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Saturday, May 25, 2013

Link: Steve Keen in Seattle, Evening Session

An audience of over 200 got vintage Steve Keen in his May 23 Seattle appearance. The video is at this moment lost in YouTube limbo, a link to the video of the luncheon session with Gerard Fitzpatrick and Steve Keen is below. We are immensely grateful to the people who were there, and to the supporters who showed up afterward. I think we have opened a real connection between Steve and Seattle, and I hope others who want to see Steve Keen become more of a presence in our Pacific Northwest neighborhood will contact us at SteveKeenInSeattle@live.com. Aside from being ten thousand miles closer to the action, Seattle has advantages in other respects, and the region, from Vancouver, British Columbia to Eugene and Corvallis, Oregon would expand its economics IQ by dozens of points by adding him, even if only for part of the year.

(video is at this moment lost in YouTube limbo)
Listen to this episode

KEXP with Mike McCormick, May 25


KVI with John Carlson, May 22

KIRO with Dave Ross May 22


"Money, Monetary Policy and Financial Repression," with Gerard Fitzpatrick of Russell Investments:

Steve's lost bet and trek to the top of the mountain yields swags for the homeless.

Here is the story promised in our introductions to Steve at Seattle's Town Hall May 23.

Being interviewed on Australian national television about his debt analysis, Steve was asked a side question about the Australian housing market.  He replied that house prices had dropped in Japan by 40 percent in real terms in the ten to fifteen years following the peak of their housing bubble, and Australia should not expect to be different.

The housing bulls went for him.

In a talk later at the library at Parliament House (Australia's national legislature), he was challenged by his co-presenter, banker and interest rate strategist Rory Robertson.  Halfway through Steve's talk, Robertson said (incorrectly) "You are most famous for your housing price call. You said house prices are going to fall by 40 percent peak to trough.  If they fall by less, you have to walk to Mt. Kosciusko (KOZ-ee-OSS-ko).  If they fall by less, I will walk."

(Full disclosure, Steve was appearing at Parliament House not for his fame in making housing calls.)

The month before the bet the government instituted the "First Time Vendor's Boost," which multiplied the subsidy for first-time home buyers by two to three times.  When house prices rose, Robertson declared that Steve had lost the bet.

In fact, he had never said that house prices would fall from the point of his statement, only that they would (or could) fall by 40 percent over a ten- to fifteen-year period.  But rather than litigate in the media, Steve chose to walk.  Starting from Canberra, Steve and thirteen supporters walked the 240 kilometers (160 miles) in nine days to the top of the 7,300-foot mountain in nine days.  They were joined for at least part of the trek by between 60 and 100 others (Steve is not sure the exact number).

Turning the experience into a kind of walk-a-thon, they raised $15,000 for "Swags for the Homeless."  A "swag" is a one-person tent or bivouac. See here.  They purchased and distributed 250 of the swags and turned the lost bet into a win for the homeless and a national media event.


  1. As ever Mr Keen nails it...

  2. I see that unemployment and private debt are tightly correlated, but how do I know which way the causation goes?

  3. First you see which leads the other, which comes first. Then you make up stories about what might be causal factors. And you will find it is not so perfectly clear. For example, in the current situation, unemployment is driving people into school for which they are borrowing. The unemployment is driving the debt. In previous times, the big mortgage borrowing and spending out of home equity loans buoyed the economy.

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