Renegade Inc.May 08, 2022
Britain’s Private Debt Problem
Contrary to political group think it was actually access private debt not public debt that brought the economy crashing down.
But today private debt is again raging and nobody seems to want to address the issue.
On the latest episode of Renegade Inc, co-founder and presenter, Ross Ashcroft sits down with anthropologist and writer, David Graeber and former chairman of the now abolished Financial Services Authority, Lord Turner to discuss what is preventing us from talking about the taboo that is Britain’s private debt problem.
- Broadcast September 2017 -
Read & Watch: https://renegadeinc.com/britains-private-debt-problem/
One of the biggest Western foreign policy adventures in recent years is something that is underreported in the media. So-called ‘intervention’ in Libya has created a failed state that is riven with extremists all vying for power.
So we ask: was this really an epic foreign policy mistake? Or was destroying Libya just another day at the office for politicians, shortsighted bureaucrats, and vulture corporates who continually try to enforce global economic supremacy?
Host Ross Ashcroft is joined by Dr. Matthew Alford, teaching fellow in politics at University of Bath, and Dr. Tim Coles, director and founder of Plymouth Institute for Peace Research.
- Broadcast June 2018 -
Read & Watch: https://renegadeinc.com/looting-libya/
UK food security: A fork in the road
Britain’s MI5 has always maintained that the UK is just four away meals from anarchy. So with fractured supply chains, rising costs, and failing agricultural policy, how worried should the Brits – who are net importers of food – be?
Ross Ashcroft is joined by agricultural analyst Michael Raw to discuss our national food security.
- Broadcast April 2022 -
Read & Watch: https://renegadeinc.com/uk-food-security-a-fork-in-the-road/
Profits or policing?
One thing Theresa May will be remembered for is her treatment of the British police. When she was Home Secretary, Mrs May brutally cut more than a fifth of all funding to police forces. The unofficial diktat was that the police should do more with less, a mystifying statement that almost guarantees a demoralised and thus compliant workforce.
So is this what she wanted? Or was there another motive to this act? A political move maybe, that would begin the privatisation of Britain’s police force.
Joining us to discuss the ongoing privatisation that the police and other public services are subject to, is the activist and campaigner with South Yorkshire Migration and Asylum Action Group, John Grayson, and senior lecturer of criminology at Sheffield University, Adam White.
- Broadcast January 2018 -
Read & Watch: https://renegadeinc.com/profits-or-policing/
The not-so-free press
George Orwell famously said journalism is printing what someone else does not want printed. Everything else is public relations. In a world festooned with PR exercises and reputation management, was Mr Orwell overly cynical, or was he well ahead of his time?
With print media’s business model in free fall, newspaper proprietors are increasingly desperate to find ways to ensure financial viability. The problem with this approach is that corporate interests can and often do trump the interests of readers.
Joining us to discuss how free the UK press really is are the lecturer in journalism and media studies at Birkbeck College, Justin Schlosberg, and the editor of Open Media at openDemocracy, James Cusick.
- Broadcast July 2018 -
Read & Watch: https://renegadeinc.com/not-free-press/
J is for Junk Economics
“Economics has failed,” is a phrase that is becoming more common by the day, the result of the current economic paradigm of neoliberalism.
But economist, Professor Michael Hudson says economics has not failed at all. It is working perfectly well, according to the rules upon which it has been set.
On this week’s episode of Renegade Inc, we explore the cover story of neoliberal economics.
- Broadcast October 2017 -
Read & Watch: https://renegadeinc.com/j-is-for-junk-economics/
Money For Nothing
The production of money is ultimately the struggle for control over resources, wealth, people and our environment. But there is a surprising level of ignorance around how banks create money out of thin air and the benefits which flow from it.
Host Ross Ashcroft is joined by the economist and author of the recent book The Production of Money, Ann Pettifor and founder of banking platform Seascader, Steven Round, to examine how money actually works.
