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From Alpha To Omega
Critical Thinking & In Depth Interviews
#031 When The Invisible Hand Shakes
May 18, 2013 05:59 AM PDT
After a brief holiday to bask in the cold and brutal wet weather of Ireland and England, the show is back on the road, fueled up, and raring to go. This weeks guest is Professor Alan Freeman, where we talk about the falling rate of profit, crises of capitalism, and our way out of the current economic mire.
The interview is loosely based about a paper of his just published in the Journal of Australian Political Economy called: The Profit Rate in the Presence of Financial Markets: A Necessary Correction.
You can see him talking about it at the recent Historical Materialism conference in New York:
Alan is a retired but research-active cultural economist. He formerly worked for the Mayor of London's Economic Analysis Unit where he was responsible for the Living Wage, Innovation, and the Cultural and Creative Industries. He is co-editor, with Radhika Desai, of a new book series entitled 'the Future of World Capitalism', published by Pluto Books. He is one of a 'small club' of economists who predicted the crash of 2008, and in 2008 he also predicted that the economic crisis would not leave the industrialised countries until these countries undertook public investment on the scale associated with US government spending during World War II (about 55% of GDP). He is a visiting Professor at London Metropolitan University where he works on the Cities Cultural and Creative Evidence project, and currently lives in Winnipeg, Canada.
Enjoy!#030 Ice Ice Baby
April 20, 2013 02:57 AM PDT
This week we speak to Professor Peter Wadhams, Professor of Ocean Physics, and Head of the Polar Ocean Physics Group in the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, at the University of Cambridge. Prof. Wadhams is an expert in Arctic sea-ice, and is a review editor for the physical sciences component of the upcoming 2014 IPCC (or Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ) Fifth Assessment Report. We discuss the precarious nature of the Arctic Sea-Ice, the end of summer ice altogether, the problems with the IPCC reports, climate tipping points, the release of massive quantities of methane into the atmosphere, and likelihood of Southern Europe turning into desert in this century.
Enjoy!#029 I Need Brains (And a Little Oil)
April 06, 2013 01:42 AM PDT
Welcome to the 1st anniversary of the 'From Alpha To Omega' podcast.
A big thank you to everybody who took part in the shows, the listeners, and all of those who have donated money to the podcast to help keep it ticking over. Hopefully the next year will see the show grow it's audience and expand the topics covered.
You can find KMO's prolific podcasting output over at:
Or on his podomatic feed here:
Enjoy!#028 The Vanguard Party
March 23, 2013 09:10 AM PDT
This weeks guest is the C Derick Varn, Poet, Lecturer, and resident of South Korea. Derick writes for ‘The (Dis)Loyal Opposition Blog’, and includes among his interests: alternative visions of the future, the failures of nationalist Marxism, early Leninism, and the relationship between anarchism and Marxism.
Derick has also just interviewed myself, for his Blog, where I get to expound a few of my own opinions for a change. If you are interested in reading these incoherent babbles, you can find them here:
Here is the link to his blog:
And you can also find him appearing regularly on the 'Pop The Left' Podcast
Enjoy!#027: Capital Escape Velocity
March 09, 2013 03:20 AM PST
This weeks guest is the Jazz Pianist, Marxist, and YouTube Star Brendan Cooney, who has blazed a trail for himself on YouTube with his totally cool videos explaining Marx’s insights into the functioning of our capitalist economic system. He also is the man behind the Kapitalism101 blog. We discuss the success or failure of the Occupy movement, and critique it’s organisational structure. We also talk of Marx’s Critique of the Gotha program, a 19th century radical proposal of today's German Social Democratic Party, and the abject failures of the 20th century’s attempts to overturn capitalist forms of production.
You can find Brendans blog here:
And his large tranche of excellent Marx related videos over here:
Enjoy...#026: The Transformation Problem
February 23, 2013 01:59 AM PST
This week we welcome back Prof. Andrew Kliman to the show, where we discuss Marx’s value theory, his book ‘Reclaiming Marx’s Capital’ where he tries to dispel some of the myths surrounding Marx’s theories, and the Tendential Fall in the Rate of Profit. I've recently just finished his book, and would recommend it to anyone wishing to get a deeper understanding of the issues we discuss in this show.
