#24: Saving Capitalism - Luigi Zingales


Trump. Cronyism. Inequality. Monopolies. Weren’t we promised better than this? What happened to a “new nation, conceived in Liberty"?  What’s happening to capitalism?

Professor Luigi Zingales knows a thing or two about the destructive powers of nepotism and corruption. Emigrating from the land of Berlusconi to the home of the brave, he received his PhD in economics from MIT in 1992, before joining the Chicago Booth School of Business. He has written two acclaimed books, A Capitalism for the People (2012) and Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists (2003), the latter being hailed as “one of the most powerful defences of the free market ever written" by the National Review Online. In 2014 Luigi was the President of the American Finance Association, and in 2015 he became the director of the Stigler Center at the University of Chicago, which he has refocused on the various distortions that special interest groups impose on capitalism. He also co-developed the Financial Trust Index, which is designed to monitor the level of trust that Americans have towards their financial system.

In this conversation, the Swagmen prepare for a tour de force on American Capitalism. Luigi shows how we can combat populism, reclaim meritocracy, and even opens up about why the US government should break up mammoths like Amazon. Strap yourselves in for an uncommon discussion with an exceptional guest!

Show notes:

A Capitalism for the People - Luigi Zingales
- Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists - Luigi Zingales

- Zero to One - Peter Thiel

- Capital in the Twenty-First Century - Thomas Picketty

- The Stigler Center's blog, Pro-Market

#23: “Small-l liberal, Big-L Lesbian” - Christine Forster

Christine Forster is currently the only Liberal party member of the City of Sydney Council, having left a career in journalism in 2012 to pursue her local government stripes in one of the world’s great global cities. She is a well-known member of the Abbott family, and is the sister of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott. But belonging to the same party doesn’t mean they see eye to eye on every matter. Tony is the staunchest crusader for maintaining the current definition of marriage under Australian law, while Christine is the most prominent figure in favour of extending it to same-sex couples. In fact, she and her partner Virginia Edwards, both active ‘Yes’ campaigners in the current postal survey, share a loving same-sex relationship. Both have children from previous marriages, and originally met while taking their kids to school. They have been engaged since 2013.

In this episode, the Swagmen sit down with Christine and Virginia to dissect the vicissitudes, contours and hidden agendas of marriage debate in Australia right now. We hear why the ‘Yes’ campaign needs to cease quibbling over the mechanism of change and focus on an outcome; what real motivations may be behind the ‘No’ case; and how the debate has affected Christine’s relationship with her brother. The outcome of the vote will be announced on 15 November 2017.

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#22: Bittersweet: How To Make Money On A Housing Market Crash - Andrew Baker

Andrew Baker is an INCREDIBLY successful self-taught investor based in Sydney. During the day he specialises in building machine learning at global firm Accenture; by night he's trading cryptocurrency, ASX stocks and NASDAQ derivatives. He began his investing journey after seeing the Global Financial Crisis unfold around him, and he hasn't looked back since. Although we can't give over too many details about Andrew, we can say: watch this space!

Andrew is a strident critique of mania, bubbles, and the latest incarnation of lemming-like behaviour in financial markets: the Australian housing market. Like another guest and friend of the pod, Steve Keen, Andrew believes Australia is hurtling towards a crash by the end of the decade. Dismal news, yes, but now is not the time to bury your head in the sand! If you want to understand WHY this bubble is likely to burst, and how you can not only protect yourself and your family but PROFIT from this rare event, this fascinating discussion is made for you. Andrew is a true practitioner, not a talking head or policy sheep, and his money is always where his mouth is.


Show notes: 

- APRAs Policy Hand Brake: Further measures to reinforce sound measures of mortgage lending practices
- Michael Burry Youtube Clip
- Ray Dalio ($164 Billion under management) on How Economics Works
- UBS Report On How F*cked We Are

- Follow these guru's on Twitter:
Steve Keen - @profstevekeen
Jonathan Tepper - @jtepper2
Marc Cohodes - @AlderLaneeggs


The Intelligent Investor - Benjamin Graham
Can we avoid another financial crisis? - Steve Keen
Debunking Economics - Steve Keen
Capital in the Twenty-First Century - Thomas Pickerty
The Euro - Joseph Stiglitz



#21: Beating My Ice Addiction - Dave Oliver

Dave Oliver is Australia’s first openly gay premiership rugby coach. Throughout his school and sporting career spanning the first 30 years of his life, he hid his homosexuality from his teammates, friends and family. This pressure eventually drove Dave to try Methamphetamine (Ice) one evening after the end of a long work day at his pub in Cowra. Over the next 18 months Dave entered a downward spiral as he tried to manage his pub, maintain his ice addiction and deal with his sexuality. This cycle was only broken when one Sunday afternoon his mates drove from Sydney to Cowra and intervened.

We sat down with Dave to hear what it is like to live with an ice addiction and the lengths he went to, just to get some gear. Dave has recently founded ‘Recovery Now’, a movement he hopes will encourage others to speak out and tell their story.


Show Notes:

- Check out Recovery Now

Some links to the 'Coal Face Counselors' that Dave recommends:
- Steve Stokes -  http://www.stevestokescounsellingandconsulting.com/
- Changes - https://www.changes-psychotherapy.com/

#20: Changing the Constitution Is As Easy As - Anne Twomey

Professor Anne Twomey is one of Australia's leading constitutional law experts. She has practiced as a solicitor at the High Court of Australia, worked as a researcher for High Court Justices, and advised the Commonwealth Parliament on legal issues. She currently teaches at the famous University of Sydney Law School.

