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U.S. Economy & Future

Date: 07-30-11
Host: Ian Punnett
Guests: Howard Bloom, Clare Richardson

Multi-disciplinary scientist Howard Bloom joined Ian Punnett for a discussion on rethinking how capitalism works and the state of the U.S. economy. Bloom argued that money usually trickles up, so lowering taxes for the very wealthy does little to stimulate a faltering economic system. "If you want to get money into an economy, you put money in the pockets of the poor because those are the people who are going to spend it right away," he explained.

The failure of congressional leadership to raise the 'debt ceiling' limit has led to a loss of hundreds of billions, if not trillions of dollars, from the U.S. stock market, Bloom continued. Further, any compromise requiring $2.3 trillion in spending to be pulled from the economy will lead to higher unemployment, he predicted. The current economic debacle has also shaken the world's confidence in America's stability, Bloom said. If money starts rushing out of the dollar and U.S. Treasuries, not only is America in trouble, the entire world economy might collapse, he warned.

Money pulled out of the U.S. economy could go to Germany, one of the greatest exporting nations in the world, or to China, Bloom speculated. He expects China will eventually make a bid to replace the U.S. dollar as the reserve currency of the world with a Chinese currency. Bloom praised China for undertaking large government projects, such as railway systems and dams, because such enterprises generate jobs, put money into the economy, increase confidence, and raise the human spirit. We need to do the same type of thing here, perhaps with a large scale solar power project, Bloom said, noting that America still leads the world in innovation.

Planet of the Apes

In the first half-hour, Clare Richardson, CEO of the Diane Fossey Gorilla Fund, spoke about the new movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Richardson commented on Andy Serkis' remarkable turn as the computer-generated Caesar—the story's lead primate. Before filming, Serkis studied gorilla behavior for several weeks in Africa at Diane Fossey's Karisoke Research Center, she explained. The coordinated ape uprising presented in the movie is an unlikely scenario, Richardson continued, adding that non-human primates are not intrinsically violent creatures. Humans are much more destructive, probably the most violent primate on the planet, she said.

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