You can find the Professors books here:
And here is his website:
Enjoy!#025: Plundering The Planet
February 09, 2013 11:01 AM PST
This weeks guest is Ugo Bardi, Professor of Physical Chemistry at the University of Florence. He specialises in resource depletion, system dynamics modeling, climate science and renewable energy. He is also a member of the scientific committee of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas, or ASPO, is the president ASPO Italy, and a contributor to the Oil Drum, the best energy blog on the web. He is the author of several books, including "The Limits to Growth Revisited”, his upcoming book "Plundering The Planet", and even finds time to write his own excellent blog, Cassandra’s Legacy. Our discussion covers the role of volcano's, Georg Bauer, the father of mining, space aliens, and climate change.
You can find his blogging work here:
And here is where you can get a hold of his books:
Also, a few weeks ago, I was interviewed for a recent episode of Doug Lains dietsoap podcast, where we talk of Marx, Keynes, and money. You can find the show here: http://douglaslain.net/diet-soap-podcast-170-money/
Enjoy....#024: Neoliberalism & Hayek's Delusion
January 26, 2013 03:29 AM PST
This week we welcome back Philip Pilkington to the show to talk about his latest writings on the life and times of Friedrich Hayek, the ideologue behind the Neoliberal project. Philip came over to my house this week and we sat about and waxed lyrical on such highfalutin topics as Classical Liberalism, Neoliberalism and Ordoliberalism. We also got around to political propoganda and the Mont Perelin society, the similarities between the far right and Leninism, and how, after Hayek's nefarious influence, our politics has never been the same again...
You can find Philip’s writing on the Naked Capitalist blog, the third most popular economics blog on the web.
Enjoy!#023: Fiscal Cliffs and Inflation Shocks
January 12, 2013 02:24 AM PST
Our guest week this week is Prof. Stephanie Kelton, Assistant Professor of Macroeconomics, Finance, and Money and Banking at the University of Missouri, Kansas City. We continue our exploration of Modern Monetary Theory, where we talk about full employment and the job guarantee, the fiscal cliff and the euro crisis, and the role of bond vigilantes and inflation, in times of energy crises.
Professor Kelton writes regularly for the 'New Economic Perspectives' blog, where you can find some of the best heterodox economists on the planet posting their work.
You can check it out here: http://neweconomicperspectives.org/
Enjoy!#022: A Christmas Scale
December 29, 2012 02:45 AM PST
On this Christmas episode, our theoretical physicist guest is Geoffrey West, Professor and former President of the Sante Fe Institute. We discuss his recent groundbreaking work in the world of biological and social complexity. In the last few years, the Professor has applied his high-energy atom smashing physics know-how, to the field of biology and came up with some startlingly general results, which give us deep insights into all sorts of things, from the life-expectancy of a mouse and the efficiency of cities, to the very nature of our social systems, and their limits.
Astounding stuff.... Enjoy!
PS The show is now on twitter.... the follow button is just over there on the left hand side of the web page.
PPS A very merry Christmas to all you listeners.#021: A Fitting Intermezzo
December 15, 2012 02:01 AM PST
This week we talk with the Jazz pianist, band leader, teacher and composer, Dorian Ford. I met Dorian at a jazz gig a couple of months ago, and since we couldn't stop talking about music that night, I thought why not get him on the show. A welcome departure from all the god-damn politics and economics. Within the walls of our musical meander, we discuss the history of jazz, it’s relation to classical music, and the effects of the ‘academisation’ of the modern american classical music, that we call Jazz. We also talk about how music is a function of it’s economic and cultural conditions, and the K-Pop phenomenon that is Gangnam Style.
Dorian Ford describes himself as a piano player. He also is leader of the eponymous Dorian Ford Quartet, who I was lucky enough to catch last month playing at the newly opened St. James Theatre Studio in Victoria, London. He is also the programmer for the gigs at St. James Theatre every Friday night, where you can hear the finest in Jazz and Roots music perform in a really great setting.