In this charming constitutional conversation, Anne reveals some of the intricacies and tricks involved in changing a nation's founding document - it's not as easy as you think! We shine the light of her knowledge on the question of an Australian Republic - one of our pet issues. We also discuss why the Australian public is at odds over the two republican models - and whether there's a third, smarter way to reach constitutional independence. This is law at its most epic!


#19: Columbia MBA Professor Teaches You How to Find Strategic Insight in Any Scenario - William Duggan

Would you like the ability to reliably experience those "breakthrough moments"? We've found your guru. William Duggan teaches Executive MBA courses at the renowned Columbia Business School in New York. He has taught innovation and strategy to 1000s of company executives around the world. William has written three books on innovation and "strategic intuition," that elusive spark of insight which helps you creatively solve hard problems. His 2007 book, Strategic Intuition, was named "Best Strategy Book of the Year" by the journal Strategy+Business. William has three degrees, including a PhD, from Columbia University. He also likes corn-based tortillas.

In this expert chat, the Swagmen hear William's definition of "strategic intuition" and how you can develop it in your own life. We learn about Napoleon's weird habits of insight and why more work is sometimes the enemy of brilliant ideas.


Show notes

- New York Times article on the power of taking a 'Schultz hour'

- Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement Address, where he regales the typography story

- William's book Strategic Intuition

William's other books: Napoleon's Glance (2004), Creative Strategy (2012), and The Seventh Sense (2015)

Vipassana meditation, and a course available near Sydney


#18: Why I Was Really Fired by Google - James Damore

Former Google Senior Software Engineer now martyr to political correctness and hero of the alt-right, James Damore is the softly-spoken yet controversial author of the 'Google memo', the infamous 10-page document in which he criticised the company's gender diversity policies. James is in favour of removing barriers to the tech sector for women, but he felt Google was going too far in its efforts for equal representation. The memo, titled 'Google's Ideological Echo Chamber: How Bias Clouds Our Thinking About Diversity and Inclusion', which he posted after attending a day-long diversity conference in July, went viral within Google, before being leaked to the media in August. Google's CEO Sundar Pichai subsequently fired James for breaching the company's Code of Conduct.

James is a self-described 'classical liberal' who was studying a PhD in Systems Biology at Harvard before being head-hunted by Google in 2013. In this interview, we discuss James' unique worldview, some of the discriminatory practices at Google, the day of his firing, and the secret black-list against employees kept by left-leaning Silicon Valley tech firms.


Show notes

- James' full original memo

- James' website, Fired for Truth

James' twitter profile

- James' article in the Wall Street Journal where he explains his story

- Peter Singer's article on why Google was wrong to fire James

- Stephen Pinker's The Blank Slate

- Jonathan Haidt's The Happiness Hypothesis

Stephen Pinker's 2005 debate at Harvard with Elizabeth Spelke

#17: The Two Reasons Why Gays Shouldn't Marry (According to the Coalition For Marriage) - Monica Doumit

Australia is in the midst of debating whether to legalise same-sex marriage, with a national postal vote underway. The Jolly Swagmen are firm supporters of marriage equality, but we felt it was time to talk to someone on the other side, to see what all the fuss is about. Monica Doumit is a lawyer and Coordinator at Catholic Talk, with a Masters in Bioethics. She is now the spokesperson for the Coalition for Marriage - the movement fighting to make sure marriage equality doesn't happen. So what are their best arguments against changing the Marriage Act? Here we find out.

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Coalition for Marriage website

#16: Procrastination, Perfectionism, And Diagnosing Donald Trump - John Tsilimparis

John Tsilimparis MFT is a celebrity psychologist based in LA, where he runs his own private clinic in Brentwood. He has appeared on Larry King Live and The View, and is perhaps most famous for his book, the self-development/psychology classic Retrain Your Anxious Brain. He is an expert in helping his clients to become more effective people. 

Battling a brutal time difference and a broken call recorder, the Sydney-based Swagmen swallow John's advice whole and eschew perfectionism for pragmatism. Even if the sound quality is scratchy, we had to release this episode to bring you advice gems including: mental tricks for barrelling through procrastination plateaus, how to calm your nerves before delivering a speech, and why American psychotherapists have finally begun diagnosing Donald Trump (plus what his mental problems actually are). Listen in and become more productive!

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#15: Can We Avoid Nuclear Catastrophe? - Gareth Evans

Gareth Evans AC, QC was Australia's greatest ever Foreign Minister. Holding that position from 1988-96, he also held a number of other cabinet positions in the Hawke-Keating Governments, being one of two longest serving cabinet ministers in Labor Party history. Educated at the Universities of Melbourne and Oxford, Gareth pioneered concepts in international relations such as the 'responsibility to protect' and 'good international citizenship' - ideas which have since changed the norms and rules of engagement in the post-Cold War world order. Gareth has overseen a number of commissions relating to nuclear weapons, from initiating the Canberra Commission in 1995 to co-chairing the 2008-10 Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament. From 2000-09 he was President and CEO of the International Crisis Group, one of the world's most influential think tanks, and in 2011 Foreign Policy Magazine identified him as one of the "Top 100 Global Thinkers".

In this our first episode with a live audience, we ask: Can our species free itself of the most destructive tools we ever wrought? In a wide-ranging discussion, Gareth shares his wisdom on whether Korean reunification will happen in our lifetimes, what effect the Trump presidency has on the chances of nuclear war, and his own stories of negotiations with the North Korean regime. Finally, we cover how the nuclear powers can de-addict from these weapons, as Gareth outlines his phase-out strategy. If you're a policy wonk or just your average citizen hoping to survive in a mad world, this could be one of the most essential pods you ever hear!


Show Notes:

- The speech Gareth gave to John XXIII College in 2013 - Embracing Our Common Humanity