Economy and Psychology

The podcasts and blogs below are produced by professionals with extensive experience working in their respective fields as a psychotherapist and an economist. Here they combine what they have learned to explore how the twin crises of the US economy and our psychology interact today. Isolation, anxiety, loneliness, and depression are psychological issues that profoundly impact work, consumption, and debt. Likewise, unemployment, income inequality, and exploitation shape our emotional and intimate lives. The interaction of economy and psychology helps to determine our society and our individuality as well. Yet these topics remain loaded with taboos, confusions, ignorance, and fear preventing us from asking big questions and daring to discuss big answers. Getting past these limits to explore economics, psychology, and their mutual influence is our goal and purpose.

Podcasts

Context and Meaning of the Newtown Massacre

Saturday, January 5, 2013
 
This conversation seeks to explore some relatively ignored economic, psychological and cultural causes of the Newtown school killings, their context in our nation's culture, and their implications for our future.

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Meanings of the Election Results

Monday, December 3, 2012
 
Everyone from the candidates to the parties to observers and voters are making their respective senses of what the election results mean. Here we offer a psychological and economic analysis of an election dominated by what people were voting against and how they reacted to remarkably divisive claims made especially by the Romney and Republican forces.

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The Decline of Traditional Families

Wednesday, September 26, 2012
 
The traditional family is a declining institution in contemporary society. The profit-driven processes and recurring crises of capitalism are major causes of that decline. Nostalgic appeals for the return of traditional families may be clever politics, playing on the pain of declining families, but capitalism blocks that return. We thus now need to engage the long-overdue discussion of alternative family structures and alternative economic systems.

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Colorado Killings, Psychology, and Economics

Monday, August 6, 2012
More important than pathologizing the individual who killed is the task of evaluating the social and psychological conditions - changable by collective action - that can explain why his frustrations and failures should take such a violent turn against others. In other words, why does the US have more such violent, gun-using explosions of extreme personal upset than most other advanced countries combined?

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Precarious Jobs: The Economics and Psychology of Insecure Work

Saturday, July 14, 2012
 
Secure, stable jobs gave way to precarious employment over recent decades - and especially during the crisis that started in 2007. Precarious work has dubious benefits for employers and imposes huge economic costs on society and huge human costs on most working people. Precarity exposes capitalism's irrationality and shows the importance of non-capitalist alternatives like the workers' cooperatives organized in Spain's Mondragon Corporation.

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Americans Living Alone: Meanings and Implications

Monday, May 21, 2012
 
Over 50 % of today's adults in the US live singly, what a 2012 book by Eric Klinenberg calls Going Solo. We discuss why that happened, the deep loneliness involved, its relationship to modern capitalism, and why basic social change is crucial to overcoming today's isolations.

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How 1% and 99% Experience Capitalist Crises Differently

Sunday, April 15, 2012
 
Around facts of unemployment, people living alone, children and the elderly, we discuss how differently the 1% and the 99% experience capitalism’s crisis. The 1% and their government have ignored widespread suffering and social costs that react back upon capitalism negatively. Yet massive government support goes mostly to the top banks and other corporations that threaten that they are “too big to fail.” Capitalism has proven to be an unjust, inefficient, and self-destructive system.

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Above and Below the Middle Class

Saturday, February 25, 2012

We discuss how the tiny top and the increased bottom of the US economic system have very differently experienced economic crisis since 2007. We suggest some specific programs urgently needed and also draw some lessons about what basically has to change.

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Is the Working Class "Coming Apart"?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
 
Charles Murray's new book, Coming Apart,is criticized as a "blame-the-victim" argument applied to the white working class just as Patrick Moynihan applied it to the African-American working class in the 1960s. Murray excludes and thereby exonerates the economic system from responsibility for working class suffering and dysfunction; he blames instead character flaws somehow newly developed in that class.We develop a counterargument that locates the behaviors of both the 1% and the 99% in their logical responses to a dysfunctional economic system.

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Hope

Sunday, November 27, 2011
 
While hope is an elusive reality, it is crucial for our personal lives and in society. Hope destroyed leads to decline and desperation. Hope rekindled - think Obama in 2008 and Occupy Wall Street today - is a powerful social and personal force.

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