swells the coffers of the already wealthy, and the destabilising effect it has on the real economy, then surely there would be a outcry of Murdochian proportions.

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When The Herd Turns

Current best practices in risk management work only when correlations are stable. At turning points historical relationships between assets breakdown. The only way to effectively anticipate future risk factors is by understanding root macroeconomic causes.

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Table Top Tycoons – Chrystina Schmidt

Renegade Tycoons is the show that meets business owners, business leaders and entrepreneurs. Chrystina Schmidt is co-founder and creative director of Scandium, London’s leading Scandinavian designer home store.

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Speculate, Accumulate and Derail the Economy

As a way of securing wealth without engaging in real economic activity – the act of combining land, labour and capital to create something with exchange value in the market place – it’s been around almost as long as land rent. But unlike rent, the gains enjoyed by speculative investors arise not as a side-effect of legitimate economic activity, but as a result of a conscious effort by people with spare cash to subvert the natural workings of the economy. Speculative investment reduces the ability of the economy to meet it’s primary objective: enabling everyone to satisfy their basic needs through a process of mutual exchange.

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Four Horsemen

The Four Horsemen are Coming

Since they first appeared in the New Testament, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse have ridden roughshod into the consciousness of every generation. They remain a potent symbol in popular culture. But, as a judgment on the failings of human beings, and as a warning to put our collective house in order, they’ve had remarkably little effect.

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Renegade Economist Talkshow: The American Dream

In this latest show Renegade Economist host Ross Ashcroft talks with Larry Lamb, George Lamb and Roger Mavity about todays relevance of the American Dream with Andrew Walker providing the data insights.

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Tarek El Diwany – Trickle Down Economics

Tarek El Diwany on the flawed concept of trickle-down economics.

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Producers vs. Predators

Ed Milliband’s conference speech in Liverpool (2011) was typical of any populist career politician. The central theme was “I’m different so you can trust me with the big economic decisions”.

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Renegade Thinking

The Ashcroft Interviews: Money, Blood & Revolution

Ross Ashcroft talks to George Cooper, author of Money, Blood & Revolution. 

In the book he suggests that the economics profession is itself in a state of crisis. It needs the kind of shift in thinking that Copernicus brought to astronomy, or Charles Darwin to biology.

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Camila Batmanghelidjh – Individualism

Camilla Batmanghelidjh on how we are losing our sense of community by turning the individual into a product.

What we have ignored is what citizens can do with the importance of real involvement - versus just having somebody in Washington make a rule.

Elinor Ostrom

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Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson – The Declining Standard of Living

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson explains that for the first time in history the standard of living is in decline.

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Dr Ha-Joon Chang – Free Markets

Dr Ha-Joon Chang explains why there really isn’t any such thing as a free market.

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Four Horsemen – Official Trailer I

We will not return to ‘business as usual’. The Four Horsemen is an independent feature documentary from us which lifts the lid on how the world really works.

At issue is who shall rule the world: the emerging 1% as a financial oligarchy, or elected governments. The two sets of aims are antithetical: rising living standards & national independence, or a renting economy, austerity & international dependency.

Michael Hudson

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Prof. Richard Wilkinson – The Origin of Violence

Professor Richard Wilkinson talks to us about social violence – It’s not just a case of the poor attacking the rich.

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Gillian Tett – The Banking Sector

What is the fall-out from a financial industry now so detached from the rest of society?

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Four Horsemen – The Survival Manual

Many people instinctively know that something is seriously wrong with the economy. Long before the historic events of 2008 things were far from good, especially for the half of the world’s people for whom the ‘economic miracle’ of the preceding decade had brought no prosperity.

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Four Horsemen
SimonJohnsonDebtSlavery

Prof. Simon Johnson – Debt Slavery

Former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson on debt slavery and abuse of power.

Four Horsemen
KumarMoneyParadigm

Satish Kumar – The Money Paradigm

Satish Kumar, editor of Resurgence Magazine, argues that the exploitation of nature and humans is inbuilt in the nature of capitalism and socialism.

Renegade Economist
SteeveKeen

Renegade Economist Talk Show – In conversation with Prof Steve Keen

Ross Ashcroft from Renegade Economist speaks with Steve Keen whilst he was in London to launch his new book ‘ Debunking Economics: The Emperor Dethroned?’

Renegade Economist
MatthewWatson

Renegade Economist Talk Show – In conversation with Prof. Matthew Watson

Matthew Watson is Professor of Political Economy in the Department of Politics and International Studies at Warwick University.

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

Albert Einstein

Four Horsemen
TurkCentralBanking

James Turk – Central Banks

We ask James Turk if Government intervention in Central Banking is a help or hinderance to the free market.