- Broadcast April 2017 -
Read & Watch: https://renegadeinc.com/money-for-nothing/
Our Prisoners’ Dilemma
Crime and punishment have always been bedfellows. But what if many of the assumptions that we make around the justification of that punishment are simply false?
Joining us to discuss the current state of the British prison system and what can be done to improve it, former prison monitor and criminologist, Faith Spear and Dr David Scott, senior lecturer in criminology at the Open University.
Read & Watch: https://renegadeinc.com/our-prisoners-dilemma/
War On Drugs
If you think the War on Terror is an expensive exercise, everything about it pales into insignificance when we talk about the bigger war on our doorstep – the War on Drugs. More than a century of conflict, confiscation, court cases and incarceration later… and still there’s no end in sight.
Isn’t it now time to readdress this challenge by using different language, laws and leadership? Or is the War on Drugs so entrenched that vested interests and authorities are blind to reframing it?
Ross Ashcroft joins the writer and author of ‘Chasing The Scream’, Johann Hari, and the former undercover police officer turned drug campaigner and writer of the book ‘Good Cop, Bad War’, Neil Woods.
Read & Watch: https://renegadeinc.com/war-on-drugs/
Empire of things
When we talk about consumerism, the emotive arguments for and against are always black and white. Consumerism is painted as unnecessary and low or no growth is seen as the optimum state for people and planet. But what if acquiring objects and possessions is intrinsic to human nature? What if, in reality, the consumerism argument is far more nuanced, which should make us rethink how we spend, what we buy and which things are most important to us.
We have hit peak stuff and when that admission comes from the head of sustainability at the Swedish retailer, Ikea you know that consumers are tapped out. So as self-storage units buckle under the pressure of housing things we don’t need and our environment pays the price, we question the consumerist boom that has gripped the world.
Joining us to work out where next for consumer spending and give historical context to the rampant consumerism we seem to love is the author of ‘The Empire of Things‘, Professor Frank Trentmann.
Read & Watch: https://renegadeinc.com/empire-of-things/
For every dollar of aid poor countries receive, they lose 10 dollars to multinational tax havens. They pay around $200 billion per year in debt service to banks in rich countries.
Writer and anthropologist, Jason Hickel whose book, ‘The Divide’, debunks the myths around inequality and poverty, joined co-founder and presenter Ross Ashcroft on this week’s episode of Renegade Inc. to discuss why aid programs are deliberately keeping 60% of the world’s population in poverty.
Read & Watch: https://renegadeinc.com/the-divide/
One of the most divisive terms in the English language today is the phrase ‘conspiracy theory’. Its stigma has a chilling effect on people and the label subtly has the power to shut down enquiring minds and with them any inconvenient conversations.
But where did the term come from and how does this catch-all phrase affect independent thinkers, international debate and the media today?
In 2004, Professor of Media Studies at New York University, Mark Crispin Miller was labelled as a conspiracy theorist for claiming that the right stole the election from John Kerry, to elevate George W Bush to power. Today, the author of ‘Loser Take All’ and ‘Fooled Again’ says the term ‘fake news’ is being used as a US propaganda exercise to expedite war with Russia.
Read & Watch: https://renegadeinc.com/conspiracy-theories/
Brave New Workplace
Why are so many people – globally – so disengaged with their job? We’re all working harder and longer yet many people are doing work they feel is meaningless. So we ask what’s wrong with employment?
Host Ross Ashcroft is joined by writer and commentator Elaine Glaser and author of Bullsh*t Jobs and anthropologist David Graeber.
Read & Watch: https://renegadeinc.com/brave-new-workplace/
What You're Not Being Told About The Economy
Economics and the schools that teach it have been wrong for such a long time that its students have collectively embraced a mythical model that does not account for the role of money, banks, debt or land.
Renegade economist and friend of the show, Professor Steve Keen recently took the stage at the Sunday Papers event in London to discuss what you’re not being told about the global economy.
Read & watch: https://renegadeinc.com/sunday-papers-mainstream-economists-live-in-a-parallel-universe/
Makers v Takers
Most people who work in developed nations know that there’s something badly wrong in their economy even if they can’t fully articulate it. Many people feel they have to work harder and longer just to stand still. There always seems to be an economic headwind that denies fair return on the hours we put in.
