Episode

4/17 The Fairytale That Is Economics; The Looming, Massive UPS Strike w/ Jon D. Erickson; Justin Alo & Matt Leichenger

April 17, 2023

Happy Monday! Sam is back from vacation! He and Emma speak with Jon D. Erickson, professor of sustainability science and policy at The University of Vermont, to discuss his recent book The Progress Illusion: Reclaiming Our Future from the Fairytale of Economics. Then, they’re joined but Justin Alo of Teamsters Local 542 and Matt Leichenger of Teamsters Local 804 to discuss UPS workers’ campaign for a new contract. First, Sam and Emma run through updates on the freezing of Mifepristone, the Fox-Dominion case, the Supreme Court hearing a case on Christians having to work on Sundays, the success of the faculty union at Rutgers, continuing gun violence across the US, the GOP Primary, and Macron’s assault on the French working class, before parsing through the absences of Sam Seder and Dianne Feinstein. Jon D. Erickson then dives right into his concept of “progress illusion,” as capitalism’s fairytale of market-driven, hyper-privatized progress, defined by marginal benefits and hyper-individualized choices that completely ignore the biophysical realities of our planet and who we are as humans. Next, he steps back to discuss the ideological nature of economics, and why that must be understood in searching for who and what economic systems are built for, diving into the statistic of Gross Domestic Product as a symbol of neoliberal progress, and how it emphasizes privatized profits while ignoring the social costs. After tackling the idea of economic systems as our servants (rather than masters), Professor Erickson walks Sam and Emma through his view of a statistic that is conscious of public costs, as put into practice in Vermont, and where such a system still falls short. Wrapping up, Jon, Emma, and Sam debate the role of capitalism and degrowth in a future that doesn’t exclusively value private profits. Justi Alo and Matt Leichenger then dive into the recent UPS teamsters’ strike, what the Teamsters for a Democratic Union caucus represents, and how a new generation of union organizers is stepping up. They also discuss UPS’ massive profits over the pandemic, alongside diminishing working conditions, and what the teamsters’ demands for this strike entail.

And in The Fun Half: Sam and Emma cover the Right-Wing jumping at the chance to defend Dianne Feinstein’s Senate seat, Kevin McCarthy’s visit to Wall Street to let them know that the working class will be punished soon, and the Good Liars return to the NRA Conference. Glenn Beck and Ben Shapiro each dive into their own brands of historical revisionism (transphobic holocaust denial and the race of Cleopatra, respectively), which Brendan from San Diego analyzes, and Rob from Boston asks Emma and Bradley to please stop the Taibbi impressions. Catfish James from Portland (Oregon) dives into the Greater Idaho Movement, and Greg Gutfeld gets woke on the Five, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out Jon’s book here: https://islandpress.org/books/progress-illusion

Check out Justin’s piece in Labor Notes about the impending contract negotiations here: https://www.labornotes.org/2023/04/strike-force-building-ups-contract-campaign-one-breakfast-time

Get more info on Teamsters For A Democratic Union (TDU) here: https://www.tdu.org/donate

Check out the TDU Store!: https://tdustore.myshopify.com/

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