The Price of Peace

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S1: This ad free podcast is part of your Slate plus membership.

S2: Hello and welcome to The Price of Peace episode of Sleep Money, your guide to the Business and Finance News of the Week. I’m Felix Salmon of Axios.

S3: I’m here with Anna Shamansky of Breakingviews. Hello. I’m here with Emily Peck of Huff Post. Hello. And we are also going to bring in Emily’s colleague, Zach Carter, who has written a whole book about John Maynard Keynes. He was very gracious and came on our live show and dropped a huge amount of knowledge about the guy who more or less invented modern economics. So that was fascinating enough that we are going to share it with you on this here show. So that concept. Let’s join you. And we have a very, very special guest missed is that cut also of Huff Post, what is the problem that you have behind you?

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S4: It’s it’s a book. It’s called The Price of Peace, Money, Democracy and the Life of John Maynard Keynes. And you guys are not going to believe this, but I actually wrote that book.

S3: You wrote a book. Congratulation the whole thing. Yeah. I didn’t even see a US serial book author.

S4: Well, you know, I will at some point be a serial book author, but for now, it’s my only book.

S5: Well, congratulations on writing A Life of John Maynard Keynes. We have referenced John Maynard Keynes many times on Slate money, but I don’t think we’ve ever really much talked about him on the show. So this is our opportunity. While everyone is pleased, jumping in, asking questions, let us know what you want us to talk about and we will talk about it. This is as close as money we’ll ever get to a live in experience. But we are going to start by talking about Chanes who help me out here. Is that Englishman, a bit of a homosexual, basically reinvented. The entire global economy is dead.

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S4: So there’s that, too. You know, most people know him. At least I came into contact with his ideas through any kind of a one course where I learned that he was the guy who said you should spend money in a recession in order to sort of lift the economy up out of the doldrums. And it was OK for governments to run deficits under those circumstances. And it turns out that this is this is like a very shallow, tiny piece of his life’s work. He’s this fascinating philosopher who was buddies with everybody in the Bloomsbury set. So Virginia Woolf was one of his best friends his entire life. He’s constantly hanging out with philosophers and debating the nature of truth and drinking champagne and having his hair cut and debating novels and poetry and his economics is really an attempt to sort of express this sort of Bloomsbury credo to the world at large and make it something that’s sort of a politically operable public philosophy, not just something for people to do while they’re getting their hair cut and drinking champagne, but something that’s deeply ingrained with the way society is organized. We’re off to a good start here. I can keep going. There’s six hundred pages to the book.

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S5: It’s a great stuff. So basically, when people say Keynesian, they generally just mean the economics. But what you’re saying is that the economics is deeply sort of tied up with the whole worldview. And so if something is Keynesian, it really does sort of mean this kind of left wing, but also like upper class, kind of what, noblesse oblige?

S3: Try and describe the Bloomsbury group for us.