So what is this formless force that pushes against us? And why is it such a different story for people who work in the financial industries who after such collective failure in 2008 are once again squeezing Main Street for every penny?
Host, Ross Ashcroft, met up with Author, Rana Foroohar, to discuss.
Read & Watch: https://renegadeinc.com/makers-v-takers/
What’s Killing Creativity
The creative industries are worth about 10 million pounds an hour to the UK economy. Globally now, all governments recognize the importance of this enigmatic sector to drive their growth.
But are creativity and commercial forces compatible? If they are, why is all the advertising we see today internationally, so incredibly bland? Why has Hollywood lost its originality, and has big data and ad tech removed risk-taking from the creative process?
Host, Ross Ashcroft, met up with author and ad agency copywriter, Dave Trott, to discuss.
Watch & read: https://renegadeinc.com/whats-killing-creativity/
Queen Elizabeth visited the London School of Economics and asked why no economist saw the financial crisis coming. The professors were unable to answer her simple question but did admit that at every stage, someone was relying on someone else and everyone thought that they were doing the right thing.
Since that exchange, the realisation has dawned on many that it is the discipline of economics itself that is the problem. Until economics is fixed, mainstream economists will continue to fly blind. And we will continue to foot the bill.
In the latest episode of Renegade Inc, economist and author Kate Raworth discusses her book, ‘Doughnut Economics’, and calls for an ‘economic reformation’.
Read & Watch: https://renegadeinc.com/doughnut-economics/
White Collar Crime – Mind the Gap
Since the 2008 financial crisis, the UK authorities have been absolutely toothless when it comes to prosecuting bankers who’ve broken the law.
But is this just incompetence? Or is our regulatory system designed in a way that means that victims fall through the gaps, while banks are permitted to operate above the law?
Joining us on the episode this week is former Met Detective who fell victim to the Royal Bank of Scotland’s long-running scheme to defraud its small-business customers, Andy Keats, and researcher & campaigner, Joel Benjamin.
Watch & read: https://renegadeinc.com/white-collar-crime-mind-the-gap/
The Strait Guys: Connecting America and Russia
The ongoing super feud between America and Russia has caused colossal collateral damage internationally, and everyone will feel the effects of the fallout. But what if there is a project that Russia and the US can collaborate on that would bring peace, progress, and prosperity?
Ross Ashcroft is joined by filmmaker Rick Minnich and InterContinental Railway Chief Advisor Scott Spencer to discuss how the InterContinental railway project would connect former foes to trade with one another, generating commerce, not conflict, for everyone.
Sanctions: The Blowback
Whatever the outcome in Ukraine, one thing is for sure: The economic reverberations will be felt by everyone for years to come, as the world divides between the West and a rapidly re-shaping Eurasia.
Ross Ashcroft is joined by economist Michael Hudson to discuss trade, sanctions, dollar hegemony, and the emergence of a multipolar world.
Russia – a recent history lesson
If you listen to Western leaders or the corporate media, you’d believe that Russia is by far the most evil and regressive country on the planet and therefore needs to be sanctioned back to the Stone Age as punishment. But how much of this rhetoric is based on fact rather than the fear of the Russian bear coming out of hibernation into our interdependent multipolar world?
Ross Ashcroft is joined by professor of Slavic studies Vladimir Golstein and filmmaker Andrei Nekrasov to discuss Russia’s past, present, and future.
There seems to be one rule for me yet another for thee. It’s this hypocrisy that the author Charlie Robinson takes on in his most recent book: Hypocrazy. His argument is clear: as much as the powers-that-be tell us that things are normal, there is no alternative, and this is the natural order of events – it really isn’t. None of what we are experiencing is ‘normal’ and, more importantly, there is an alternative.
