Economics
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Episode 17
Featuring Robert Johnson
Economics
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Episode 17
Featuring Robert Johnson
Demetri Kofinas speaks with Robert Johnson about political economy, inequality, and technocracy. How does money drive politics? How have markets and the economy changed in the years after the fall of communism and the rise of the Washington Consensus? Johnson also recounts his famous trade with George Soros against the Bank of England.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, host Demetri Kofinas speaks with Robert Johnson, about the political economy, inequality, and the failings of our technocratic institutions. Dr. Johnson serves as President of the Institute for New Economic Thinking and is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Global Finance Project for the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York. Robert Johnson served for many years as a Managing Director for George Soros at Soros Fund Management and was part of the famous team of speculators that broke the bank of England in 1992, forcing the pound out of ERM. He served as Chief Economist of the US Senate Banking Committee under the leadership of Chairman William Proxmire, and before this, as Senior Economist of the US Senate Budget Committee under the leadership of Chairman Pete Domenici.

 

Black Wednesday was almost 25 years ago to the day. How has global finance, international trade, foreign exchange, and financial deregulation changed the landscape of speculation in the years since? How has a decline in productivity, a collapse in marginal costs, a rise in total debt, along with an aging demographic laid the groundwork for a rise in populism? What is the role of experts, and how has faith in technocrats and academics declined in recent years? How do we defend our liberal, democratic institutions absent convincing academics, trustworthy politicians, and inspirational leaders? How do we get the money out of politics when politics is so beholden to money? How do we reform a corrupt government that is in bed with Wall Street – a government that is beholden to multinational corporations and co-mingled with industrial military companies whose very profitability is dependent on multi-billion dollar federal contracts? It is time for us to become educated on how our political economy works, because if we don’t have the knowledge to call out “the experts,” then we are powerless to affect the very changes that we seek to induce.

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation at @hiddenforcespod

 

Play
Episode 18
Featuring Samuel Bowles
Episode 18
Featuring Samuel Bowles

Robert Johnson serves as President of the Institute for New Economic Thinking and a Senior Fellow and Director of the Global Finance Project for the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute in New York. Johnson is an international investor and consultant to investment funds on issues of portfolio strategy. He recently served on the United Nations Commission of Experts on International Monetary Reform under the Chairmanship of Joseph Stiglitz.

 

Previously, Johnson was a Managing Director at Soros Fund Management where he managed a global currency, bond and equity portfolio specializing in emerging markets. Prior to working at Soros Fund Management, he was a Managing Director of Bankers Trust Company managing a global currency fund. Johnson served as Chief Economist of the US Senate Banking Committee under the leadership of Chairman William Proxmire (D. Wisconsin). Before this, he was Senior Economist of the US Senate Budget Committee under the leadership of Chairman Pete Domenici (R. New Mexico). Johnson was an Executive Producer of the Oscar winning documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side, directed by Alex Gibney, and is the former President of the National Scholastic Chess Foundation. He currently sits on the Board of Directors of both the Economic Policy Institute and the Campaign for America’s Future. Johnson received a Ph.D. and M.A. in Economics from Princeton University and a B.S. in both Electrical Engineering and Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

 

@rjocean

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