Four Horsemen
NYSE-outside

A rapacious financial system: The Black Horse

Since the financial crisis that struck in 2008, the failings of the banking system have been laid bare for all to see. But, four years on, nobody has come up with an alternative and few acknowledge the extent of change required in banking and finance. A progressive banking system would ensure that there was enough investment in the real economy to create viable opportunities for everyone. It would not expose communities to the dreadful consequences of repeated economic crises. This book will attempt to outline such an alternative system and demonstrate how it could be implemented within a reasonable timescale.

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survivalfittest

Unbridled capitalism is bad for society

If there was a form of “conscious capitalism” in which care was extended to fellow humans, animals and the natural environment whether animate or inanimate, the question is could it be called capitalism at all?

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Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.

Groucho Marx

Four Horsemen

Four Horsemen – Feature Documentary – Official Version

Four Horsemen is an award winning independent feature documentary which lifts the lid on how the world really works.

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Four Horsemen
StiglitzPharmaIndustry

Prof. Joseph Stiglitz – The Pharma Industry

Prof. Josef Stiglitz discusses drug companies and pharmaceuticals.

Four Horsemen

Poverty: The White Horse

Since the advent of agriculture, and the realization by certain people that control over land is the surest route to political power, all human societies have been unequal. Most have been very unequal, but few have been as unequal as global society today. The real problem is not inequality per se, it is the methods that the elite uses to set itself apart. To create such inequality you have to deny viable economic opportunities to many people. Only an economy that condemns millions to inescapable poverty can deliver vast wealth to a few.

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When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men living together in this society, they create for themselves in the course of time a legal system that authorizes it and a moral code that glorifies it.

Frédéric Bastiat

Four Horsemen
ISIS FLAG-ISIS PROPAGANDA VIDEO_0

Organized violence and terrorism: The Red Horse

If the very workings of the economic system are denying people the opportunity to take responsibility for their own wellbeing, is it any wonder that a small number among the disenfranchised are drawn to terrorism?

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LandRent

Land Rent – the Genesis of the British Class System

Land rent is one of several sources of unearned wealth that bestow privileges on a minority of citizens while biasing the economy against the interests of the majority.

In classical economics, each of the three factors of production – land, labour and capital – earns a share of the wealth generated through enterprise: land earns rent, labour earns wages, and capital earns profit.

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Capitalism tries for a delicate balance: it attempts to work things out so that everyone gets just enough stuff to keep them from getting violent and trying to take other people's stuff.

George Carlin

Renegade Economist
hudson-ny

Renegade Economist Talkshow – US Special with Michael Hudson

The Renegade Economist goes to New York to hear Prof. Michael Hudson’s views on the state of the US Economy.

Four Horsemen
Sunset3

Environmental breakdown: The Green Horse

Poverty is blighting the lives of millions of people, and the environmental crisis is already making things worse. As with poverty, our failure to tackle the causes of climate change, and to ration the use of natural resources, are inevitable consequences of the way the economy is run. The problems of terrorism, poverty and the environment are all connected; they stem from a flawed economic system that nobody voted for.

Understanding why the economy is failing is key to unlocking the knowledge and power to do something about it. The situation we face is far from hopeless. As Satish Kumar says, “The crises we face today are created by humans and what is created by humans can be changed by humans, so we are all capable of transforming our world.”

- Excerpt from Four Horsemen – The Survival Manual

rand

The Dead Hand of Ayn Rand

Yesterday I picked up a copy of Animal Spirits by George A Akerlof and Robert J Shiller. In the preface to their book they discuss how Keynes’s General Theory included non-economic motivations and non-rational behaviours – the animal spirits of the title. But following the publication of the General Theory, Keynes’s followers began to root out the animal spirits, partly to facilitate quantitative versions of the theory and partly to make it more accessible to the old guard. But this left Keyne’s theory weakened, so much so that in the 1970’s a group of economists rooted the animal spirits out altogether.

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fountain

Is interest repayable?

They say things like: “If the total size of the money supply was fixed then there is no possible source of money for paying interest.” This may be followed by: “So this proves that the money supply is forced to increase forever, otherwise borrowers could never pay the money back.” They suspect that a proportion of borrowers must on aggregate, by definition be unable to repay the interest. This view is very widespread and has been stated in numerous popular articles and videos on YouTube.

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Renegade Thinking

The Ashcroft Interviews: Bankers on the Couch

Ross Ashcroft interviews Julia Noakes, author of the soon to be released book ‘Bankers on the Couch’.

Neo-classical models are neat, plausible, and wrong. The main reason that mainstream economics survived the challenge of the global financial crisis is not because of its strength, but because of it's irrelevance.