The Nord Stream dream is America’s nightmare
All this geopolitical hot air was always going to be about gas, and, predicting that, before all the horse trading and brinkmanship began, we caught up with two independent energy experts, Irina Slav and Ben Aris. They cut through the noise and give some useful context to the fundamental problems Europe and the UK now face to – quite literally – keep the lights on.
Poking the Bear
After so many military blunders, NATO and the neo-cons’ credibility is in tatters. Yet their unhinged rhetoric continues and is supported by a doting corporate media. Vladimir Putin recently commented that the “citizens of Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia have seen how peaceful NATO is.” So whilst these decimated countries try to rebuild, is it time for us to question the narrative fed to us by so-called Western humanitarians? Ross Ashcroft is joined by analyst and former Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter, and foreign policy analyst and media critic Michael Averko to discuss the Ukraine crisis.
Inflating a cold war state of mind
What do you do when inflation is so high that your people are having to choose between heating and eating? Well, logically you should admit that your economic management has been poor. The reality? Western nations are now looking around the world for a war…
Ross Ashcroft is joined by financial expert Matthias Weik and Alex Krainer, founder of Krainer Analytics, to discuss how to navigate the uncertain times ahead.
Who’s watching the watchers?
We all know that we are being watched, listened to, tracked, traced, and monitored. Ross Ashcroft is joined by Peter Bloom, author of ‘Monitored: Business and Surveillance in a Time of Big Data’, to discuss an important question: who ensures that people in positions of power and those with corporate monopolies remain accountable?
‘Sir’ Tony Blair – No thanks Ma’am!
There are just three words that make any right-thinking British person convulse. Those words are 'Sir Tony Blair.’
With only 14% of Britons approving of former-PM Blair’s knighthood and a petition to have it rescinded garnering well over a million signatures, it is clear that the ‘honours’ system is anything but democratic, and in urgent need of reform.
Ross Ashcroft speaks with politician George Galloway and convenor of Stop the War Coalition Lindsey German, about why Tony Blair’s knighthood should be revoked.
Guy Standing: Power to the Precariat
It’s unlikely that you’ve heard of it, but it’s likely that you’re part of it. As neoliberalism rages on, the human scrap heap gets bigger and bigger, and this is creating a dangerous new class called the Precariat.
Ross Ashcroft is joined by Prof. Guy Standing to discuss the growing Precariat and why the political class should be taking them seriously.
Finntopia: Lessons From The Worlds Happiest Country
The league tables that cause plenty of consternation amongst the Western political classes show the Nordic countries constantly on top in education, media freedom, lack of corruption, happiness and quality of life. Ross Ashcroft is joined by geographer and author of Finntopia Danny Dorling to discuss how do they got there, how they stay there, and why the UK hasn’t managed to emulate their success.
An Economy for the Common Good
Famously, the broadcaster and natural historian David Attenborough said that someone who believes in infinite growth is ‘either a madman or an economist.’ One of the big problems we face today is that in our hunt for growth, mainstream economics has been taken over by madmen. But not everyone has fallen for it… We speak to writer and activist Christian Felber about how to build an ‘Economy for the Common Good’.
2021: Welcome to West Asia
With the US invasion of Afghanistan coming to end and Iran joining the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Middle East, otherwise known as West Asia, is seeing major shifts in geopolitical power dynamics.
Ross Ashcroft is joined by Beirut-based journalist and analyst Sharmine Narwani, and journalist and investigative historian Gareth Porter to discuss the future of West Asia and the end of US hegemony.
Don’t believe the hype – less really is more
The word ‘degrowth’ was suspiciously absent from the COP26 talking shop, but unless you’re actively talking about degrowth, you’re just peddling corporate, political and billionaire propaganda.
Ross Ashcroft is joined by political economist Jason Hickel to discuss why, when it comes to growth, less really is more.
Steve Keen: A manifesto
After spending so much of his academic career systematically disproving the many myths peddled by mainstream economists, Professor Steve Keen has written a manifesto.
He joins Ross Ashcroft on Renegade Inc to detail a blueprint that will allow us to reboot our relationship with the economy, each other, and with the plundered planet on which we all entirely depend.