S4: It doesn’t fit any of our contemporary political categories in a very clean way. Like the Keynesian economists today are people like Paul Krugman or Stephanie Kelton, people who we associate with the political left or liberalism or the Democratic Party. But Keynes himself is this kind of weird hybrid of all of these different currents that are happening and what I would call like enlightenment liberalism. More broadly, the crises of the early 20th century are a huge problem for enlightenment liberalism because they’re not supposed to be possible. People are supposed to be rational. They’re supposed to be able to make good decisions. Democracies are supposed to avoid war. And yet we have World War One and the Great Depression. And these things are not supposed to happen. And Keynes is someone who really admires the sort of egalitarian ethos of somebody like Jean-Jacques Rousseau, but who also is very worried about social change and social upheaval the way that Edmund Burke is. And he’s trying to find a way to synthesize all of these different philosophers into sort of a coherent program for public action to prevent radical change from becoming a problem. So it’s very conservative and in a certain sense. But he’s hanging out with all of these people who are basically their middle class aesthetes. But the British middle class at the beginning of the 20th century, it’s it’s not like the middle class today in the United States, like everybody in the United States today identifies as middle class. Basically, unless you are getting getting hit by the Bush tax cuts, you are considered middle class in the United States. But in in Britain, I mean, it means that you have time to engage in the finer things, to think about philosophy and write novels. And, you know, you maybe have a little bit of property. So you don’t have to you don’t have to worry about getting evicted if you don’t go to work on Tuesday. That’s sort of the mill you he’s working. And so it’s not it’s not like he comes out of this sort of Marxist, revolutionary, collectivist kind of social scene. He’s he’s hanging out with well-to-do people, trying to he’s trying to come up with an economic philosophy that will allow that way of life to be preserved. And I think when he is very young, one of the problems with talking about Keynesian economics is that Keynesian economics changes over the course of his life. You don’t get to the general. Until nineteen thirty seven, but his writing works of economic theory as early as 1912, and he keeps changing his ideas because his ideas keep not working, the social upheaval of the time just continues. And he thinks, OK, well, let’s try something different. Let’s try something different. Maybe this is not the way the world works. And eventually you get to the general theory, which is the sort of foundation I think of of modern economics, as we understand it today, but also a very selective foundation. Milton Friedman is the guy who’s famous for saying we are all Keynesians now. We think that it’s Richard Nixon. Richard Nixon actually says I am now a Keynesian in economics. But Milton Friedman is the guy who says we’re all Keynesians now. And he says this in a very sort of narrow sense, that they’re sort of a set of categories and ways of thinking about what the economy is, that Keynes really develops Milton Friedman very much, not a Keynesian, but what you actually do with those tools is something that has been, I think, hotly disputed ever since the 1930s. And Keynes himself, by the nineteen forties, he has a fairly radical social vision that he wants to use these tools to implement. But you can use them for all sorts of purposes. You know, I think I think Donald Trump was a very Keynesian president in a certain respect. I mean, he ran up gigantic deficits and cut taxes and didn’t worry about spending a lot of money on the military, for instance. I think Keynes, in his social vision, would have found that offensive for for a lot of different reasons. But the sort of tools that he he developed as an economist, they’re not necessarily progressive or conservative. They don’t fit any particular category. They’re sort of value neutral. What’s interesting to me about Keynes is why he thought these tools were necessary to implement his his broader progressive vision.

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S1: Well, and I think that one of the things, as you say and as you say in the book that is so interesting about Keynes, is this evolution and are these contradictions? Because one of the things that Keynes does that is really interesting and I think really important is that he brings up the idea of uncertainty in economics. He challenges this idea that there are these underlying laws or formulas or kind of truths in economics. And it says, no, actually, you know, you kind of need a human hand. And there the markets just don’t always correct themselves. And then he titles his most famous work, general theory. You know, this is clearly, clearly a contradiction and in the same way that he has this idea of evolution. But then to a certain extent, he dies and then the people who take up his ideas seem to suggest that, well, no, actually, now we have found the ultimate truth. And it is.

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S4: Yeah, I think your point there about he called it the general theory. I mean, he was really trying to invoke Einstein with that like this. This is like the general theory of relativity. This is the general theory of economics. Here is a set of principles about how the world works. And yet the principles he comes up with are very amorphous there. Not a lot of right angles in the general theory.

S5: Well, they would need to be right in order to be general. If you have to be able to generalise them across any society at any time, it would have to be pretty amorphous. And I mean, frankly, they might be amorphous, but let’s not hold him to an impossible standard. Everything in economics is pretty amorphous, especially macroeconomics, which is his his field, I think criticizing a macro economist for the crime of being a morphosis. Well, it’s macro economics. It comes with the territory.

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S4: You know, I think that’s a wonderful point. But I think even even within the field, I think Keynes is injecting a morph ism into into the equation. I mean, Keynes objects to the idea that we can talk about rational decisions about our livelihoods and about our finances. He says, look, we don’t know what’s coming down the pike. We live in a condition of radical uncertainty. The basic problem for economic humanity. He would have said economic man, but we don’t say those things anymore, is not trying to figure out how to rationally deal with scarce resources. It’s trying to figure out how to manage that uncertain future.