Steve Keen

Four Horsemen
Washington3

Power and Democracy

Haven’t we been here before? Three centuries ago philosophers began to address these questions in the movement known as the Enlightenment. Immanuel Kant described it as “Mankind’s final coming of age, the emancipation of the human consciousness from an immature state of ignorance and error.” But, while the Enlightenment succeeded in freeing human thought, it did not deliver a society in which the economic rights of all citizens were given equal weight.

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Four Horsemen
StiglitzourSociety

Prof. Joseph Stiglitz – Our Society

We shape the economy but the economy shapes us.

Four Horsemen
HudsonMortgage

Prof. Michael Hudson – A Mortgage You Can Never Repay

Michael Hudson recounts his personal experience with mortgages.

Four Horsemen
JohnPerkinsSameCrisis

John Perkins – We All Face The Same Crisis

The former economic hit-man explains why we are all in this together.

Four Horsemen
ChangNeoclassicaleconomics

Dr Ha-Joon Chang – Neo-classical Economics

Dr Ha-Joon Chang explains how we have developed a system of neoclassical economics and the power play which  brought us here.

Billion Dollar Bill

Debt is big business for banks, corporations and governments. Let Bill show you just how big…

A truly creative person can come up with better answers in half an hour than a month of mediocre researchers or marketers.

George Lios

EndofEmpire

The present era is not the first or last

Not so long ago communist China was not a player in international finance, neither was the then Soviet Union. Step a little further back in history and you will see that in fact the European age of material science, trade and production for trade in the 16th century AD started out as a blessed relief after a period of terror and exploitation by religious powers i.e. the Spanish inquisition in the century previous. Before this trade and economic activity was rudimentary without much social power.

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Four Horsemen
TarekOriginBanking

Tarek El Diwany – The Origin of Banking

Tarek El Diwany explains the beginning of manufactured money.

talent

‘Experts’ – the price everyone pays for Hidden Knowledge

There is an accepted view in politics and the media that roughly equates to this: a professional class of ‘experts’ are far better at commentary and analysis than someone with a genuine interest. Hubris killed almost all Greek mythical figures, and as John Kay reminds us in his excellent book ‘Obliquity’, attempting to solve problems head on is futile. But our media and professional classes are blinkered to such views.

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chartofdecade

Chart of the Decade

Since 1984 (surely an appropriate year) while the elderly have grown their wealth in nominal terms, the young are much worse off both in inflation-adjusted terms, as well as nominal terms(pretty hard to believe given that the money supply has expanded eightfold in the intervening years). So why are the elderly doing over fifty times better than the young when they were only doing ten times better before?

Look around. Oil companies guzzle down the billions in profits. Billionaires pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries, and Wall Street CEOs, the same ones that direct our economies and destroyed millions of jobs still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favours, and acting like we should thank them. Does anyone here have a problem with that?

Elizabeth Warren

thatcher

Keep what you make – let’s tax what you take

UK politics is dominated by middle England pre-occupations, there are vaguely hysterical fears of the UK having a ‘Depardieu moment’, and capital flight in case of higher income taxes- not to mention fears of ‘taxing aspiration’.  In part to sidestep these concerns calls are growing from radical quarters for Land Value Tax (LVT) which would be a tax on non-transferable (often inherited) wealth and assets rather than ‘hard earned’ income.   Even if the UK coalition recently ruled out a ‘mansion tax’ – it is a sign of the times and the growing public unease at the transfer of wealth from poor to rich (trickle-up more than trickle down) that the proposition is even on the agenda in Britain at all.  It’s time to challenge the neo-liberal hegemony.

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Four Horsemen
RicharldWilkisonReaganThatcher

Prof. Richard Wilkinson – Reagan and Thatcher

Prof. Richard Wilkinson discusses Reagan and Thatcher’s policies and how they contributed to the rise in income differences.

Four Horsemen
StiglitzGDPflawed

Prof Joseph Stiglitz – GDP is Flawed… Citizens want depth…

Prof Joseph Stiglitz explains why GDP is flawed and how to begin to change that…

A president is a high-level official who is elected to carry out a function. He is not a king, not a god. He is not the witch doctor of a tribe who knows everything. He is a civil servant. I think the ideal way of living is to live like the vast majority of people whom we attempt to serve and represent.

José 'Pepe' Mujica

Four Horsemen
SimonJohnsonRevolution

Simon Johnson – Starting a Revolution

We’ve been ripped off by the current system, so how do we start a revolution?

Four Horsemen
Class

The New Class System

Over centuries, systems have been subtly modified, manipulated and sometimes purposefully corrupted to better serve the interests of the few. Each time Enlightenment ideals have encouraged new policies to tip the balance in favour of the struggling majority, the vested interests of elite power have pushed back hard. Their biggest act of retaliation has come with the economic reforms of the last three decades, a reaction to the inclusive economic and social polices of western governments in the period after 1945. Ordinary people have had little option but to keep accepting these changes. Human beings can adjust to living under virtually any conditions, but the trait that has enabled us to survive is the very trait that has suppressed us. As ex-World Bank Senior Economist Herman Daly says, “People are awfully forgiving, or they just don’t understand what has been done to them.”

