BP made $12.8 billion profit last year, $4.1 billion on that in the fourth quarter. In the first three months of this year Shell’s profits reached $9.1 billion. Meanwhile pensioners and low-income families are struggling to keep their houses warm, as high energy prices add to the inflation squeeze being felt with food and other household essentials. Phil Dobbie asks Prof Steve Keen whether this all points to the need for a windfall tax on energy companies who are enjoying massive profits through no-action on their part. And should it be a one-off initiative, or is this time to rethink how we tax these companies in a way that will engender investment in renewables?

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BP made $12.8 billion profit last year, $4.1 billion on that in the fourth quarter. In the first three months of this year Shell’s profits reached $9.1 billion. Meanwhile pensioners and low-income families are struggling to keep their houses warm, as high energy prices add to the inflation squeeze being felt with food and other household essentials. Phil Dobbie asks Prof Steve Keen whether this all points to the need for a windfall tax on energy companies who are enjoying massive profits through no-action on their part. And should it be a one-off initiative, or is this time to rethink how we tax these companies in a way that will engender investment in renewables?

The supply chain disruption from COVID, and the imperialist ambitions of Vladimir Putin have demonstrated, more than ever, the need for nations – or at least neighbouring groups of friendly nations – to be self sufficient in food and energy. Will we find the world returning to a spit between the West, autocracies and developing nations? Can each group survive without the others? Prof Steve Keen tells Phil Dobbie that we will still be reliant on autocratic regimes for mineral resources, and the world really needs to come together to tackle climate change. Even if that’s a pipedream we at last need a plan for how we manage the world’s resources and ensure we have a reliable source of food and energy, without kowtowing to despotic regimes.

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The supply chain disruption from COVID, and the imperialist ambitions of Vladimir Putin have demonstrated, more than ever, the need for nations – or at least neighbouring groups of friendly nations – to be self sufficient in food and energy. Will we find the world returning to a spit between the West, autocracies and developing nations? Can each group survive without the others? Prof Steve Keen tells Phil Dobbie that we will still be reliant on autocratic regimes for mineral resources, and the world really needs to come together to tackle climate change. Even if that’s a pipedream we at last need a plan for how we manage the world’s resources and ensure we have a reliable source of food and energy, without kowtowing to despotic regimes.

Property expert Russell Quirk maintains that housing will always be a good investment and prices will, in the long run, always go up. Perhaps this year inflation will rise faster, so in real terms prices may dip, but in the long run, he reckons, the direction will always be north. Prof Steve Keen on the other hand, maintains that, at some point, things will rapidly head south. Why? Because banks are offering loans through the creation of new money, which makes it easier for them to meet consumer demand, irrespective of how realistic house prices are. And they get locked into a feedback loop, where valuations are based on previous valuations. Your house is worth more because all the other houses around you are worth more. This, recons Steve, will come unstuck, possibly in a big way. He says we don’t accept it because it’s not happened in recent history. Just as we didn’t expect a pandemic because we hadn’t seen one like it for 100 years.

The UK the Chancellor’s wife Akshata Murty was in the news a couple of weeks ago when it was revealed that she was claiming non-domicile status in the UK, so most of her income from her shareholding in dad’s company in India could be taxed over there at a much lower rate. The issue for many was that she wasn’t paying her fair share of tax. But does her wealth present a bigger problem. This week Phil Dobbie asks Prof Steve Keen whether Akshata Murty is an example of the rentier class, who make money from having money. And does that necessarily mean the money is used less well than if it was in the hands of good old-fashioned capitalists? Or is it all just a bit of jealousy, because we don’t have wealthy parents?

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The UK the Chancellor’s wife Akshata Murty was in the news a couple of weeks ago when it was revealed that she was claiming non-domicile status in the UK, so most of her income from her shareholding in dad’s company in India could be taxed over there at a much lower rate. The issue for many was that she wasn’t paying her fair share of tax. But does her wealth present a bigger problem. This week Phil Dobbie asks Prof Steve Keen whether Akshata Murty is an example of the rentier class, who make money from having money. And does that necessarily mean the money is used less well than if it was in the hands of good old-fashioned capitalists? Or is it all just a bit of jealousy, because we don’t have wealthy parents?

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Economists like to think that there’s an equilibrium that the economy is either briefly moving away from or heading back to, and it’s all explained in those simple models we did at school. Those were mostly microeconomic models, of course, that are somehow magically interpreted at the mac level. Or there are more complex mathematical models that reflect only a tiny slice of the bigger picture. But didn’t Sonnenschein–Mantel–Debreu theorem debunk that? This week Prof Steve Keen tells Phil Dobbie that even their work ignored a fundamental feedback loop which clearly demonstrates that equilibrium is fantasy land.

Economists like to think that there’s an equilibrium that the economy is either briefly moving away from or heading back to, and it’s all explained in those simple models we did at school. Those were mostly microeconomic models, of course, that are somehow magically interpreted at the mac level. Or there are more complex mathematical models that reflect only a tiny slice of the bigger picture. But didn’t Sonnenschein–Mantel–Debreu theorem debunk that? This week Prof Steve Keen tells Phil Dobbie that even their work ignored a fundamental feedback loop which clearly demonstrates that equilibrium is fantasy land. 

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The inflation genie is out of the bottle. Can we get it back in there before it does too much damage? Central banks are trying to tackle it by racing each other to put up interest rates, possibly to levels we haven’t seen in years, despite the fact we’re all leveraged to the hilt with our mortgages. Can that be done without causing a recession? More to the point, does monetary policy actually do what central bankers think it will? On this week’s Debunking Economics podcast Steve Keen tells Phil Dobbie that its up to governments, not banks, to bring inflation down. Instead, it seems, everyone is doing exactly the wrong thing!

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