Sam and Emma host writer and filmmaker Rupert Russell to discuss his recent book Price Wars: How the Commodities Markets Made Our Chaotic World, on how the profits in Wall Street come from placing bets on the products most central to our society’s functioning. First, Rupert situates his studies over the past decade, originating with his work on the Arab Spring and studying the cascade of revolution in the wake of one of the biggest spikes in food prices, with millions becoming highly at risk for starvation worldwide at the start of the 2010s. Then, he, Emma, and Sam look to Friedmanomics to explain why we look at pricing the way we do, and dive into the role that finance plays between the seller and buyer binary, bringing in futures trading originally to provide a sense of stability and speculation for necessary production (e.g. food), before Alan Greenspan and Larry Summers came along under Clinton and worked aggressively to cover up the potential risks that had been growing behind the scenes as the math became more and more complicated. This drastically shifts the stage moving into the 2000s, as the finance world moves fully into Quantity Index Funds and derivatives, and cements themselves as the central player in setting future prices, ultimately pushing the profits away from the actual production and selling of commodities, and to the storage of such items with the knowledge of future price booms, thus pushing the prices of important goods higher and higher. Next, Sam, Rupert, and Emma move into how this was set up to compound with the Financial Crisis in 2007, as financiers had to move into a new asset class, looking to commodities in the wake of the collapse of the housing market, and taking the pre-existing price boom to an entirely new level. This, then, brings us back to the Arab Spring, as the broken food pricing wrought horror on the Authoritarian bargains set up by countless regimes in the Middle East, effectively meaning the only regimes that could provide for their people were those bolstered by massive oil reserves, like Saudi Arabia and Libya, setting the stage for the countless crisis of the decade, from ISIS’s rise to the Refugee Crisis to the boom of authoritarian populism. They wrap up the interview by looking at the lessons from the commodity de-stabilization of the 2010s, particularly around oil and drugs, and how we need to genuinely set up new systems that are funded by the banking world, without letting free reign for manipulation of those systems. Sam and Emma also touch on Biden’s frozen aid to Afghanistan, and the moderate position of refusing to support Afghani people.
And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma cover Lindsay Graham’s desire for drama, Seth from Portland explores electoralism and the two-party system, Emma walks through her Super Bowl experience, and Andrew Yang absolutely TEARS Democrats a new one for having the exact same goals on healthcare as he does (no public option, we will give you nothing). Candace Owens feels a wedge driven between her and her anti-Black fanbase after she enjoyed the halftime show, and then we get calls from John from San Antonio and Kenny from Berkeley. “Bret Weinstein” takes aim at Sam’s disrespect of THE Joe Rogan Experience, and explores the importance of his philosophical bro-downs, just like Thomas Jefferson’s before him, and Jesus’s before that. Hunter from Hampton Roads discusses challenging Rep. Bobby Scott for District 3 in VA, plus, your calls and IMs!
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