The BBC’s road to Damascus…?
It is incredibly rare that the BBC ever admits that one of their reports on Douma in Syria failed to meet the Corporation's editorial standards for accuracy by reporting false claims… Blink and you’d have missed this admission, but we didn’t, and it adds to a volley of misreporting that has dogged journalism and peace in the Middle East for decades.
Ross Ashcroft is joined by political scientist Dr. Piers Robinson and journalist Vanessa Beeley to discuss the crumbling narrative around the alleged Douma chemical attack.
Trespass: 'Get off my land!'
Understandably, whenever we hear “Get off my land” it’s met with incredulity. But that phrase does depict the mindset of many landowners who go to extraordinary lengths to keep people off what they deem to be theirs… However without proper access to land we have no ability to have an intimate understanding of nature, or ourselves…so is it now time to reclassify trespass as a revolutionary act?
Ross Ashcroft meets Nick Hayes, author of ‘The Book of Trespass’ in Oxfordshire to discuss how land monopoly is at the root of social inequality in the UK.
The Truth About Money
The explosion of QE, the epic monetisation of debt, the rise of cryptocurrencies, frothy stock markets, and furlough schemes all seem to imply we have an endless supply of money. But it also means that we now see money very differently.
In a world where we know the price of everything but the value of nothing, Ross Ashcroft speaks to economist Dr. Howard Nicholas to help us understand what money really is.
China’s fortune cookie crumbles…
With China’s increasing wealth, Western investors want some of the action… One of those investors is a bullish gentleman called George Soros. However, the Chinese are acutely aware that with Western investment comes inequality – so as Beijing begins to rethink how to do proper economic growth, we ask whether China will learn from Western mistakes.
Ross Ashcroft is joined by economist and author Michael Hudson to discuss the West’s attempts to turn China neoliberal.
Universities during the Covid crisis: Let’s milk those student cash cows!
Here’s the new British university business model: charge students full price for their course and their campus accommodation, then deliver only around 15% of the course while restricting access to their digs. And now the masterstroke: rebrand all this as “blended online learning” and claim ‘because Covid’ there’s no alternative. It’s a massive money-maker!
Ross Ashcroft is joined by student campaigners Ben Dusserre-Robinson, of cross-university action group Pause or Pay UK, and Annette Tshisekedi, of Queen Mary University of London’s QMUL Rent Strike, to discuss just how egregious the unholy trinity between funding-obsessed chancellors, overpaid administrators, and rent-seeking landlords has really become.
Afghanistan: The graveyard of empires
Afghanistan is known as the graveyard of empires. After a 20-year war that has cost tens of thousands of lives and over $2 trillion, the US is the latest country to retreat from the country after a failed invasion.
Ross Ashcroft is joined by former Marine Corps intelligence officer Scott Ritter to discuss the military context, and analyst Alex Krainer to talk geopolitics and geostrategy.
The collapse of complex societies
Hubris in The West today means we think we are so advanced that we can escape the collapse of complex societies. Our recent history has cemented an air of invincibility, but if you look closely, all the signs are present that the empire is far more vulnerable than we think. So, is our societal decline preordained, or will we be the first civilization to cheat the inevitable?
Ross Ashcroft is joined by anthropologist and historian Dr. Joseph Tainter to discuss what we can learn from our past about how and why complex societies collapse.
The real looters of South Africa
Since Nelson Mandela’s long walk to freedom, South Africa has faced hurdle after hurdle – politically and economically. Mandela’s release from prison unified the nation; however, the incarceration of the last president, Jacob Zuma, lit a national tinderbox. Ross Ashcroft is joined by filmmaker Rehad Desai, whose documentary ‘How to Steal a Country’ investigates how South Africa and her people have been looted by shadowy fixers, venal politicians and dodgy corporate deals that have all but bankrupted the country.
