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Pitchfork Economics with Nick Hanauer

Business & Economics Podcasts

Any society that allows itself to become radically unequal eventually collapses into an uprising or a police state—or both. Join venture capitalist Nick Hanauer and some of the world’s leading economic and political thinkers in an exploration of who gets what and why. Turns out, everything you learned about economics is wrong. And if we don’t do something about rising inequality, the pitchforks are coming.


United States


Any society that allows itself to become radically unequal eventually collapses into an uprising or a police state—or both. Join venture capitalist Nick Hanauer and some of the world’s leading economic and political thinkers in an exploration of who gets what and why. Turns out, everything you learned about economics is wrong. And if we don’t do something about rising inequality, the pitchforks are coming.




How we all fell for The Big Myth (with Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway)

When did ordinary people come to believe that free market solutions are always better than government intervention? How do we create a future where markets serve democracy instead of stifling it? In this episode we’re talking about the “magic” of the marketplace and the myth that the free market is ruthlessly efficient and always knows best. The co-authors of The Big Myth explain exactly how American business taught us to loathe government and love the free market. Naomi Oreskes is Professor...


Slouching towards economic utopia (with Brad DeLong)

Between 1870 and 2010 an unprecedented explosion of material wealth transformed the globe, but that wave of prosperity failed to create a fully functioning and equal society. How did we manage to create an economic pie large enough for everyone to share, but then fumble dividing that pie up equally? Brad DeLong explores this question in his new book, Slouching Towards Utopia, which looks at the economic history of the twentieth century and why it matters today. J. Bradford DeLong is an...


The problem with unequal cities (with Richard McGahey)

We've released dozens of episodes exploring how to improve the lives of Americans that live in rural areas, but we don’t often discuss how cities (and the folks that live in them) are being left behind by state lawmakers and federal policies. This is a problem because cities are key to innovation and economic growth. Richard McGahey's new book explores how to overcome anti-urban bias in order to reduce inequality in cities throughout the United States. Richard McGahey is an economist and...


The high price of misclassification (with Heidi Shierholz)

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute found that anywhere from 10 to 30 percent of employers are essentially stealing thousands of dollars from their workers every year by misclassifying them as independent contractors. In addition to lower pay, those misclassified workers are also deprived of employer-provided benefits like health care and labor rights like basic safety regulations. Returning guest Heidi Shierholz walks us through the report and explains how to figure out if your...


Why Walmart workers are still broke (with Rick Wartzman)

Goldy and Paul interview author Rick Wartzman about how America’s biggest employer (Walmart) began taking better care of its workers (by raising wages)—and why that decision might be too little, too late. According to Wartzman, Walmart has gone through a remarkable transformation, but there are limits to how much positive change this brand of socially conscious capitalism can create. Rick Wartzman is co-president of Bendable Labs, a technology, consulting and research firm that builds and...


Why stock buybacks should be taxed more (with Cory Booker)

Stock buybacks are one of the worst excesses of modern capitalism, which naturally means they're one of our favorite subjects to cover on the podcast. And since they’re in the news again, we thought it would be a good time to revisit one of our first episodes, from 2019. How much has changed over the past 4 years? President Biden’s proposal to raise taxes on buybacks to 4% is the most promising update so far, but much of our conversation with Senator Cory Booker remains relevant today. This...


How Biden is restoring economic competition (with David Dayen)

In July 2021, President Biden signed an executive order directing government agencies to rewrite policies to encourage competition in the U.S. economy. Returning guest David Dayen has compiled 18 months’ worth of actions resulting from this order. After more than four decades of unrestrained corporate power, Dayen explains, competition is finally returning to the economy—and that’s good news for everyone. David Dayen is the executive editor of The American Prospect. His work has appeared in...


Why canceling student debt makes great economic sense (with Fenaba Addo)

When the Biden Administration announced last year that they would forgive up to $20,000 student loan debt per individual, millions of people celebrated—and for good reason. The student loan debt that Americans carry has ballooned to $1.8 trillion in recent decades, threatening the economic security of American households from coast to coast and up and down the income scale. Unfortunately, the Biden forgiveness plan has been tied up in several lawsuits, and the Supreme Court will hear oral...


The many benefits of a guaranteed job program (with Max Kasy and Lukas Lehner)

Oxford economists are currently running the world’s first Universal Job Guarantee program in Austria, and so far the results are very promising. When unemployed people have guaranteed access to training and/or a job, those people feel more in control of their lives and become more financially secure…and happier, too. The study’s co-authors join us to explain why they believe a guaranteed jobs program like this could work in other countries—including the United States. Maximilian Kasy is a...