S5: And when you don’t know what’s coming down the pike, if you don’t know what it’s like, you know, this is an idea which exists right now. We have like Mervyn King, who used to be the governor of the Bank of England, just come out with a book called Radical Uncertainty, which is making exactly this point. It’s not like Keynes is uniquely the epistemic fringes here. I think I think that one of the things the economists or like if you get them in a sort of quiet moment when they’re not bloviating on CNN, they will tell you like there’s no such thing as an economic forecast or an understanding of what’s going to happen if we do this or if we do that. Everything in economics is much fuzzier. The Arabs are much bigger than anyone wants them to be, especially than the politicians want them to be the politicians, the ones who are really to blame here for requiring certainty from economists to the point of the general theory being general and not having major rules for economics.

S6: The one thing that struck me in your book throughout was Cairns sort of putting humans first, putting cultural first and. Putin kind of like the market laughs and there is this sort of like I think it’s just sort of like a weird, arrogant, wrongheaded way of thinking of economics is like the market. Is this right? Is this like rational actor? And there are rules you must follow. And like like you were saying about scarcity, like you just have to manage scarcity. And Keynes kind of turns it all upside down. And he’s like, the important thing is, you know, people are not going without, you know, having a sustainable society where, you know, people can thrive and be human. Like, that’s the important thing. It’s not about a certain amount of going on the gold standard or like these wacky rules that people think are are concrete and and unmoving. And even as everything has sort of advanced from back in those times, it still feels like that’s the push and pull in economics and in our politics, you know, with people, we don’t have enough money to help hungry people and stuff like that. It’s like, no, no, no, no. You help hungry people. You figure out the money. Like, money is not real. Let’s let’s be real about this. Like, it seemed like Keynes understood what was real and what was made up, and he kind of knew money was kind of made up.

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S7: He thought money was like a tool, you know.

S5: So so this is the question which I wanted to ask you is actually directly about this, which is Keynes understands that what matters is the real economy, people with jobs, people with companies which produce things and money as a unit of account, basically. And it’s a useful thing which governments can print if they need to. And that can have certain consequences, which he lays out. Now, square that, if you will, with Bretton Woods. Explain to me what happens in Bretton Woods, what his role is in Bretton Woods and what that meant for the entire international financial system for the subsequent 40 years, 30 years.

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S4: It’s a huge, huge question because what happens in Bretton Woods is basically a giant geopolitical street fight, brutal one between John Maynard Keynes and United Kingdom and Harry Dexter White in the United States who have different visions about what the sort of geopolitical hegemonic system is going to be at the end of World War Two. And they don’t fundamentally agree about the sort of underlying politics that are going to be guiding Bretton Woods. And if you go through Keynes as early as nineteen thirty, he’s starting to sketch these sort of ideas. He can see that the gold standard doesn’t work. And I think when most of us talk about the gold standard today, we’re talking about the convertibility of gold in a sort of domestic exchange kind of situation, like, OK, if I’ve got a dollar, I can exchange it for a certain amount of gold. And that is important in my ability to hold dollars or hold gold or other resources. But it was an entire system of international exchange. The whole point of the gold standard was that different currencies were sort of like different names for different amounts of gold. So you were able to conduct trade on this very predictable kind of kind of basis. The problem with the gold standard, Keynes thought, was that when countries got into trouble, when when their deficits got out of whack, their trade deficits, importantly, they were forced to deflate their currency values in order to make their gold hordes sort of add up. And deflation resulted in a lot of suffering. It resulted in a lot of social pain. So high unemployment and for high unemployment, that’s bad. But what’s really bad is the possibility that the citizens are going to revolt and there’s going to be no more haircuts with champagne. So he’s really afraid of the sort of upper class system being overthrown from below by by this sort of angry proletariat kind of situation. So he wants to create an international system where people don’t get backed into this kind of corner. In his the program he comes up with for Bretton Woods involves the deficit countries and the surplus countries sort of meeting in the middle. If you get backed into a corner because you have a big trade deficit, he’s not going to make you responsible for fixing that problem by imposing pain on your citizens, you and the people, the country that has the surplus. They’re going to have to come into balance together. Everybody’s going to have to move their accounts together. So everything’s not just all on the debtor, the country that’s in the worst the worst position to deal with social revolt is going to have some level of leeway to work with this and also to prevent things from getting out of balance. Countries that build up surpluses steadily, they have to turn them over. Those surpluses can be seized by this sort of international super central bank. Like it, like this ultra international fed. I think it’s a really interesting vision and potentially something could be really useful in a new sort of Bretton Woods style conference. But it just completely gets wrecked on basically the American empire at Bretton Woods. It just we don’t even come close to having that being implemented. And what we get at Bretton Woods instead is something sort. Like a gold standard where the dollar is tied to gold, but there are these two very large bailout funds called the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, so that when countries get into deep imbalances, there are funds available that can go to these countries to help them get out of this this situation. And that system survives for like by the time Bretton Woods is implemented, it survives for like 10 years. I think it’s nine years in a certain number of months that that actually survives. But those institutions, the World Bank and the IMF, still exist today, even though the Bretton Woods system itself is totally gone. And it’s in no way clear that the IMF or the World Bank really function as these institutions that help countries that genuinely help countries in need get out of these these sort of deflationary corners. Like Keynes was trying to make it such that countries in trouble didn’t have to resort to austerity. And I think for most of the history of the IMF, for instance, you know, I think it’s pretty reasonable to say the IMF has encouraged austerity rather than rather than prevented it.