Richard Werner: A whistle-stop tour of modern banking
This week Prof. Richard Werner joins Ross Ashcroft to cover all things banking: Japanification, the Weimar Republic, Central Bank digital currencies, credit creation, the war on cash, crypto, gold, the date of the next crash, and – most importantly – your personal sovereignty…
Richard Werner: QE infinity
As the Russian Proverb goes: There is nothing more permanent than a temporary solution. Quantitative Easing was introduced to buy central bankers time so they could fix the structural problems in the economy. But quickly, QE became the solution to every possible economic hiccup. Temporary QE has now become the permanent problem which has juiced asset prices, created epic amounts of private debt, and left most of us poorer… Ross Ashcroft is joined by Professor Richard Werner, who first coined the term Quantitative Easing, to discuss what went wrong.
Jeffrey Sterling: Unwanted spy
There has never been a more dangerous time to be a whistleblower. Western governments are working in concert to enact legislation that conceals their wrongdoing. Ten days ago, during sentencing, drone whistleblower Daniel Hale said, “I am here because I stole something that was never mine to take – precious human life.” Hale was sentenced to 45 months in prison.
He joins a growing list that includes Jeffrey Sterling. Mr Sterling, a former CIA agent who was sentenced to 42 months in prison under the Espionage Act, joins Ross Ashcroft on Renegade Inc to tell his story…
Print & inflate: Now tax the poor some more
Within the global economy, winners and losers can be split into two specific groups: the Have Nots and the Have Yachts. For the yachties… They get the wind of cheap money printing constantly filling their sails, which allows them to speculate, juice asset prices and end up with yet more yachts. However, the have-nots have to sit marooned and becalmed awaiting some imaginary trickle-down cash that never comes.
Host Ross Ashcroft is joined by economist Frank Shostak and investor and author Mitch Feierstein to discuss how Western leaders, policy makers and central bankers have managed to create such a divide…
Hasta la vista, Guardianista!
In an information age in which most media brands deliberately nail their colours to the mast, one organisation – which that has just reached its 200-year anniversary – still can’t explain what it really stands for. The Guardian is loved by some, hated by others, but when it comes to an editorial standpoint, its mercurial choices have left many flummoxed.
Host Ross Ashcroft is joined by Des Freedman and Justin Schlosberg to discuss ‘Capitalism’s Conscience: 200 Years of The Guardian’. Edited by Freedman and with a chapter by Schlosberg, the book takes an in-depth look at both the newspaper’s journalism and its political values.
This is how universities die...
One of the biggest Covid-19 casualties on a global level has been education. But what many have missed during the pandemic is that the crisis in higher education is being ruthlessly exploited.
Management teams and consultants think they can now –without all that pesky academic consultation– make mega bucks by cementing a fully neo-liberal educational regime. What could possibly go wrong?
Host Ross Ashcroft is joined by Peter Fleming, author of 'Dark Academia: How Universities Die,’ to discuss the future of higher education.
Endless war keeps the Middle East on the floor
One of the most complicated geopolitical areas to lucidly explain is events in the Middle East – many pundits try to do so using think tank briefings from the comfort of their own country.
So that we could get truly independent insight, we caught up with the veteran war correspondent and political analyst Elijah J. Magnier, who has been on the ground in the Middle East for nearly four decades.
He joins Ross Ashcroft on Renegade Inc to discuss what the latest American bombing campaign means for the wider region.
Narcissism + neoliberalism = The life of I
The rise of hyper-individualism and an I, Me, Mine culture has encouraged two personality types to dominate business and politics. Where money, power, and status lie, the corporate psychopath and the narcissist can reliably be found relentlessly chasing so-called success at the expense of everyone else.
Ross Ashcroft is joined by journalist & social philosopher Anne Manne, and professor of management and author Clive Boddy, to discuss corporate psychopaths and the rise of narcissism in society.
Rivers of Power
Dr. Lawrence C. Smith is one of the world’s leading climate scientists and author of 'Rivers of Power and The New North'.
He joins Ross Ashcroft this week to discuss a common theme in the books: how looking at the past is the only way to anticipate the future.
So as climate breakdown begins to bite, how will it reshape our societies, economics and politics…?