The legacy of the Fight for $15 (with NELP)

Exactly one decade ago, activists and civic leaders launched the Fight for $15. It’s hard to recall now, but the idea was wildly controversial at the time—Forbes called Nick’s support of a $15 minimum wage “near-insane,” for example. A new report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) examines the legacy of the movement and all that it has accomplished in the last 10 years. Two of the report’s authors join us to discuss the Fight for $15’s impact beyond growing paychecks, including...


Sci-Fi Economics (with Kim Stanley Robinson)

We can’t tear down the existing economic framework and replace it with a better one without first telling a persuasive story about how the economy actually works. And few people in the world are more compelling storytellers than science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson. In his speculative near-future novel The Ministry for the Future, Stan explains complicated economic theories better than most economists. He joins Nick and Goldy for a fascinating conversation about the role of economics...


The real reasons why inflation soared last year (with Ira Regmi)

For most of last year economists and pundits engaged in a long, circular debate about why inflation was spiking around the world, and who was to blame for those skyrocketing prices. Economic experts at the Roosevelt Institute (including past guest Joseph Stiglitz) have finally revealed the root causes of global inflation in a new report. Stiglitz’s co-author, Ira Regmi, shares what they’ve learned. Ira Regmi is the Program Manager for the Macroeconomic Analysis program at the Roosevelt...


New Year, New AMA

Nick and Goldy kick off the New Year by answering more of your questions! Has there ever been a time period with strong deflation? Should folks prepare for an upcoming recession? Why aren’t we allowed to question the free market? And much more. If you have questions for a future “Ask Me Anything” episode, leave us a voicemail at 731-388-9334. Don’t forget to follow the show wherever you listen and if that happens to be on Apple or Spotify, please give us a 5 star rating or review! Website:...


Revisiting the economics of abortion (with Caitlin Myers)

Out of all the topics we discussed in 2022 one stayed at the top of headlines all year long: abortion. We spoke to Professor Caitlin Myers in February of this year, months before the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade. She shared data from her research and provided examples of the causal links between abortion access and economic outcomes in women’s lives. It’s an illuminating episode, and one that will be just as relevant in 2023 as it was for all of 2022. This episode originally aired on...


Revisiting corporate greed’s effect on the supply chain (with Rakeen Mabud)

Judging by the amount of downloads for this episode, we’d say it was our listeners’ favorite from the past year. “Did Corporate Greed Break the Supply Chain?” with Rakeen Mabud from the Groundwork Collaborative exposes how the supply chain was actually designed: not for reliably getting goods to people, but for maximizing profit. Unfortunately, that’s something many Americans came to realize in 2022 as prices skyrocketed and store shelves were left empty. This episode originally aired on...


CEO Pay is out of control (with Mark Kreidler)

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute looks into the salary and stock packages of America’s most overcompensated corporate titans and the numbers are staggering. According to journalist Mark Kreidler, who recently covered the report for Capital + Main, CEO paychecks are a huge contributor to inequality. He joins the podcast to share why more people would do better if CEOs were paid less. We want your questions for another “Ask Me Anything” episode with Nick and Goldy! Call and...


America isn’t lost, it’s Adrift (with Scott Galloway)

Inequality has grown so large that a number of pessimists believe America is lost. But Professor Scott Galloway argues that our nation is actually adrift, and in his latest book he explains what needs to be done to fix this imbalance and rebuild America’s foundations. Galloway joins Nick and Goldy for an honest conversation about age inequality, the middle class, corporate consolidation, and more. Scott Galloway is Professor of Marketing at NYU Stern School of Business and a serial...


Fair Social Contracts (with Eric Beinhocker)

Human society is built on social contracts, but decades of neoliberalism have left many of our most fundamental contracts—worker power, social safety nets, trust in key institutions— in tatters. It’s no wonder that people are pissed off: without fairness, we can’t have cooperation, and without cooperation, we can’t have a strong economy… or a strong democracy. Can we restore the social contracts that served us so well, or has our sense of fairness been damaged beyond repair? Oxford economics...


Charting a new path forward (LIVE from EconCon Presents)

In one of the highlights of last week’s EconCon Presents event in Washington D.C., Washington Post columnist Perry Bacon Jr. convened an all-star panel of political experts. Maurice Mitchell, Faiz Shakir, and Anna Greenberg joined Bacon to share lessons learned from the midterm elections, and debate strategies for driving the progressive economic agenda forward in 2023 and beyond. Thanks to our friends at EconCon for sharing audio of this event for Pitchfork Economics listeners. For more...


Why we can't let Kroger buy Albertsons (with Stacy Mitchell)

Kroger wants to buy Albertsons and effectively become the second-largest grocery chain in the United States. This merger would result in less competition, rising grocery prices, and lower wages. Corporate greed has gotten us into this mess, but new federal anti-merger guidelines, and some tenacious Attorneys General, may just get us out. Returning guest Stacy Mitchell explains why mergers like this one are bad news for workers and shoppers alike. Stacy Mitchell is Co-Executive Director of...