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Four Horsemen
SimonJohnsonGoldmanSachs

Prof. Simon Johnson – Goldman Sachs

Former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson discusses the leverage of Wall Street banks in Washington D.C.

Four Horsemen
MaxKeiserInterestRates

Max Keiser – Interest Rates

A former Wall Street trader discusses the risks of interest rates.

Four Horsemen
HugoPriceMonetisingSilver

Hugo Salinas Price – Monetising Silver

Hugo Salinas Price argues the benefits of a return to silver.

Four Horsemen
HufdsonNewFinancialFINAL

Prof. Michael Hudson – The New Financial Balance

Michael Hudson predicts the new financial balance by analysing the current situation of countries that are ahead of us in the curve.

martian

Plutocracy – it’s Alien to me Sir

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve used the words ‘elite’ and ‘minority’ in this series on unearned wealth, but I’m certainly not going to apologise for repeating myself: If visitors from Mars were to land anywhere on the planet today, they would quickly come to the conclusion that human society is deliberately arranged in the interests of one small section of the population.

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Four Horsemen
JohnPerkinsSecretEmpires

John Perkins – Secret Empires

John Perkins on how the real modern empire has been created. Have we really moved on from the Romans?

Four Horsemen
JohnPerkinsCorporations

John Perkins – Corporation

John Perkins on how corporations must operate in ways that serves future generations.

Four Horsemen
DavidMorganInflation

David Morgan – Inflation

David Morgan explain why he doesn’t believe the Western world will experience a hyperinflation.

Four Horsemen
DavidMorganEducation

David Morgan – Education

The revolution of alternative education is here. The question is, do we want to own more stuff… or own ourselves?

The things you own end up owning you.

Tyler Durden

Fifty Pounds

The money paradox

These arguments appear irreconcilable. So who is right? And how could there have been any doubt?

The reason the argument rages so often is that they are both right. The reason for this is quite subtle and not discussed at all in standard economics textbooks.

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Four Horsemen
GillianTettonUK

Gillian Tett – The United Kingdom

Gillian Tett discusses why Britain is in a very difficult position today.

The idea that society can set up a single "independent" committee of men to make far reaching decisions about the quantity of money needed by a nation of sixty four million people, all engaged in varied and complex activities - is bordering on authoritarian.

Ann Pettifor

Renegade Economist
MichaelHudsonHousingMarket

The Michael Hudson Series (Part 1) – The Housing Market

Prof. Michael Hudson gives a series on the global economic crisis. Views you will not get in the mainstream.

Renegade Economist
MichaelHudsonBailout

The Michael Hudson Series (Part 2) – The Bailout

Michael Hudson reveals the real motives behind the international bailout package.

Renegade Economist
michaelHudsonIncomeTax

The Michael Hudson Series (Part 3)– Income Tax

Michael Hudson address the economic issues that now face everyone.

Renegade Economist
CoOpFutures

Make a Job, Don’t Take a Job – Co-operative Futures Conference 2013

We now need to make a job not take a job. The co-operative structure is a wonderful solution to widespread unemployment

Renegade Economist
MichaelHudsoneconomicRent

The Michael Hudson Series (Part 4) – Economic Rent

Professor Michael Hudson talks about the importance of economic rent.

We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy.

Chris Hedges

Renegade Economist
TalkShowPakistan

Renegade Economist Talk Show – Pakistan Special: Truck Painting in Karachi

While in Pakistan the Renegade Economist investigates the intriguing world of truck painting in Karachi.

Positive Money

Renegade Economist Talk Show – Positive Money

We met Ben Dyson and Andrew Jackson from Positive Money. Listen to their proposals to reform the monetary system.

Four Horsemen
WriterDirectorFourHorsemen

Four Horsemen Writer / Director Ross Ashcroft

Ross Ashcroft talks about the Scandinavian reaction to the film.

Four Horsemen
Poster

Four Horsemen -Trailer Oficial en Español

No volveremos al negocio de siempre. Four Horsemen es un documental independiente que revela cómo funciona realmente el mundo.

Renegade Economist
Letsreflatehousing-bbulbbe

Let’s reflate the Housing Bubble…

Neo-liberal politicians want to re-inflate the housing bubble… is that wise?

Renegade Economist
NoMoreBusinessAsUsual

Ross Ashcroft – No More Business as Usual

Ross Ashcroft gives the 2012 keynote for the Renegade Economist Winter Series.