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S1: To me, this outcome, the Bretton Woods, just to a certain extent, speaks to a lot of the some of the biggest weaknesses in Keynes’s theory, which is that it maybe it’s because of his background. He seemed to believe that you could have these kind of enlightened officials who would come to the right decisions. You could have so much planning in the economy. What he’s calling for was not what we think of as Keynesianism. As you say in the book, it is a much more radical view. It is a really fairly centrally planned economy to a certain extent is what he’s calling for. And what we see over and over again is that people are very flawed, leaders are very flawed. And his entire life he saw that his entire life was spent arguing with people who weren’t doing what he wanted to do. And yet he designs a theory that only works if people are always doing the right thing.

S4: Yeah, I think I think there are two sort of really interesting. I don’t know if paradox is the right word, but it is just disappointed by the British government his entire life. Really foundational moment for him is at the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 where he says you guys are big crazy. You’re imposing completely unpayable reparations on Germany. And this is going to be economically disastrous, not just for Germany, but for the rest of Europe and the UK itself. This is going to be totally awful. And his friends in Bloomsbury are like, yes, see, we told you the government sucks. What are you doing? Why are you working for the government? And he’s like, well, I need to figure out how to make the government work. The government, I swear to God, it’s we will find a way. But but he he knows know on one level he knows just how terrible the British government is and how terrible the British Empire is. But he also has this kind of idealized, like liberal imperialist vision of the British Empire, where I think it’s not too different from certain visions of American exceptionalism today, where the British Empire is bringing the rest of the world into progress and prosperity and democracy and goodness and light. And he he just can’t really let go of that idea that the British government can be this sort of useful guiding hand for for progress. And despite his own very, very clear knowledge that the government has failed him and the rest of the world very catastrophically and unquestionably in his mind within his own lifetime. So there’s this strange duality where he has this deep faith in the ability of the technocrats who he despises to lift the world to to a higher place. But he also just believes in this kind of deep human rationality. And I think it’s tempting to say that Keynes is that he favours this sort of technocratic control of things. But when you talk about when you look into his beliefs about how social change happens, how ideas become popular, it’s rooted in a deep faith in the ordinary person to rationally perceive the truth just as the truth. And that’s a very democratic kind of vision. And I think there are elements to both of these things that are deeply naive. But I also don’t know how to extract them from faith in democracy itself. If you really don’t believe that people can come to see the truth in the face of good arguments, then how can you really believe in democracy as a form of social organization?

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S5: Let’s talk a little bit about the legacy of Keynesianism. It fell out of favor for a while. So if you could explain a little bit like what that means for Keynesian ism to fall out of favor, what do you not do if you’re not a Keynesian? Then it comes back with this thing called neo Keynesianism. And maybe you can try and explain what the difference is between the Keynesian and the neocons. And maybe it’s just another word for Keynesian. And then as Victa stick to what comes next. We had Stephanie Kelton on the show. You mentioned her earlier. Modern monetary theory. Is that Keynesian in its own way? And we have another question from Steve d’Honneur basically saying, what about austerity? Is that the opposite of Keynesianism, is that the thing that we give up if we give up Keynesianism, what we get included in Keynesianism and what we get included in whatever the opposite is, I’ll try to tell a historical story that incorporates the austerity in there.

