From Alpha To Omega
Critical Thinking & In Depth Interviews
#050 The Matrix
June 27, 2014 03:00 PM PDT
This week I am delighted to welcome back the economist, economic historian, and extremely prolific author, Professor Michael Perelman of the California State University, Chico. We talk about the latest book he is working on: 'The Matrix: An exploratory political economy of the dangerous, paradoxical interactions between war, the economy, and economic ideology'.
You can check out the Professors books here:
And here is his blog:
Enjoy!#049 Cold Fusion, Brains, and Computers
May 20, 2014 02:14 PM PDT
This week I am delighted to welcome back to the show, the renowned mathematician and computer-scientist, Prof Gregory Chaitin. We discuss his new paper: 'Conceptual Complexity and Algorithmic Information', which details his thoughts on a new theory of the brain, and what it would mean for consciousness. We also talked about another passion of the Professor - low energy nuclear reactions, or as it is more commonly known, ‘Cold-Fusion’. In the past episodes, we've talked with a number of people about the coming energy and environmental crises. Now we get a chance to hear some positive news from the more eclectic end of the research spectrum.
You can find the paper we discuss here:
The Professors website is here:
And you can find all his books over here:
Enjoy!#048 Whither Underconsumptionism?
March 28, 2014 02:53 PM PDT
This week we have the second part of our interview with Professor Andrew Kliman. We continue our discussion about his latest book - ‘The Failure of Capitalist Production’ - and in particular focus on Andrews critique of the Underconsumptionist Theory of Crisis, which is pretty dominant on the Marxist and non-Marxist left alike. We hear how the empirical evidence sits squarely in the face of this theory, what role financialisation has actually played in the economy, and the similarities between Keynesianism and Underconsumptionism. We also talk about the new book Andrew is working on, and just how impressed I am by how well Marx’s theories are able to explain the world around us today.
You can find the article for the New Left Project that Andrew mentions in the interview, critiquing Sam Gindin's view of the crisis as financial, here:
And you can find Sam Gindins response to Andrew here:
Enjoy!#047 The Failure of Capitalist Production
March 14, 2014 05:35 PM PDT
This week I am delighted to have Prof. Andrew Kliman back on the show to talk about his latest book - ‘The Failure of Capitalist Production’. The book is a brilliant example of empirical economic research, and shows us how relevant and insightful Marx’s work still is, in helping us understand the workings of our capitalist economy.
We discuss the empirical evidence in the US that supports Marx's Tendential Fall in the Rate of Profit, the stagnation of capital accumulation, and the role of the IT revolution in the state of the economy. We also talk of the Great Depression, how it sowed the seeds for the renewal of the global economy, and what is behind the growing inequality we see around us today.
You can find Andrew's book on sale here: (I very much recommend buying a copy!)
And his blog is here:
Enjoy!#046 Engines, Entropy, and Value
February 22, 2014 01:42 AM PST
This week our guest is Dr. William Paul Cockshott, a reader in the Computer Science Department of Glasgow University. Paul was trained as an economist, then as a computer scientist, and he has made contributions to the fields of image compression, 3D television, and parallel compilers. He is also known for his work in applying econophysics to classical economics, the field of economic computability, and as the co-author of the book 'Towards a new Socialism', advocating for the more efficient and democratic planning of a complex economy.
In this show we discuss the origins of classical political economy, and how it was influenced by the rapid advances in the world of physics. We talk of the importance of Watt and his steam engine, the development of the theories of thermodynamics and entropy, and their importance in economy. The work of Babbage and Alan Turing also get a mention, as well as the human as universal robot. We also discuss the overwhelming empirical evidence for Marx’s Labor Theory of Value, why it is that it works, and the importance of the work of previous guest Prof. Gregory Chaitin in the modern factory. Oh yes, and some roman pottery, chinese crossbows from the Qin Dynasty, and how difficult it is to fold your clothes.