Four Horsemen
Book-Launch

Four Horsemen: The Survival Manual

Authors Mark Braund & Ross Ashcroft introduce the accompanying book to the film Four Horsemen.

Four Horsemen
LarryLohmanCapitalism

Larry Lohman – On Capitalism

A bonus feature from Larry Lohman.

Four Horsemen
FourHorsemenQ&A

Four Horsemen – Q&A

Four Horsemen Director Ross Ashcroft answers questions arising from the film.

Renegade Economist
TalkShowDavidMalone

Renegade Economist Talk Show – In Conversation with David Malone

David Malone is the author of The Debt Generation and also an independent filmmaker covering philosophy, science and religion. David is a fierce critic of the bank bailouts arguing that they have lead to massive cuts in public spending.

Renegade Economist
VanquishingMiddleMen

Vanquishing the Middle Men

This is the future of banking. Like during the 16th Reformation you either evolve or die. Watch why…

What we have been living for three decades is frontier capitalism, with the frontier constantly shifting location from crisis to crisis, moving on as soon as the law catches up.

Naomi Klein

Renegade Economist
TalkShowDaveTrott

Renegade Economist Talk Show – In Conversation with Dave Trott

Advertising man Dave Trott on predatory thinking and creativity.

the-economic-scam

The Economic Scam

The standard economic model is a brilliant piece of mathematics, winning Nobel Prizes for its originators Kenneth Arrow and Gerard Debreu. It proves how if we all set the right price on everything we value and trade them at these prices, we end up with an ‘equilibrium’. In this equilibrium nothing of value remains unused, so giving anything more to one person would mean taking it away from another.

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FinancialReformation

The Economic Reformation

So, what should economics be about? Well, that depends on your values and world view. If you believe that everyone should have an equal chance in life, and that currently they don’t, then you will support changes to the economy that promote the equal distribution of life chances. If you don’t care so much about equality of opportunity – or you think everyone already enjoys adequate life chances – then you’ll be less excited by prospects of a reformed economics that gives insights into how to build a more inclusive society.

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privatedebt

Private Sector Debt

It’s what’s left unsaid

All the talk from politicians, economists and even most journalists is of government debt to GDP ratios. All of the problems of the Eurozone can be solved by bringing down these ratios, or so they tell us. In the UK ours is about 80%. This is high but not disastrous. However what no one is talking about is household debt at 100% of GDP, and private sector debt at 450% of GDP. Let us briefly try to show why this is a much more serious problem.

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Four Horsemen
FourHorsemenPoster

Four Horsemen – Official Trailer II

The Four Horsemen is an independent feature documentary which lifts the lid on how the world really works

The main cause of trouble in the world is that the stupid are sure of themselves while the intelligent are full of doubt.

Bertrand Russell

Four Horsemen
obama-shhhh-600x300

It’s what’s left unsaid

As Gillian Tett of The Financial Times observes, “Most societies have an elite and the elite try to stay in power; and the way they stay in power is not merely by controlling the means of production, but by controlling the cognitive map, the way we think. And what really matters in that respect, is not so much what is actually said in public, but what is left undebated, unsaid.”

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Four Horsemen
Stiglitzinvisiblehand

Prof. Joseph Stiglitz – The Invisible Hand

Former World Bank chief economist Josef Stiglitz discusses the false assumptions of what leads to economic efficiency.

Capturing-LandValue1

Capturing the Value – the Land Question Part 1

Some people just care about practical or personal concerns, and value capture is just as relevant from this perspective. Through it we begin to replace income taxation with a straightforward, efficient, and non-invasive revenue source.

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Four Horsemen
KumarCyclicalEconomy

Satish Kumar – The Cyclical Economy

Satish Kumar, editor of Resurgence Magazine, explains why society would benefit from a cyclical economy rather than a linear economy, which is the product of our human arrogance at the great cost of the planet.

Four Horsemen
KumarHumanCondition

Satish Kumar – The Human Condition

How do we cultivate the Human Condition? Perhaps it is as simple as gardening…

Capturing-LandValue3

Capturing the Value – the Land Question Part 2

You own yourself, and by extension you own what you make through labour or voluntary transactions thereof. Land, however, is not a fruit of labour.

Read More

People tend to think that numbers are quite objective, but numbers in economics are not like this. Some economists say they're like sausages: you don't know what they really are until you cut into them.

Ha-Joon Chang

Four Horsemen
TarekMuslimWorld

Tarek El Diwany – The Muslim World

Will chaos in the muslim world eventually lead to chaos in the West?

Four Horsemen
HugoPriceGermanGOLD

Hugo Salinas Price – German Gold

Hugo Salinas Price maps out the current location of Germany’s gold.