If you’d like to find out more about these gigs or the man himself, you can check out his blog: http://dorianfordjazzandroots.tumblr.com/
Or his website: http://www.dorianford.co.uk/.
Enjoy...#020: So You Want To Participate?
December 01, 2012 02:53 AM PST
This week we talk with journalist and author Iain Bruce about the history of the Brazilian Workers Party, their experiments with direct democracy. the political philosophy of the Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, and the geopolitics of South America. We also discuss the hopes for direct democracy, something I hope to cover further, in future shows.
Iain Bruce is a British journalist and filmmaker. He is the author of ‘The Porto Alegre Alternative: Direct Democracy in Action’, and ‘The Real Venezuela: Making Socialism in the 21st Century’, and has made documentaries for Channel 4 and the BBC. In the past he has worked as the BBC correspondent in Caracas, Venezuela, as an adviser to Telesur, the Latin American news channel based in Venezuela, and currently finds himself in Qatar plying his trade with Al Jazeera.
And you can buy his books here:
Enjoy!#019: Marx & MMT
November 20, 2012 04:00 PM PST
This week we hold a chat with Professor Mathew Forstater of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. We talk about the role of primitive accumulation in the rise of capitalism, how government taxes were a tool of primitive accumulation in the colonies, and how it continues to work it's magic in today's economic system. Marx's thoughts on fiat currency get a hearing, as does the role of America’s deficit and their government debt. For our US listeners, it explains the stupidity of the current 'Grand Bargain' Obama has under negotiation, the ideology of it all, and the likely outcomes. Enjoy!#018: A Need For A Rational Politics
November 10, 2012 01:14 AM PST
This week we have part two of our talk with Professor Andrew Kliman of Pace University. This week we turn our thoughts to the dynamism of capitalism and the soviet experiment, the short-term asymmetric advantages of capitalism, and the revolutionary strategies of Karl Marx.
Those in New York, can go to see the Professor debate about the crisis, with a panel of very eminent Marxists, indeed! All courtesy of the Platypus Affiliated Society....
You can check out Professor Klimans books here:
And his blog is here:
Enjoy....#017: Kliman All Over The Rate Of Profit
October 26, 2012 04:55 PM PDT
This week we talk to Professor Andrew Kliman, about the current economic crisis, and what Karl Marx would make of it all. Professor Kliman, is a Professor of Economics at Pace University and author of several publications on Marxian economics, including the books Reclaiming Marx’s “Capital”, and ‘The Failure of Capitalist Production: Underlying Causes of the Great Recession’. We talk of Marx's labour theory of value, the falling rate of profit, production for productions sake, and what Marx would think about the insights of the post-keynesian, Hyman Minsky.
The Professor is a leading proponent of the Temporal Single System Interpretation of Marx's labor theory, which defends Marx’s cconomic theories against various claims of its inconsistency from other economists. I’m currently reading Das Kapital myself, so it’s a real treat to hear what one of the worlds foremost Marxists has to say about the current economic situation.
You can buy his books here:
You can check out his blog here:
October 13, 2012 07:31 AM PDT
This week we talk to farmer and permaculturist extraordinaire, Paul Wheaton. Paul has just returned from his ‘Symphonies in Seed and Soil’ speaking tour of America, and currently finds himself trying to buy a new farm up there in Montana. He runs: www.Permies.com, the worlds most popular Permaculture forums and website, and is a prolific podcaster in his own right.
We talk of chickens and pigs, American culture and the metric system, moving earth and building ponds, agri-business and industrial farming. Unfortunately skype ate some of the interview, so I wasn't able to include the question where he told me exactly how tall he his. All I can say for certain, is that he is order of magnitudes taller than my spindly frame.