S4: So in the 1920s, when Keynes is really humming as a thinker, the sort of generally accepted view among British economists and economists on the European continent in the United States, economic history of economic theories like totally crazy and doesn’t follow these clear patterns. But in the 1920s, there’s this sort of idea that markets are supposed to correct for disturbances, imperfections, distortions, and included in those markets is labour markets. So if you have a problem where suddenly because of some unforeseen shock to the system, people start becoming unemployed, what will happen is that prices will lower. The price of labour will decline to the point at which all of those people who are unemployed will be able to get jobs again and the system will correct for itself. So the logic of austerity in this, Billu, is sort of let let markets correct so that the labour market can recover. Now, that is independent of the gold standard situation. It’s governing things in the nineteen twenties, governments can actually run out of money because their money is tied to a certain amount of gold. And if if your gold is moving to other countries through financial speculation or through a bad trade deficit, if you run out of money, you actually just can’t pay people. If there’s no gold, your paper is not worth anything. So governments do have to, in the situation, find ways to make sure that they actually don’t physically run out of money. Now, since the 1930s, depending on how you define the Bretton Woods gold exchange standard, certainly since the 1970s, countries are not in governments are not in a situation of money anymore. What you might have is a situation where governments spend so much money, they spend new money into existence. And you have a problem of inflation where there are too many dollars chasing, not enough, not enough economic activity. And that’s bad for various reasons. People don’t like inflation. They don’t like to see their savings evaporate through no fault of their own. But for Keynes, there’s not there isn’t one Keynesian theory. Over the course of his time as a thinker, we tend to focus on the general theory because it’s this big breakthrough that says, yes, it’s OK to do deficit spending and that feels like an important legitimizing event. But Keynes keeps doing economics and he gets increasingly radical as he gets older. So after he’s working on the Beveridge Plan, he’s he’s sort of the financial architect of nationalizing British medicine, for instance. He’s really is, I think, the financial architect of the modern British welfare state. And that guy in the nineteen forties is not the same guy in 1919 who is criticising the Treaty of Versailles. The economic ideas have changed and his sort of vision of what the possibilities are for humanity have changed. And there aren’t a whole lot of people who identify as Keynesians after World War Two who really embrace that full social welfare state sort of democratic socialism vision that Keynes has in nineteen forty four, nineteen forty five, nineteen forty six, right before he dies. What becomes popular in the late 1940s, early 1950s in the United States is a version of Keynesianism that says, look, the market works, people are rational. This whole business about uncertainty, we’re not going to worry about that. What happens is that sometimes something sometimes things happen, just shit happens. The economy gets thrown out of whack. The government’s got to act to make sure that the economy gets back to the state, which is the normal state of affairs where markets work and things self correct. And so you spend money in a recession to sort of get the mechanism back to working again. And by the 1960s, people like John Kenneth Galbraith are starting to say these tools that we use to get the economy back to normal are back to full employment. They have distributional effects that are not neutral. It does matter whether we cut taxes or spend more. It matters what we spend on when we spend things. And so he starts calling the type of Keynesianism that takes hold in the nineteen sixties and he starts calling that Galbraith does reactionary Keynesianism. He says we’re cutting taxes for rich people and exacerbating inequality in order to get the economy sort of back to level. And I think that’s kind of the Keynesian model that is at least philosophically dominant through the nineteen nineties, even into the Obama administration. I mean, people may disagree about what the right policies are, but the basic view is that there’s a market that’s out there and there’s a government that intervenes in that market. And the government is sort of unnatural. It’s it’s a distortion. And you have to use the government to get the market back to its normal state of putting humanity on a glide path to prosperity and the people who are. In that mill, you who are supporting these ideas are not necessarily conservatives like there are people like Joseph Stiglitz who I think espouses this basic philosophical vision, who’s very strong progressive guy. Right. He does not want to cut taxes on the rich and cut spending for the poor to make the economy get back to normal. But he does kind of believe that the market is out there doing its own thing and the government has a role to correct for distortions, but not to sort of shape the whole thing. And I think where you you get into sort of what was called post Keynesian for a while, what that really means is just the Keynesians who kept working on Keynesian ideas after Keynes died at Cambridge. So this is people like Joan Robinson, like Michael Kalicki. It’s just the Cambridge University staff. They don’t accept this basic distinction between the economy and the government. And they think that governments basically create markets. They think that markets are are a product of different legal forms. And I think that the closest thing to Cambridge style economics in the United States today is the movie crew, which used to be at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, and now is spread out all over the place. I don’t feel comfortable speaking on behalf of these guys because they don’t seem to have like they disagree with each other. So I don’t know I don’t know what movie, what the pure spirit of that movie is. But I think people like Stephanie Kelton and Nathan Tankas when they are at least talking about how inflation works, how money works, to me, that that seems very broadly Keynesian and the sort of nineteen thirty six to nineteen forty four Cain’s understanding of things which feels very radical to people who are from the other school because it basically says, you know, the government is the thing that does all of this. It’s not just the government doesn’t just intervene.