Capturing-LandValue2

Capturing the Value – the Land Question Part 3

Anything less than an equal share is a violation of the Law of Equal Liberty, for any exclusive claim over natural opportunities necessarily reduces the opportunities available for everyone else. There is only one way to ensure equality of opportunity: for the community to recapture the value of land.
It is for these reasons that virtually all the notable classical liberal political economists supported the idea of the community recapturing the land values, using the discourse of taxation.

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Four Horsemen
NoamChomskySocialDarwinsim

Noam Chomsky – Social Darwinism

It was Herbert Spencer who first coined the term “survival of the fittest” but that is not the optimum way a society should function.

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MASSIVE PROFITS!!! But from where?

The answer depends on two things: how those profits are derived, and what happens to them. Last week we noted how the senior executives and shareholders of banks are able to award themselves absurd remuneration packages and inflated dividends out of the profits extracted by a banking system geared principally towards generating huge rewards for the already wealthy.

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Renegade Thinking

Dirty Little Debt Secret

Ross Ashcroft speaks with Richard Vague – former banker and author of The Next Economic Disaster. They talk about his insights into private debt and why it seems to be forbidden knowledge.

education-is-a-bubble

Democracy and the power of corporations

Education

Seen in a longer timeframe, education is best imparted from kindergarten and up. In this regard it can be said that true education is that which liberates human beings physically, socially, economically, mentally, intellectually, and spiritually.
Education should be left in the hands of educationalists and not commercial, industrial, religious, military, or political interests.

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kenyes

Selective Amnesia? The answer is under your feet

Throughout the 19th century the integrity of economics was steadily eroded. Whereas the ‘classical’ founders of the discipline had set their enquiries in the rapidly changing social context of the period and viewed economics as an integral part of the moral sciences, the new breed of ‘neo-classical’ economists had little interest in the real world.

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Four Horsemen
MaxKeiserFederalreserve

Max Keiser – The Federal Reserve

Is the Fed just an extension of European Central Banks?

An honest money system is the only alternative.

Frederick Soddy

Four Horsemen
HudsonfreeTransportation

Prof. Michael Hudson – Free Transportation

Wall Street analyst Michael Hudson explains how property tax could help rebuild infrastructures.

Renegade Economist
Reeves-in Conversation

Renegade Economist Talk Show – In conversation with Rev’d Donald Reeves

With the Church of England in disarray who better to talk to about dissent and the occupy movement than the legendary turbulent priest.

Four Horsemen
WilkersonPeoplEpower

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson – Our Leaders

Former Chief of Staff to US Secretary of State Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired United States Army Colonel and Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William & Mary.  He is Professorial Lecturer in the Public Policy Honours Program at the George Washington University.

Four Horsemen
Camilabritishdisease

Camila Batmanghelidjh – British Disease

Does the British tendency to process emotions in private affect their socio-political environment?

One-Mans-Loss-

One Man’s Loss is Another Man’s Gain

At the beginning of this series, I suggested a definition of wealth as ‘the ability to purchase in the market place those goods and services which are essential to wellbeing, along with others which, though not essential, nonetheless enhance quality of life.’ Having discussed the various means by which an elite minority secure for themselves vast amounts of unearned wealth, we should still ask the question: does it really matter?

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Magical Thinking, Meteorology and Economic Forecasting.

Mainstream economic models ignore debt.

The argument goes like this: if I lend you £1 then you have +£1 and I have -£1; and -1 + 1 = 0. Debt cancels out and can be ignored when modelling the economy. It’s all very simple and economists tell us we’re stupid for not seeing it.

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Four Horsemen
Corporateflag

Beyond left and right

This book does not call for a lurch back to the left, however. If politics is to be of any use in facing down the current crisis, it has to transcend the old, glib definitions of left and right. A new economic paradigm will produce a new political paradigm: one that has far greater moral ambition, one that recognizes that the twin goals of protecting personal freedoms and promoting social justice can be reconciled, and one that doesn’t offer an unhelpful choice between state ownership and regulation and unfettered free markets, or a compromise between the two.

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Four Horsemen
JamesTurkGold

James Turk – Gold

James Turk, founder of Goldmoney.com, discusses gold as a natural form of money.

Four Horsemen
KeiserGoldmanSachs

Max Keiser – Goldman Sachs

Max Keiser describes Goldman Sachs as the Exxon Valdez of banks.

Four Horsemen
ReevesDebtJubilee

Reverend Donald Reeves – The Debt Jubilee

Reverend Donald Reeves on the wiping off of debts.

Four Horsemen
NoamChomskyBinLadenBestAlly

Prof. Noam Chomsky – Bin Laden’s Best Ally

Professor Noam Chomsky on how Britain and the United States are rallying people to Bin Laden’s cause.