Here is his podcast: http://www.richsoil.com/permaculture/
Here is his brilliant and very popular youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/paulwheaton12
Enjoy!#015: The Waste-Lands of the Euro
October 01, 2012 01:48 PM PDT
Today’s guest, Yanis Varoufakis, is a Greek Political Economist and Professor of Economic Theory at the University of Athens, and an expert in game-theory. We discuss the flawed design of the Euro, Francois Mitterand and Jacques Delors, the ECB and the Germans, the rise of a Greek Nazi Party and the spectre of Kosovo and Euro Waste-Lands.
Yanis is a leading heterodox economist, the author of ‘The Global Minotaur - America, The True Origins of the Financial Crisis and the Future of the World Economy’, and prolifically pens his thoughts on his blog:
You can check out his bibliography here:
Enjoy!#014: The Phenomenology Of Doug
September 15, 2012 06:35 AM PDT
This weeks guest is Doug Lain. Doug is a fiction writer, blogger, pop philosopher and political radical. He is also the host of the most excellent ‘Dietsoap’ podcast. We talk of philosophy and Hegel, reality tunnels and ideology, Slavoj Zizek and the surreal, Winnie the Pooh and the Labyrinth. Doug’s novel ‘Billy Moon: 1968’ is due out from Tor Books in 2013. He also has a new monthly podcast coming out in September with Derick C. Varn called ‘Pop The Left’ where they hope to give a critical analysis of the left, from a leftists perspective. If you know what's good for you, you should check out the Dietsoap podcast and Doug's writing on his interweb site:
You can also find his books for purchase here:
Enjoy!#013: I'm Keen On The Jubilee!
August 30, 2012 12:14 PM PDT
On this weeks show, we speak to the world reknowned economist Steve Keen, Professor of Economics and Finance at the University of Western Sydney. Steve was one of the few economists in the world to predict the current crisis in detail, years before it happened. He did it so well, in fact, that he won the award for being the economist who first and most accurately warned the world of the coming global financial crisis. Steve considers most economists and the standard neoclassical synthesis as deluded, and wrote the brilliant ‘Debunking Economics’, where he lays it all out in gorey detail. We speak of debt jubilees and speculation, Minsky & Mark, Chaos Theory and Anarchy, Peak Oil and the likely coming collapse of human population.
You can check out his brilliant blog here: http://debtdeflation.com/blogs
Steve has also just launched a subscription based service where you can get first dibs at his latest research and you can join in on subscriber-only discussions on the web: http://debunkingeconomics.com/
Here is where you can purchase a copy of 'Debunking Economics':
Enjoy!#012: Speaking Of Marx
August 16, 2012 03:12 PM PDT
This week we talk to ‘Heiko Khoo’’. Heiko is a Marxist who has been a speaker at London’s Speakers corner since 1986. He has a specialist interest in the Marxist analysis and critique of China and former soviet type regimes. He frequently contributes to the online journal, karlmarx.net. Heiko recently began a walking tour company www.Marxwalks.com that runs weekly walking tours in London on the life and ideas of Karl Marx. Our conversation will meander across a number of issues, from Speakers Corner, to political activism in East Berlin, from Trotsky to Old Labour, and from the Occupy Movement to the extent of state capitalism and state communism in China. It's refreshing to hear from a real life revolutionary! Enjoy!#011: Post (Keynesian) Modern Money
August 05, 2012 08:51 AM PDT
We are joined by Professor L. Randall Wray this week, an economist and expert in Modern Monetary Theory. Prof. Wray also blogs over at 'New Economic Perspectives', which tries it's best, amongst other things, to dispel the myths surrounding our monetary system. We discuss the origins of money, Chartalism, the German Colonies and Stone money, the nature of government debt, the problems with the euro, commodity price speculation, Bill Clinton's budget surpluses, and regime change in the US.
Prof. Wray has a new book coming out next month. You can find it on Amazon here:
You can check out his postings on the most excellent blog:
Over and Ooot!#010: Living Through The Monetarist Experiment
July 19, 2012 10:20 PM PDT
This weeks guest is Philip Pilkington, a prolific economic contributor to the excellent ‘Naked Capitalism’ blog. 'Naked Capitalism' is one of the most visited economics blog on the web, featuring some of the top Political Economy bloggers on the planet. The show is loosely based around a series Philip wrote for the blog on Monetarism - the economic theories of Milton Friedman. We cover such rocky territory as the intellectual battles between the Keynesians and Monetarists, the Austrian School of Economics and Political Propaganda, Maggie Thatcher and class war, Union Busting and Military Coups, Finance vs Industry, and the return of the Gold Standard.
