Aug 192016
 August 19, 2016  Posted by at 2:25 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , , , ,

Opening of Golden Gate Bridge May 27 1937

This is an absolute must see, and a joy to watch. Longtime friend of the Automatic Earth Steve Keen was on BBC’s Hardtalk over the weekend. I already really liked the 2.30min clip the BBC released earlier this week. Now Steve himself has posted the entire interview, while the BBC only has an audio podcast (for anyone outside the UK).

You can see that Steve came prepared for some ‘hard’ questioning, and the format fits him very well. Kudo’s! Also, kudo’s to the BBC for having him on, perhaps alternative views on economics have become more palatable in Britain post-Brexit? Interviewer Stephen Sackur sound quite typical of what I see in British media almost 2 months after Brexit: fear and uncertainty and the overall notion that leaving the EU is a very bad thing. Time to move on, perhaps?

I’m not sure Steve would join me in professing the term Beautiful Brexit, but our views on the EU are remarkably alike: it’s a dangerous club (and it will end up imploding no matter what). And that is in turn remarkable unlike the view of our friend Yanis Varoufakis, who is seeking to reform the union.

I went to see Yanis’ presentation of his DiEM25 initiative on the island of Aegina, off Athens, last week, and I found far too much idealism there. There were DiEM25 members from France, Italy and Spain, and they all seemed to agree on one thing: “we need” a pan-European organization -of sorts-. But do we? And why? In my view, they ignore those questions far too easily.

Moreover, even if we choose that path, why the EU? For me, as I said to the people I was with last week, reforming the EU is like reforming the mafia: you don’t want to go there, you want to dissolve it and shut it down. What the EU is today is the result of 60+ years of building an anti-democratic structure that involves and feeds tens of thousands of people, and you’re not going to break that down in any kind of short term.

Though it’s politically ‘not done’, I do think Boris Johnson was on to something when he said during the Brexit campaign: “Napoleon, Hitler, various people tried this out, and it ends tragically. The EU is an attempt to do this by different methods [..] But fundamentally, what is lacking is the eternal problem, which is that there is no underlying loyalty to the idea of Europe. There is no single authority that anybody respects or understands. That is causing this massive democratic void.”

When he said it in May, it was used as campaign fodder by the Remain side, though ironically they never mentioned Napoleon, only Hitler. “How dare you make that comparison!” But Johnson could have mentioned Charlemagne or Charles V, or Julius Ceasar just as well. They all tried to unify Europe, and all with pretty bloody results.

And just like all the idealism I see today in DiEM25, there were plenty idealists at the foundation of the EU, too. But again it’s going awfully wrong. Diversity is what makes Europe beautiful, and trying to rule over it from a centralized place threatens that diversity. European nations have a zillion ways to work together, but a central government and a central bank, plus a one-currency system, that is not going to work.

Still, before I get people proclaiming for instance that Steve Keen is a fan of Boris Johnson, which I’m sure he’s not and neither am I, we’re both fans of Yanis Varoufakis, just not on this issue, but before I make people make that link, I’ll shut up and hand you over to Steve.

But not before reiterating once more that in my view none of this EU talk really matters, because centralization can exist only in times of -economic- growth (or dictatorship), and we’re smack in the middle of a non-growth era kept hidden from us by a veil of gigantesque debt issuance. The future is going to be localization, protectionism, name it what you want; feel free to call it common sense. It will happen regardless of what you call it.





Home Forums Steve Keen on Hardtalk

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    Opening of Golden Gate Bridge May 27 1937 This is an absolute must see, and a joy to watch. Longtime friend of the Automatic Earth Steve Keen was on B
    [See the full post at: Steve Keen on Hardtalk]


    Great work. Thanks.


    This was more ABH than hardtalk. It’s good to see that our bbc licence fee is being well spent.

    Comedy gold from the interviewer; Schauble is an economic genius? Wow. Sure, just ask Greece! That and pretty much everything else he said only illustrated how economically illiterate this guy is. Yeah, Australia’s fine. Norway, Canada, Sweden, all doing great. All except Britain, that is – they will pay for their insolence!

    When the next crash goes down this muppet will probably claim that no-one could possibly have seen it coming.


    Agree with Steve Keen on the European Union. They can work out good trade agreements between the countries and make it work; they don’t have to be joined at the hip. Nations and cultures are just wiped out with a union. Maybe that’s what TPTB want, one nation under God, or something. I read that that’s why the U.S. (CIA) set it up, so that it would become one nation; easier to deal with one entity. Ends up like a bad marriage where one is stronger than the other, and you end up losing your identity and it becomes: “We’re all Germans now.”

    I do not agree with Steve Keen on a debt jubilee. I do not think he’s thought this through. He says to give only one side (the debtors) the jubilee would create moral hazard; you’ve got to give the same amount to debtors and non-debtors alike. Fine, agreed.