Renegade Economist
TalkShowAlastairParvin

Renegade Economist Talk Show – In conversation with Alastair Parvin, Architect and Designer

Alastair talks about architecture, land, design and hitting the greatest monopoly of all…

Four Horsemen
ChangTrickledowneconomics

Ha-Joon Chang – Trickle Down Economics

Is “Trickle-Down” prosperity the greatest lie ever told?

One-Day-All-This-Will-Be-Yo

One Day All This Will Be Yours

It is entirely natural for parents to want to support their children in every way possible, and for some this includes making financial provision for their offspring after their deaths. Several nations impose some form of tax on inheritance, although in the last decade as many nations have abolished such taxes as have chosen to keep them. But to deter an essentially altruistic act by the threat of post-mortem taxation seems unduly severe.

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Renegade Economist
TalkShowIanMason

Renegade Economist Talk Show – In Conversation with Ian Mason

Barrister and School Principal Ian Mason addressed the UN: One World One Wealth – Economics, Justice and the Rights of Nature. We ask him how to upgrade the dismal science.

Wall Street has become a very specific type of casino. Unfortunately it's not the type they have in Las Vegas that is a legitimate form of entertainment. It's a casino that has massive negative effects on the rest of society.

Simon Johnson

Shadows

Great Crisis Brings Forward a Generation of Great Leaders

In Britain the term “Lost Generation” was originally used for those who died in World War I. People mourned that “the best of the nation had been destroyed” and agreed that this left the country considerably worse off. All wars are economic and personal. The illegal Iraq war waged by American sycophant Tony Blair was a personal economic decision. The intergenerational conflict that now rages between the Baby-Boomers and their disenfranchised offspring is economic and personal.

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Four Horsemen
KeiserPennsylvania

Max Keiser – If I Owned Pennsylvania

former Wall Street trader Max Keiser discusses copyright laws, currency and the tax system.

Four Horsemen
HermanDalyGlobalisation

Herman Daly – Globalisation

How can countries implement independent policies amidst the wave of the globalisation mantra? We ask Herman Daly what does “Globalisation” really mean to him?

Four Horsemen
WilkersonPurposeLife

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson – Purpose in life

Is helping others the key to a good life? Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson reminds us that ‘you can’t take it with you’.

Farming

Principles of a Balanced Economy

  1. First, if the city or state developed following the course of a river system and the river suddenly changed direction or dried up, its economy was adversely affected.
  2. Secondly, if industries moved away from rural villages, the balance of the economy was also destroyed.
  3. The third reason was a defective educational system. If there are defects in the rural educational system and the social system, economic balance is lost.In order to build a sound economy thirty to forty percent of the people in an area – neither more nor less – should depend directly on agriculture. If the percentage is smaller, agriculture is neglected. (Conversely, if the percentage is greater, there will be a heavy strain on agriculture.)

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Four Horsemen
ScottCarver

Scott Carver – The World’s Best Banker

A Renegade Economist exclusive with bankings best – Scott Carver

Tim Van Spink Smythe Glib is getting back into banking…

The crises we face today are created by humans and what is created by humans can be changed by humans, so we are all capable of transforming our world.

Satish Kumar

Charles-Darwin-1880-631.jpg__800x600_q85_crop

Distorting Darwin or How the West was Won

The Victorian age was one of great progress and great folly, and particularly a time of great ideas. While we scoff at buttoned down Victorian morality, they also began to provide for the poor, reform the legal system, reinvent medicine, and they esteemed philanthropy as a virtue.

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Four Horsemen
human_evolution4

A civilization fit for human beings

There is nothing to be gained from blaming bankers, politicians or even economists for the current crisis. They flatter themselves if they think they created it. They didn’t. They may have driven it, but the crisis occurred because of the rogue code we have programmed into our economic software. If some among their number elect to oppose democratic pressure to rectify that error then they must be challenged. If they defend systems or practices which stand in the way of progress, their motives will become clear. But creating a better world is not about taking revenge on those who have benefited from the current order. Hopefully they will be persuaded to join a popular movement to create an economy and society in which everyone has a fair chance.

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Four Horsemen
JamesTurkFiatMoney

James Turk – Fiat Money

Confidence is the foundation of Fiat money. Is it stable?

Four Horsemen
Tarek-Financial-Fallout

Tarek El Diwany – The Financial Fallout

A former trader speaks about life inside the system.

Four Horsemen
FourHorsemen

David Morgan – A Baby Boomer’s Apology

David Morgan reflects on the BabyBoomer’s tenure.

Four Horsemen
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Prof Noam Chomsky – The Cold War

Was the Cold War a battle between capitalism and socialism?

