Siri, Soccer, and Watson

Interview with Mark Blyth, author of Angrynomics

Angrynomics explores how come there is so much anger, moral outrage, and protests. Why is microanger eating our societies away? What exactly is microanger and how it compounds to make populist movements swell? Who is weaponizing anger? How data on the levels of inequality between White middle-class families and Black middle-class families in Boston might explain the current moral outrage? When is anger a catalyst for change and when it is just a stage for chaos?

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We spoke about how the book came together (with the help of Siri, Soccer, and Watson), what it is like to be in Rhode Island during the lockdown, and why small enclaves run by enlightened politicians make a difference on how the global pandemic crisis is handled.

The book is co-authored with Eric Lonergan, a macro hedge-fund manager, economist, and author, who has written for Foreign Affairs, the Financial Times, and The Economist.

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I had once met Mark Blyth at Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), where he received his Ph.D., and where I took most of my classes for my Political Science degree in Comparative Politics. We spoke briefly and he made a pointed comment on the structure of labour markets and why people worked on three jobs at once, and was that taking other people’s jobs or that they could not meet ends and pay bills with a single job? Should the 35 hour work-week be adopted in some European countries? These questions stayed with me all these years, answered in other talks.

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In 2018, while doing research for an interview with UCL, Twitter’s algorithms showed me his timeline, and I saw that Mark is now the Director of the William R. Rhodes Center for International Economics and Finance, the William R. Rhodes Professor of International Economics, at the Watson Institute of International and Public Affairs, at Brown University.

He looks at economics from quirky, provocative, off-the beaten path angles, and is an articulate voice of new thought in Economics, who writes frequently for Foreign Affairs and many other publications, as well as has several interesting lectures online, on YouTube. The way he looks at the data in this book is particularly intriguing. He had written another contrarian book on the possible dangers of economic austerity in Europe after the banking crisis, which proved he was right, and his latest book is no different.

Angrynomics

Eric Lonergan and Mark Blyth

Why are measures of stress and anxiety on the rise when economists and politicians tell us we have never had it so good? While statistics tell us that the vast majority of people are getting steadily richer, the world most of us experience day in and day out feels increasingly uncertain, unfair, and ever more expensive. In Angrynomics, Mark Blyth and Eric Lonergan explore the rising tide of anger, sometimes righteous and useful, sometimes destructive and ill-targeted, and propose radical new solutions for an increasingly polarized and confusing world. Angrynomics is for anyone wondering, where the hell do we go from here?

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Eric Lonergan is a macro hedge-fund manager, economist, and author. He has written for Foreign Affairs, the Financial Times, and The Economist.

Mark Blyth is the William R. Rhodes ’57 Professor of International Economics at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. He is the author of Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea. He contributes to several podcasts and his talks on YouTube are viewed by millions.