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Zero Sum Empire

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Welcome to Zero Sum Empire, the podcast that introduces you to the mostly anonymous billionaires who own the majority of the world’s wealth.

Welcome to Zero Sum Empire, the podcast that introduces you to the mostly anonymous billionaires who own the majority of the world’s wealth.
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Location:

United States

Description:

Welcome to Zero Sum Empire, the podcast that introduces you to the mostly anonymous billionaires who own the majority of the world’s wealth.

Twitter:

@empire_sum

Language:

English


Episodes

The SnackCast: Tom & Judy Love and George Bishop

6/16/2019
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This week we open up with a frank discussion of Chad’s recent bout of shingles (which is the reason we missed last week’s episode). Our billionaire in the news this week is Jan Koum, creator of WhatsApp. He’s in the news because he just bought an $80 million house. Aside from buying mansions, Koum collects Porsches. That’s pretty much all he does these days. He proudly claims not to have any other ambitions. He’s not working on or investing in any new technologies. He doesn’t even have a job...

Duration:01:02:19

Footin’ on the Pritz: Tom Benson and The Pritzker Family

6/2/2019
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Footin’ on the Pritz: Tom Benson and The Pritzker Family Billionaires in the News: This week, Mackenzie Bezos became the world’s third richest woman and signed The Giving Pledge. The Giving Pledge is a public promise that billionaires make to donate at least half of their amassed wealth when they die. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet came up with the idea about ten years ago, and there are over 200 signatories so far. There are some issues with the pledge that we should all be aware of. Foremost...

Duration:01:05:51

A Song of Fire and Chainsaws: Sumner Redstone and Michael F. Price

5/26/2019
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First, we realize that we don't know what words like dude, buddy, bro, chief, and man are called. (I looked it up after the show. They're called "colloquial vocatives"). Billionaires in the News this week: Robert F. Smith. Smith is a billionaire who makes his money by investing in enterprise software. He recently pledged to pay off all of the college debt of the Morehouse College's graduating class of 2019. That's great for them, but highly visible philanthropic gifts reinforce the idea that...

Duration:00:51:27

Better Not Call Saul: Bernard Saul II and Riley Bechtel

5/12/2019
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First, we set a long-term goal for the show: By 2021, get more listeners than the flat earth podcast. We can only do it with your help, so please either subscribe to our podcast or find a way to sabotage the flat earth people, whatever’s easier for you. Then we talk about Jeff Bezos (do you say Beezos or Bayzos?), who unveiled “his vision” for space colonization. He imagines a future where a trillion human beings live in space and we make rocket fuel from moon ice. Those are really things he...

Duration:00:56:03

The French Fried Potater and the Helicopter Circumnavigator: Scott Simplot and Ross Perot, Jr.

5/5/2019
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Lots of stuff in this week’s episode. Keeping things a bit looser. First, we discuss the Milken Institute’s Global Conference 2019, where “thought leaders” celebrate “the power of ideas” and promote “shared prosperity.” We encourage you to flip through the conference program and take note of who they invited to speak (link below). Gives off a real “Garden of Earthly Delights” energy. It’s a garbage organization run by an actual criminal, Michael Milken, the “father of junk bonds.” At the...

Duration:00:58:52

Siphon Off the Rich Juice: James Coulter and Leslie Alexander

4/28/2019
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Billionaires in the News: Billionaire Ray Dalio, CEO of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, is worried that capitalism might not be working for the majority of people. So, he wrote a long essay about it and posted it to LinkedIn like any normal person would. Then he did interviews about the letter with NPR and 60 Minutes. The letter is a kind of Rosetta Stone that starkly lays out the peculiarities of the billionaire mindset. We didn’t want to get bogged down in a close...

Duration:00:52:19

Can Rebate Fraud Be Racist? Absolutely: Stanley Druckenmiller and James "Jimmy" Haslam

4/21/2019
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This week on ZSE we start out by talking about the Notre Dame fire, the hypocrisies involved in philanthropic giving, and diagnose another billionaire brain disease we’re calling Ozymandias Syndrome. Why this mania among billionaires to carve one’s name into monuments? There’s a distinction to be made between, on the first hand, securing one’s legacy by performing good acts that serve the community of which one is ostensibly a member and, on the other hand, securing one’s legacy in durable...

Duration:00:39:23

The Beach is Closed: Patrick G. Ryan and Vinod Khosla

3/24/2019
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Your hosts are back with another hot track. This time, we talk about The Baker Center for Leadership and Governance's 2018 poll on American confidence in social institutions. You'll never guess who Americans trust the most (just kidding, you'll probably guess). This leads us into some discussion of how philanthropy works as a conservative strategy intent on reproducing the status quo. Then we talk about Patrick G. Ryan, founder of AON insurance and we muse on the fact that commercial...

Duration:00:47:11

Little Boxes, Little Balls: Clemmie Dixon Spangler and Kunio Busujima

3/24/2019
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In this episode's "Billionaires in the News," Joe and Chad discuss Elon Musk's decision to chief that loud with Joe Rogan to prove to the world that he's a Normal Man. Then they talk about Clemmie Dixon Spangler, the recently-deceased billionaire owner of National Gypsum Co., gypsum's role in the history of American agriculture, the Plaster War of 1820, and the relationship between gypsum mining and the standardization of walls in homes and other buildings. Then they talk about Kunio...

Duration:01:04:46

Trailer: Welcome to Zero Sum Empire

3/23/2019
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Welcome to Zero Sum Empire, the podcast that introduces you to the mostly anonymous billionaires who own the majority of the world’s wealth. Each week, we randomly select two lesser-known billionaires from our top secret list. Then, we do a little research into who they are and try to link them to larger ideas about power and infrastructure. We’re interested in the ways that massively concentrated wealth shapes our experience of daily life—especially in ways that we are unlikely to notice.

Duration:00:04:18