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S5: The government makes everything, the government creates money. The government is responsible for markets and it’s all government. So the government can do whatever it wants.

S7: OK, that was that Carter doing his book Things, but this is an episode of money, so we do need a numbers round.

S3: And what’s your number?

S1: My number is twenty three thousand. That is the number of letters that were addressed to Santa Claus through a United States Postal Service system that they have set up. And I was reading an article about this and they were listing some of the things that kids ask for this year. And it’s so sad because you have, like, a lot of these kids would be like, I just want to coronavirus vaccine to I mean, I also kids want like a five, but I want a five and a coronavirus vaccine.

S3: I just want it all. My number is 23 billion. I am exactly a million times more than you by number 23 billion is the number of dollars that has gone to the sponsors of the specs that went public in twenty twenty, which I don’t know how to even explain this in a lightning numbers round, but basically a whole bunch of companies went public which don’t do anything. They just sit on a bunch of money and wait until they can use it to buy it. Another company. But not all of the money goes to buy other companies. A bunch of it goes to the people who run the specs, the special purpose acquisition companies. If you add up how much money they have received this year, it’s twenty three billion dollars.

S8: Twenty three billion dollars. I guess they didn’t need much else for Christmas.

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S3: That’s enough money to buy the most expensive five on eBay, buy all the fires all over the place. Emily, what’s your number?

S8: My number, Feliks is 94. That is the age of Marilyn Hagerty, who is North Dakota’s most famous restaurant critic and is a national treasure.

S2: I love Marilyn Hagerty.

S3: Yes, she’s amazing. I mean, I can read her on garlic bread every week.

S8: Yes. She went viral in 2012 because she wrote an amazing review of the Olive Garden in North Dakota where she lives. And there’s another piece about her more recently in The New York Times talking about like her pandemic life as a restaurant critic. And I’m going to go ahead and say that it is a must read. You need to read everything about this woman. She is a treasure. She’s keeping busier than most journalists, I’d say, in this pandemic. She’s filing three times a week a range of pieces. And yeah, I think she’s a delight and I’m glad she exists.

S3: And when she can’t go into a restaurant because of covid, she just refused to take out.

S8: She gets the takeout and she’s been back to the Olive Garden. Very important exclusive reporting here. She’s been back to the Olive Garden and they did not give her enough olives in her salad. So that’s just something to be aware of.

S3: But she was nice about them because she’s one of those restaurant critics who will never actually say anything mean about anyone, ever.

S8: Yes, exactly. Which is kind of nice, especially in these times, especially in these times.

S3: If you want to read a restaurant review that you know is going to be a positive restaurant review, just head up Marilyn Hagerty.

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S6: They don’t all have to be takedowns, although I do enjoy reading a good takedown like a Pete Wells.

S3: Just scathing because we’re New Yorkers. Yeah. Yeah, that’s true. All right.