You can find his books, talks, and research on his website here:#045 Dollar Hegemony
January 31, 2014 03:16 PM PST
This week our guest is Matias Vernengo. Matias is an Associate Professor of Economics, at Bucknell University, and a former Senior Manager of Economic Research at the Central Bank of Argentina. He blogs regularly at his site Naked Keynesianism, as well as for Triple Crisis, and is currently the co-editor of the Review of Keynesian Economics. We discuss a paper he recently co-authored with David Fields on the hegemonic role of the Dollar in the world economy. We talk of the advantages of being the worlds reserve currency, the Bretton Woods agreement, Nixon closing the gold window, the Triffin Dilemma, threats to the dominance of the dollar in world trade, and the irrelevance of gold in today’s financial system.
You can find his excellent blog here:
The Triple Crisis blog here:
And the Review of Keynesian Economics Journal here:
You can also find the paper we discuss here:
Enjoy!#044 Sins Of The Father
January 15, 2014 03:37 PM PST
This week our guest is Conor McCabe. Conor is a Research Fellow in the School of Social Justice in University College Dublin, and has just released the second edition of his book, 'Sins of the Father: Tracing the Decisions That Shaped the Irish Economy'.
The book is a brilliant class analysis of the Irish economy since the origins of the state, and seeks to give a deep systemic structural analysis to the causes of the crisis, and to help explain why things panned out the way they did. We discuss the Garden Cities of Ebenezer Howard, Irish economic policy and the British Empire, the rise of land speculation in Ireland, an extravagantly pointless Irish hotel, NAMA - the worlds largest property company, which owns all the worthless toxic commercial property in Ireland. Amongst other things...
You can find Conor's book here: (It's well worth the read...)
Happy New Year!#043 The Falling Rate of Learning
December 17, 2013 08:27 AM PST
The guest on this years Christmas edition is David Blacker. David is a Professor of Philosophy of Education and Legal Studies at the University of Delaware. His academic background is in the history of philosophy, and his writings pursue insights from that tradition within the context of contemporary education problems. His essays have appeared in the Monthly Review magazine, and he has just released an excellent new book, called, ‘The Falling Rate of Learning and the Neoliberal Endgame’, which looks at how the educational world is being affected by Marx’s law of the falling rate of profit. We discuss many of the themes of the book, including: determinism vs free will, base vs superstructure, the 'Ye Deluder Satan' Act, student debt and neo-feudalism, radical youth movements, and the utility of a stoic pessimism.
You can buy his book here:
And you can find the monthly review here:
Happy Xmas!#042 Oh So Reserved
November 23, 2013 03:43 PM PST
This week our guest is Dan Kervick. By day Dan works in the book publishing industry. By night, Dan is an independent scholar, specialising in the work of the British Philosopher David Hume, and a regular blogger on progressive and egalitarian economics over on:
We discuss the institutional working of the banking system, how reserves really work, bubble blowing and the logic of quantitative easing, military Keynesianism, and the role of capital flows in the modern economy.#041 PV or not PV
November 08, 2013 04:20 PM PST
This week our guest is Dr Marco Raugei. Marco is a Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences, Oxford Brookes University (UK), and a Senior Researcher with the UNESCO Chair in Life Cycle and Climate Change of ESCI - Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona (Spain). His main research interests are in theoretical improvements of existing approaches for environmental sustainability assessment, and the development of strategic energy supply scenarios, with special focus on photovoltaic (PV) technologies. He has also been actively contributing to the theoretical and methodological advancement of Emergy Synthesis, which looks at human-dominated processes and systems as parts of and ultimately supported by the larger system in which they are embedded, namely the global geo-biosphere.
You can sometimes find his writings on Ugo Bardi’s blog:
We discuss his work on renewable energy, in particular his work on the current state of Photovoltaic or PV systems. We learn about the key differences between Energy Returned on Energy Invested and efficiency, bootstrapping fossil fuels to build a renewable future, re-organisation of our current economic system, and renewable energy’s storage problems.
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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