Episode

7/25 The Middlemen Who Profit Off Our Broken Economy w/ Kathryn Judge

July 25, 2022

Sam and Emma host Kathryn Judge, Professor at Columbia Law School, to discuss her recent book Direct: The Rise of the Middleman Economy and the Power of Going to the Source. Emma and Sam first tackle Trader Joe’s union-busting, GOP-backed AIPAC money dumps, Russia’s bombing of Odessa, and discuss Ted Cruz’s and Matt Gaetz’s Turning Point appearances. Then, Professor Kathryn Judge joins as she dives right into walking Sam and Emma through the appearance of the “middleman economy,” beginning with what it is today – seen in retail giants like Walmart and Amazon and banks like JP Morgan and Citi – before jumping back to the beginnings of the neoliberal era’s deregulation. Starting with the banking sector, Professor Judge explores how this deregulation was preceded by an era of local banking, grounded in community investment and growth, before the mass dismantling of the regulatory state, coming to a climax with the joining of investment and commercial banking, saw a consolidation of the world of finance into 4-6 banks, and a shift from concrete interpersonal investing to data-driven and obscure and hyper-complex chains of investment. Sam then moves the conversation into the realm of anti-trust, as the Professor centers anti-trust’s failure to address the need for resilient systems that can genuinely hold up production and supply in the face of shocks, and the importance of small businesses and direct supply lines in bolstering these industries, before shifting beyond the realms of retail and banking, diving into how the middleman economy played a central role in 2008’s housing crisis (and the one we find ourselves in today) and how it extracts massive amounts of wealth from our healthcare infrastructure. Wrapping up the interview, Kathryne Judge, Emma, and Sam expand on the state of the middleman economy today, assess the role it has in our inflation “crisis” and how the FED fails to deal with it.

And in the Fun Half, Sam and Emma break down Ben Shapiro’s preposterous argument on Twitter that gay marriage is “unconstitutional,” Glenn Greenwald tells the Vanguard why he is, in no uncertain terms, NOT Dave Rubin, and Arizona troll and general moron Ethan Schmidt answers the question: “What’s the most humiliating way to get kicked out of a PetSmart?” Plus, your calls and IM’s!

Check out Kathryn’s book here: https://www.harperbusiness.com/book/9780063041974/Direct-Kathryn-Judge/

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