    Let’s take a house, for instance. The debtor lives in a $400,000.00 house that should be worth $200,000.00, but the asset has been forced up in price because of the Fed’s game of reducing interest rates (great for the first ones in). Let’s say he put $50,000.00 down on the house, owing $350,000.00. Now let’s give him a $50,000.00 jubilee to put towards the debt, so he now owes $300,000.00. He’s still sitting in the asset.

    Now let’s give every non-debtor $50,000.00 too. Maybe some of those people start chasing houses, and before long that house (above) is now asking $450,000.00, maybe more, because the non-debtors are all competing against each other. There goes the $50,000.00 the non-debtor received in helicopter money, and where does it go? Into the pocket of the debtor who just got bailed out because his house is now worth more.

    The debtor is the winner here – again! The banks are winners – again. Everybody else gets to twist.

    Prices do not come down; instead, they go up. The game starts all over, and we’re back to stupid growth, paving more forests, and staring at another jubilee down the line. This is exactly the same as raising the minimum wage. Prices end up higher, and they’re back asking for more a few years later.

    Prices need to come down, and this is not the way to get us there. And the last thing we need is more growth.

    Steve Keen = more stupid!


    Hi Raleigh,
    On what basis do you conclude that Steve Keen is stupid instead of bought and paid controlled opposition? I think Steve Keen is very smart. He knows his proposals will never be taken seriously and he actively conceals the fraud of all debt-money systems when they are brought up to his specific attention. Go to the comments section and read the dialogue… and Keen’s complete dedication to avoiding the specific arguments of debt-money fraud here:

    The Principle and Interest on Debt Myth (Exposes the Myth of Steve Keen!)

    He thinks that linking an article that discusses derivatives will deceive people into thinking he actually answered the question he avoided at all costs…
    It sounds to me like Keen got this memo, too…

    Krugman to Lietaer: “Never touch the [debt-]money system!”

    “Didn’t they (MIT economics professors) tell you, never touch the money system!”
    ~Paul Krugman
    “You are killing yourself academically if you touch the money system.”
    ~Paul Krugman

    Steve Keen is like a guy who promotes caffeine for slaves not allowed to sleep while never addressing the real issue of the sleep deprivation… and avoiding addressing sleep deprivation when it is brought up as the root cause of the problem. He’s no idiot. He KNOWS EXACTLY what he’s doing.


    Trivium – I didn’t mean that Steve Keen was stupid, but what he was proposing was just “more stupid”, as in another stupid solution, and one that keeps the ball in the air – again!

    He comes across as so down-to-earth, so next door neighbor type. It would be hard to believe that he could be “bought and paid controlled opposition”. Do you mean that he purposely puts forward this idea because he’s paid to say it, that he’s part of the academic elite who want to maintain the status quo? Or does he actually believe this, and was hired for his position because he does? Like a useful idiot that the elite can use, like a Krugman, another Keynesian, albeit with a different take? Is Krugman bought-and-paid for, or does he actually believe what he says, and keeps his position because he does? I always said that Krugman won his Nobel Prize in Economics because he said what the elite wanted people to hear.

    V. Arnold


    Debt jubilees go back before Sumer; everybody “potentially” wins; and it’s a one off. But there is no helping the stupid.
    Read “Debt, The First 5000 Years” by David Graeber. It’s one hell of a great history of debt and money.
    Here’s a link for the audio book, free;

    And agree with TheTrivium4TW; Keen is no idiot; he’s a very smart guy.

    V. Arnold

    Erm, I do not agree with TheTrivium4TW’s last paragraph; Kenn has and speaks to solutions.
    He certainly is not supplying “caffeine to sleves”.
    The problem is that most humans do not understand economics; thereby easily swayed by the likes of Krugman et al.
    There are three “economists” I trust; Bill Black, Steve Keen, and Michael Hudson. Those three in a round-table would be just grand…

    V. Arnold

    Afraid to use the edit feature; slaves (not sleves) and Keen (not Kenn).


    V. Arnold – see my response to Trivium. I said Steve Keen equaled “more stupid”, as in more stupid solutions coming our way.

    And you said the jubilee would be a “one-off”? And when that doesn’t work, we’d call for another jolt of electricity, a two-off, or maybe a three-off? We are continually being “off’d”, choosing winners and losers.

    How about we just “piss off” and stop bailing, manipulating, steering, engineering the economy! The problem is that prices are too high, way too high. If we let them come down, the economy would pick up again.

    But, no, we want to keep those high prices and then give everybody a wad of cash and push prices higher, which only bails out those who made poor decisions in the first place. That is how history has played out: prices go up and up and up, they get too high, and then prices go down and down and down. We’re trying to eliminate the “down” part.

    The stupidity, it hurts.

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