July 13, 2012 06:35 PM PDT
This weeks episode features a seminal Noam Chomsky lecture from 1970 entitled ‘Government In The Future’. Noam Chomsky is quite simply the greatest living intellectual, and a wonderful human being. In this lecture, he gives a historical and philosophical look at the four great governmental structures: classic liberalism, libertarian socialism, state capitalism and state socialism. His analysis, in particular of our system - state capitalism - is stark and accurate. He gives a novel and highly functional description of the role of the cold war, and discusses the nature of power and democratic governance. This weeks show is hopefully one of the first in a line of overtly political shows
Enjoy!#008: Everybody Needs A Plan
June 27, 2012 05:31 AM PDT
This week we are joined by the masked crusader, Glaucus, who runs the town and city planning blog 'Planning Down'. Glaucus, city planner by day, and anonymous planning theorist by night, introduces us to the ideas behind his cross-disciplinary approach to planning the towns and cities of the future. We talk of cities as metabolic organisms, the industrial revolution, Jevon's paradox, feedback loops, consumerism, and Obama’s national defense authorisation act and indefinite detention without trial.
You can check out Glacus's highly engaging blog here:
If you are interested in reading more about any of the topics in today's show, you can check out the blog's bibliography here:
I love it when a plan comes together....#007: A Permaculture Life In The Country
June 14, 2012 06:08 AM PDT
Colette O'Neill, the creative genius behind the Bealtaine Cottage permaculture small-holding in the west of Ireland and the 'A Life In The Country' blog, is this weeks guest. We chat about her love of permaculture, how she decided to give up her career as a teacher in London and return to Ireland to turn an old bachelors cottage and 3-acres of poor land in the wilds of County Roscommon into an oasis of abundance. We hear of forest gardens, stylish wooden verandas, her pantry, ancient burial sites, fairy rings, living outside the monetary system, the cuckoo, and space travel.
You can check out her blog here:
If her blog makes you jealous, then her youtube channel might tip you over the edge:
Go raibh míle maith agat....#006: Money For The People, Right On!
June 01, 2012 10:54 PM PDT
I popped over to the PositiveMoney.org HQ this week, to talk to Ben Dyson about their monetary reform campaign. They are seeking to wrest the power of money creation away from the banks, and put it under democratic control - no more of that debt based money please! We talk about the origins of our current monetary system, the pathetic understanding of money by mainstream economists, and the benefits to the common people of monetary and banking reform. We also discuss the heterodox economics of Modern Monetary Theory(MMT), and I rant a little on this topic at the end of the show.
You can check out more about positive money here:
And you can buy their book explaining how the monetary system in the UK works here:
Ben also features in the new feature length documentary about the issue called '97% Owned'(well worth watching):
I have also managed to get the show loaded to the iTunes store, so people can download it from there. Here is link:
For those of you interested in finding out more about Modern Monetary Theory(MMT), you should check out this blog, where you can find articles by leading experts in the field like Randy Wray, and Warren Mosler:
Laters...#005: Absolutely Positively Deadly Certain
May 19, 2012 01:58 AM PDT
This week, we see a return to the topic of economic, environmental, and political collapse. We are delighted to welcome the Russian-American author, blogger extraordinaire, and all-round expert in collapse that is Dmitry Orlov. Dmitry grew up in Russian, and moved to America with his family in the 1970's. He returned to Russian a number of times during the collapse of the Soviet system and sees striking parallels with the western economic system of today. We talk of his 'Comparative Theory of Superpower Collapse', his model of the five stages of collapse, Noam Chomsky's Propaganda model, and his latest opus 'Absolutely Positive', an e-book of 30 of his most popular essays.