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The Semiotic Theory of Money

Interviewed by the Financial Times (June 7th 2003), Friedman admitted that, “The use of the quantity of money as a target has not been a success.” In light of Friedman’s recantation, I now offer these essays once again that the ideas in them may be reconsidered.

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Renegade Economist
Kent

The Man with 900 Houses

Ross Ashcroft catches up with Britain’s Buy to Let King Fergus Wilson, a man who bizarrely seems to be totally in the dark to the underlying mechanisms that drive the property market.

Let's reorganize enterprises in our society so that all the workers together make the decisions - what to produce, how to produce, where to produce and what to do with the profits.

Richard Wolff

Four Horsemen
GillianTettRussia

Gillian Tett – Russia

Gillian Tett explains what actually happened when Communism fell in Russia. For ‘Robber Baron’ you can also read ‘rent seeker’.

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HermanDalyHomoEconomicus

Prof. Herman Daly – Homo Economicus

What really counts for our happiness and welfare? Professor Herman Daly on what’s important for economic man.

Renegade Economist
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Renegade Economist Talk Show – Christmas Special with Max Keiser

Former Wall Street trader and founder of Karma Bank Max Keiser gives Christmas cheer to Renegade Economist viewers.

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Easter Egg

Ross and Megan Ashcroft preparing for the premiere of The Four Horsemen.

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The Myth of Housing Prices

The time for change


Despite a faltering economy and the increasing squeeze on living standards, rising house prices remain persistently but not unsurprisingly viewed as a source of wealth and prosperity. This favourable notion of rising house prices has become deep-seated within British culture.

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The time to go into a new business is when it's badly run by others.

Sir Richard Brandson

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SimonJohnsnRegulations

Prof. Simon Johnson – Regulations

Former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson discusses how the financial part of our society should be more constrained.

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HugoPriceGoldPound

Hugo Salinas Price -The Gold Pound

The very thing which built the Western Empire has been forgotten…

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The Economics Scam – Part 2

But it’s more than that, because the theory says that to reach equilibrium (the point at which prices match everyone wishing to buy with someone wishing to sell) we should do exactly what in the real world allows those with existing wealth to become richer.

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Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes it's laws.

Mayer Amschel Rothschild

Four Horsemen
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Michael Hudson – The Future of the Dollar

Insight on the future outlook of the US Dollar from Michael Hudson.

Four Horsemen
DavidMorganFreeMarket

David Morgan – Free Market

David Morgan argues that although it may not be perfect, the free market is our best option.

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ChomskyModerMedia

Prof. Noam Chomsky – The Modern Media

Professor Noam Chomsky shares an anecdote depicting the state of modern media.

Four Horsemen
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Camila Batmanghelidjh – London Social Unrest

Camilla Batmanghelidjh has worked in delivering services to vulnerable children over the last 20 years. In this interview she provides some real insight into the causes of what we are currently seeing in London and beyond.

Most societies have an elite and the elite try to stay in power. They do this by controlling the means of production and the cognitive map, the way we think. And what really matters is what is left unsaid, undebated.

Gillian Tett

Four Horsemen
ReevesLand

Reverend Donald Reeves – Land

The Bible considers land as a gift from God for the dispossessed; Reverend Donald Reeves discusses the mining industry’s paradoxical approach to land.

Four Horsemen
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Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson – Robert Rubin

Colonel Wilkerson asks a fundamental leadership question.

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The Economics Spring

The Tipping Point

I may be wrong, but it looks like a tipping point. A host of concerned economy-watchers are beginning to understand that most economists failed to understand or predict the global economic crisis, and should therefore be deposed. Just as the despots of north Africa and the middle East crumbled in the face of a critical mass of popular opposition, so too mainstream economics is looking shaky in the fresh-faced glare of laymen.

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Queenlse

The Economic Crisis Within

This simple question reflected a widely held view that economics as a subject had something to answer for. For a proportion of economists (and their models), the crisis struck out of a cloudless sky in a world that had grown to believe that such events were a thing of the past; that modern economics had finally rid the world of “boom and bust”, that we would never witness anything like the Great Depression ever again.

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Money1

Our Monetary System

They assume that money is essentially tokens that get passed from person to person as they exchange goods. One would assume that the amount of tokens would remain constant except for occasional money printing by governments. Indeed money could work in this way should governments have chosen such a system, but in reality, money does not work like this at all*. Instead we have a system in which money is being continuously created and destroyed.

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BRITAIN-ELECTIONS-LABOR

The Cause of this Crisis? Leadership

Hierarchy v Self-responsibility

Disintegrating hierarchy will eventually be replaced by self-responsibility – but we are not there yet. Combine a lack of strong principled leadership from the ‘powers that be’ with a total absence of self-responsibility from the ‘victims’ and today’s outcome becomes inevitable.

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