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Physical Attraction

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We are a physics podcast. But not just that - interviews with scientists, scholars, authors and reflections on the history and future of science and technology are all in the wheelhouse. Over the years, for over 200 episodes, we've had shows on the astrophysics of stars, a comprehensive history of nuclear fusion, thermodynamics, particle physics, climate change, economics, philosophy, the psychology of conspiracy theories, and even the lives of Louisiana Senator Huey Long, or scientists under Stalin in the Soviet Union. 

We are an independent show: everything you hear is created by one person out of passion and love. My aim in producing this show is never to talk down to people, but instead to discuss fascinating and vital subjects with scientific rigour, compassion, and an eye for narrative: to educate, inform, and entertain. I hope that you, the listener, will find something you like here. 

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We had a sister podcast, Autocracy Now, which deals with the lives of famous historical dictators. You can find some of their episodes on our feed, or the show itself at 

Oct 7, 2020

We have a special couple of guests on the show today. Listeners to our episodes about QE for the People will remember that we briefly mentioned Modern Monetary Theory as a new perspective on how economics works, and I'd talked about getting some MMT speakers on the show to explore that in more detail.

I was lucky enough to get the hosts of the MMT Podcast, Patricia Pino and Christian Reilly, who have interviewed many of the founding scholars and most active economists in MMT as part of that brilliant podcast. We had a very wide-ranging discussion, they were incredibly generous with their time, which I am grateful for.

In our discussion, we'll be talking about some of Modern Monetary Theory's big ideas, including:

Why everything you were taught about where money came from, and comes from is wrong
Why your taxes technically don't pay for the things you think they pay for
Why the US and UK governments cannot "run out of money", and why you maybe shouldn't be so afraid of the national debt
What the real limits on government spending actually are
Why the current economic theories require millions of people to be long-term unemployed, and why

I've divided the podcast into two episodes. The first deals with a background of MMT, exploring the historical and anthropological question "Where does money come from?". The second episode (which is longer!) deals with the consequences of Modern Monetary Theory for our society, some ideas of how it can be used to run economies more effectively and solve many of the biggest problems that we face in the world, and is therefore slightly more political, so there is a content warning there if you don't want to hear any discussion of politics.

I realise that this podcast is not an economics podcast, and it's not billed as such. But I have become convinced, especially recently, that so many of the concerns that we have been talking about recently - this intersection between technology, inequality, and global catastrophic risks, the necessity of dealing with climate change, and so much else in the world - it is necessary to have a deeper understanding of economics, which is in the background of so much that is going on in the world. MMT, to my mind, when it's properly interpreted and described, makes some points that the "classical" understanding of economics misses out on. And even if you disagree with it, I think it's a fascinating area: I have certainly been fascinated by it - and I hope that you find it valuable. As ever - if not, you can always get in touch with me via the contact form on and let me know what you think... or just wait a few days and we'll have a different episode available for you on a different subject. Just don't ask for your money back.