You should check out his brilliant blog at:
His latest ebook 'Absolutely Positive' can be found here:
His earlier book, 'Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Experience and American Prospects' is a must read, for anybody interested in these topics:
Enjoy!#004: (Dis)Proving Darwin
May 10, 2012 06:07 AM PDT
This weeks episode sees a much needed change in focus - be gone all that talk of capitalist exploitation and systemic failure! Today we talk with world renowned mathematician, computer scientist, and philosopher Professor Gregory Chaitin about his latest work. Prof. Chaitin has spent the last number of years trying to come up with a mathematical proof of the power of evolution - how evolutionary randomness is practically as good as divine creation! Amazing stuff, indeed. During this work, he came to the realisation that the standard theory of evolutionary genetics is probably completely wrong, and discusses the latest revolutionary thoughts in the field of biology. We also discuss Gödel's seminal 'incompleteness' theorem, it's far reaching implications for philosophy, spirituality, and epistemology. Von Neumann's Theory of Cellular Automata and Turing's work on the computer also get a mention, and we finish with Professor Chaitin's hope for a mathematical theory of consciousness. Quite a heady mix. Please don't be scared off by the talk of theorems - you will likely miss an interview with one of the true intellectual giants of our time.
You can buy Professor Chaitins new work here:
And here is the full back catalogue of the Professors writings: (much recommended)
Enjoy!#003: Sex, Lies, & Economics
April 26, 2012 06:11 AM PDT
This week we are joined by Professor Michael Perelman of the California State University, Chico. He is an economist and economic historian of the Marxian bent, a prolific author, and the writer of the award-wining blog 'Unsettling Economics'. We start off with a discussion of his upcoming book: 'Sex, Lies, & Economics', which tells the story of the zany, dishonest, violent, and hugely prolific lives of the early great economists. We also talk about Cromwell, the Scottish Highland clearances, duelling with butchers axes in darkened basements, the potato, Gulliver's Travels, the East-Asian tiger economies, the end of Empire, and how to use cucumbers as an energy source.
Make sure to check out the Professor's blog at:
And while your at it, why not buy one of his books as well:
The show also features the music of 'w@rd', a listener and anti-authoritarian, folk-punk, protest musician. You can find more of his music here:
Over and Out.#002: The Centre Cannot Hold!
April 17, 2012 04:29 PM PDT
This weeks guest is David Korowicz, physicist and human systems ecologist. He is the author of Tipping Point: Near-Term Systemic Implications of a Peak in Global Oil Production, and a contributor to the excellent 'Fleeing Vesuvius' - available in all good bookshops and Amazon! In this episode he gives us the low-down on the likelihood of a systemic economic collapse, and what to expect in the coming years. When he is not helping out with Feasta, the Foundation for Economic Stability, and Comhar, Ireland's Sustainable Development Council, David is writing a new piece of research entitled 'Trade Off', about the effects of a seizure in the global finance markets on trade. David really has a birds eye view of the totality of our economic and environmental systems, and the outlook ain't pretty! So kick back and enjoy....#001: Energy & The Wealth Of Nations
April 06, 2012 04:54 AM PDT
In this, the first episode of From Alpha To Omega, I interview Dr. Charles A.S. Hall co-author of the new book 'Energy & The Wealth Of Nations - Understanding the Biophysical Economy'. We talk about the origins of wealth, empire, the intellectual horror-scape that is neo-classical economics, peak-oil, and the limits to growth. I also give a brief outline on the philosophy of the podcast, with a nod to the wise sage that is Noam Chomsky.
Hosted by Tom O'Brien this podcast hopes to feature in-depth interviews with leading figures in the fields of Economics, Peak Oil, Democracy, Politics, Science, Mathematics, Philosophy, Complex Systems, Agnosticism, Permaculture, Collapse, and the Environment.
This human is interested in lots of things, and finds specialisation an offense to the human spirit. Some of the topics this human is interested in are: economics, environment, energy, democracy, philosophy, politics, science, mathematics, literature, music, film, and other humans.
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