Lend Me Your Ear is a series of extended one-to-one interviews with economists, politicians and policy makers, conducted by Liam Halligan. Our guests range from leading academics to campaigners, opinion-formers and front-line lawmakers – all of whom share an interest in the interaction of economics and politics, that vital interface between ideas and vested interests where policy is made. In each episode, Liam leads an informal yet detailed discussion, a conversation designed to inform, illuminate and entertain. If you like what you hear, please subscribe – and encourage others to do the same. Lend Me Your Ear – Conversations Worth Hearing.
Roberto Azevedo is the Director General of the World Trade Organisation. He is the world’s most important trade diplomat – and runs arguably the most important economic multilateral organisation on earth.
In this rare interview, conducted at the WTO’s Geneva Headquarters, Brazillian-born Azevedo discusses Donald Trump and the threat of global protectionism and the future of multi-lateral trade deals. He also weighs in on Brexit – and the prospect of the UK trading under WTO rules with the rest of the EU, once Britain leaves in March 2019.
Trading under WTO rules is often presented as ‘a disaster for the UK’. Azevedo, in contrast, says such an arrangement would be ‘perfectly manageable’ and ‘not the end of the world’.
Professor Amartya Sen
Professor Amartya Sen is an economist and anti-poverty campaigner.
Probably the world’s most celebrated living economist, Sen grew up in what was called British India in the 1930s, in modern day Bangladesh. Having witnessed famine and religious conflict as a boy, he studied economics at Cambridge and then, fired by injustice, as a prolific writer, speaker and advisor to many governments, he has since promoted economic policies focused mainly on poverty-alleviation and the functioning of democratic institutions across the developing world.
Now a Professor at Harvard, and a Nobel Laureate, Sen is often labeled “the conscience of the economics profession”. In this podcast, Amartya Sen and Liam Halligan discuss, Trump, Brexit and Sen’s memories of taking tea with EM Forster.
Professor Stephanie Kelton
Professor Stephanie Kelton is one of America’s leading economists. Until recently she was Chief Economist to the US Senate Budget Committee, before quitting her job to become the lead economic advisor to Bernie Sanders during his Democrat Party Nomination Campaign.
In this interview, which took place during the annual Kilkenomics festival in Ireland, where Professor Kelton is a highly-regarded regular, she talks about Donald Trump’s victory, her wish to see the “insane spending sequester” repealed, how “all bets are off when it comes to America’s deficit” and why the incoming President’s “wall between America and Mexico” won’t be built.
Currently chairing the Economics Department at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Professor Kelton gives her views on why Hillary Clinton lost and why Bernie Sanders will continue to be “a fighter”.
Gillian Caldwell is CEO of Global Witness, one of the world’s most widely-respected and influential campaigning NGOs.
Global Witness boasts a 23-year trade record of working to expose and break the links between natural resource exploitation and poverty, corruption and environmental and human rights abuses worldwide.
A trained lawyer, Caldwell moved from her native America to London in 2015, in order to lead Global Witness. In this extended interview, she discusses the dangers faced by her staff when working in some of the world’s most politically unstable countries, while giving her thoughts on Brexit and the increasing reliance of media organisations on investigative NGOs.
An Amnesty International activist since the age of 12, Caldwell doesn’t shy away from identifying “our own hypocrisy and inconsistency in diplomatic relationships”, pointing to the role of Western nations in “enabling corruption elsewhere” and the determination of Global Witness to “follow the dollars back home”.
Referring to her fondness of the UK, she also relays her experiences of navigating the “sometimes substantial cultural differences” between British and American culture.
The son of diplomat, Jeremy Browne rose from being a Liberal Democrat press office to being elected as MP for Taunton Deane – and then Minister of State at both the Foreign Office and the Home Office under the Tory-Lib Dem coalition.
Jeremy is now the City of London’s “Special Representative” to the European Union – which puts him at the heart of the UK’s negotiations on Brexit.
A genuine political insider, though no longer bound by the constraints of office, Jeremy gives us his response to the Brexit vote.
Drawing on his book “Race Plan: an authentic Liberal plan to prepare Britain for the global race”, Jeremy shares his vision of how the UK, and in particular the City, can thrive outside the EU.
Professor Richard Thaler
“How about if I call you an undismal scientist?”, I ask Thaler. “Well, I used to be called ‘That Jerk’,” Thaler replies.
In this in-depth interview, Liam Halligan talks with Professor Richard Thaler, President of the American Economics Association and the world’s leading behavioural economist. In 2008, Thaler co-authored his best-selling book “Nudge” – which popularised behavioural economics. By combining economics with other disciplines, particularly pshycholcy, the behavioural school has had a huge policy impact, upending the dismal science. Thayler, as I discovered, is an intellectual firecracker, an economist with a huge personality and an wide range of interests.
A write-up of this interview appeared in The Spectator: www.spectator.co.uk/2016/06/id-have…his-nudge-guru/
Rt Hon Lord David Owen
In this May 2016 edition of Lend Me Your Ear, I talk to Rt Hon Lord David Owen about Brexit.
A Former Labour Foreign Secretary, and prolific author, Lord Owen is among the UK’s best-known and widely respected politicians. Having campaigned for a Yes vote in the 1975 referendum on Europe, Owen famously left the Labour party in the early 1980s and was one of the four founders, and then leader of the SDP.
Now David Owen is backing Vote Leave and calling for Britain to quit the European Union, which he says has become over-bearing, undemocratic and dangerous.
Fereidoun Ghasemzadeh is Founder and CEO of Afr@Net, the largest internet service provider in Iran. Among the country’s most influential business leaders, he is also a confidante of President Rouhani.
“Put you money in Iran – and your investments will fly”, he says, in the wake of elections in March 2016, in which Rouhani’s pro-reform “Coalition of Hope” made significant gains. Yet Ghasemzadeh is also frank about the political realities facing those doing business in this nation of 80m people, and the on-going role of religious hardliners. LMYE conducted this exclusive interview in Tehran.
David Davis MP talks about the UK’s upcoming Brexit debate, and the role he thinks he will play. In a 40-minute conversation, the Former Europe Minister and Conservative Leadership candidate lacerates the European Union, the UK Foreign Office and Prime Minister David Cameron’s negotiating tactics.
An extended interview with author Michael Lewis – on the US Presidential elections, the state of financial journalism, the euro, America’s place in the world, and the newly-released movie of his book, “The Big Short”.