S7: OK, I think that’s it for a special Boxing Day edition of Slate Money.

S2: Thanks for hanging out with us. And we are going to do a Slate plus segment on our favorite books of the year. If you’re a Slate plus member, you’ll enjoy that one. Otherwise, thanks for e-mailing us. Sleep money at stake, dot com. And we will be with you next week with another episode of Sleep on the.

S7: Emily, yes, we have a sleepless thing going here. What was your favorite business slash financial book of 20 20?

S3: OK, you were mentally prepared for this one? Well, I thought about it a lot. It was your idea. It was not. It was not wasn’t actually my idea. Oh, it was an idea.

S8: I did read several business and finance books this year and they were fine. But like, I’m going to tell you that my favorite nonfiction book that I read this year is probably cast by Isabel Wilkerson, which I guess technically isn’t a business finance book, but was really eye opening. It’s about how African-Americans are a cast essentially in the United States, has a caste system like you would think India has. But we have it, too. And it’s a really delightful book. She has all these great anecdotes in it, including one of her own, which I guess is a little business here, because it’s an anecdote about her doing reporting for The New York Times and like going to meet a source in a store. And the source refuses to believe that she is a reporter for The New York Times because she’s African-American. He’s like, I can’t talk to you right now. I’m I’m late. And I’m supposed to meet this reporter from The New York Times. And she’s saying, like, that’s me. And he’s like, no, no, no. I don’t think so. Now, do you have any ID? And she’s like, I’m actually out of business cards right now. And he’s like, no, it’s not you. And she finally gets frustrated and leaves. And the store never winds up in The New York Times. And there’s all kinds of anecdotes like that. And it’s a really interesting and important book.

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S7: So that’s the one I’m recommending along those lines. I’m going to say that my favorite book of Twenty Twenty was Whistleblower by Susan Fowler, which kind of does for sexism what your book did for racism.

S3: In a way, it really opened my eyes not so much to the very obvious me to sexual harassment kind of stuff that we have covered quite a lot on this show. But to the much lower grade sexism that pervades companies like Uber and many, many other companies in Silicon Valley. And we have seen a prime example of that. I think Google this week with Tim Ibru, who got fired from Google for being a bit too loud. I guess in the ethics department, we can maybe talk about that whole debacle in the future episode, but it’s just a spectacularly, wonderfully written book. Susan Phala is a great writer and her story is absolutely astonishing. And almost no one could have done what she did and gone through what she did. And her personal history is amazing and I can highly recommend it.

S8: That was a great book. We never talked about it on the show. I don’t think I think we’re going to. But then something happened.

S3: We kept on trying to get her on and it was hard to schedule. And she was young city. And remember those days when we actually wanted people to be in the studio to record with us?

S8: Vaguely. That sounds like something that might have happened one time. Yes. The before times.

S3: Do you think that will ever happen again? Yes, I’m optimistic.

S1: Yes. Yes. Optimistic optimists. Yes. And that book was really good about a good job. And what’s your favorite book? So my favorite book, I will say it is not a book that was published in Twenty Twenty, but it is my favorite finance book that I read in Twenty Twenty. It’s Lords of Finance by and look at how bad I hope I’m pronouncing his name correctly. I’m probably not. This was actually published around the last financial crisis, which was part of the reason that I kind of decided I wanted to read it when this one began. And its subtitle is The Bankers Who Broke the World. And it’s about four central bankers. And in the period between the World Wars and how the large role they played in society at that time in a way similar to the very large role that central bankers play now. And it actually covers a lot of the same territory that the Keynes book covers. Obviously, that’s slightly different because it’s from many different perspectives. But it is just it is a wonderful book. It is. It is wonderfully written. He clearly has a very sophisticated knowledge of finance. And you can see that in the way the book is written. However, you don’t need to know a tremendous amount about it, finance to enjoy it. It’s just if you do, it’s even better.

S3: It is a great book. I can I can recommend it to and yeah, three great books.

S7: Go out, read them, buy them, support. Your local bookseller needs all the help they can get. Those are finance, whistleblower and cost. And thanks for listening to Slate plus.