Mon, 29 August 2022
Sam is back! He and Emma are joined by Jamie Martin, Assistant Professor of History at Harvard University, to discuss his recent book The Meddlers: Sovereignty, Empire, and the Birth of Economic Global Governance. First, Sam and Emma dive into developments in Ukraine as the UN sends in Nuclear Inspectors, a massive flood in Pakistan displacing millions, and the clear public support behind Biden’s student debt relief. Jamie Moran then joins as he gets right into the story of liberalism’s international systems based on sovereign encroachment, and why the conventional narrative begins with the Bretton-Woods conference in 1944 that saw the creation of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, aligning with the United States emerging from its isolationism to the peak of a globalized liberal order, and being followed (with the failure of the Bretton-Woods system in the ‘70s) by a new project of neoliberal hyper globalization, forcing austere reform on what they saw as “developing economies.” Next, Professor Martin dives into why HIS history of the subject started well before Bretton-Woods, seeing the leveraging of sovereign states by international economic coalitions into painful domestic reform as a tale as old as capitalism, burgeoning in the middle of the 19th Century with the nation-state boom bringing countless new governments onto the international stage, and the lasting European empires (largely France and England) granting these nations “sovereignty” under conditions of severe extraction by their former colonizers. These systems largely continued in the wake of the colonial expansions of the 18th and 19th Centuries, leading up to the first World War which saw Europe and the US create wartime international bodies that actually exercise their colonial power collectively, and translated (however poorly) into the post-war systems such as the League of Nations. Looking at the next couple of decades, Professor Martin explores how Britain (and France to a lesser extent) came to largely dominate the economic discourse of the League of Nations, employing imperial creditor arrangements in the wake of the 1920s’ depression to bolster their international leverage, and why the US’ isolation from the League was due to this very reason of protecting their own sovereignty. Walking through the years following World War II, Sam, Emma, and Jamie Martin discuss how the lack of borders allowed US creditors to overtake the Bank of England and other EU creditors by containing extortion to the financial realm, and putting them in peak position going into the Bretton-Wood conference, and ensuring the IMF and World Bank functioned under their control. Wrapping up, they explore other translations of these colonial practices around sovereignty (including the Cold War’s emphasis on anti-communism), and reflect on why a fetishized nostalgia for these systems is severely misplaced.
And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma watch Marco Rubio struggle over how “unfair” Joe Biden is being, Sam waits with beta – I mean bated – breath for the rest of Tim Pool’s album, Mike from South Carolina calls in to discuss the GI Bill as a Vet, and Ryan from Arizona explores his states’ recent elections. Dave Rubin thanks Liberty U students for praying his gay away, Eamon from California discusses the fire hazards prevalent in the critiques of the Uvalde teachers, and Sam and Emma explore the destruction in Pakistan, plus, your calls and IMs!
Check out Jamie's book here: https://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674976542
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