Hot & Bothered Podcast: Debt vs. Democracy, with Astra Taylor

Hot & Bothered Podcast: Debt vs. Democracy, with Astra Taylor

On this week’s show, Kate and Daniel talk to Astra about what the coronavirus pandemic has to do with eating meat, whether we really need a technocratic savior, and why debt relief is inherently tied to democracy.

Astra Taylor with Silvia Federici in a still from What is Democracy? (Zeitgeist Films)

Under the weight of COVID-19, every lie we’ve been told about how the economy works is busting open, and our institutions are revealing themselves to be incapable of offering a path to recovery. Worse yet, many governments are using the crisis as a pretext for a punishing return to austerity. 

Why? The answer can be summed up in one word: debt, an issue that Astra Taylor has spent the last several years organizing around as co-founder of the Debt Collective. Also a prolific writer and documentarian, Astra is the author most recently of Democracy May Not Exist, but We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone and director of the companion film What Is Democracy? She has recently written about both the food system and debt crises as they intersect with the pandemic (and climate change, too).

On this week’s show, Kate and Daniel talk to Astra about what the coronavirus pandemic has to do with eating meat, whether we really need a technocratic savior, why debt relief is inherently tied to democracy, and more. Kate and Daniel also take a look at the toxic record of Larry Summers, and why Democrats shouldn’t let him anywhere near the party platform.


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Check out the full Hot & Bothered archive here. Hot & Bothered is produced by Colin Kinniburgh. Music: Mercurias Meet Victor Rice, “Carregar (Instrumental),” courtesy of Total Running Time.

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Further reading

Kate: Don’t Let Larry Summers Block Climate Progress Again (The New Republic

Progressive groups call on Biden to remove Summers as economic adviser (J. Edward Moreno, The Hill)

Petition: Tell Joe Biden to remove Larry Summers as economic advisor (Sunrise Movement and Justice Democrats)

Astra: The Covid-19 pandemic shows we must transform the global food system (with Jan Dutkiewicz and Troy Vettese, The Guardian)

Kate: The World Order Is Broken. The Coronavirus Proves It. (The New Republic

Astra: Cancelling student debt was always the right thing to do. Now it’s imperative (The Guardian)

Astra: Bad ancestors: does the climate crisis violate the rights of those yet to be born? (The Guardian)

Why Mitch McConnell Wants States to Go Bankrupt (David Frum, The Atlantic

The Fed could undo decades of damage to cities. Here’s how. (Destin Jenkins, Washington Post)

Daniel and Dan Kammen: Climate crisis will deepen the pandemic. A green stimulus plan can tackle both (The Guardian)

The Debt Collective 


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