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Housekeeping: We take a minute at the start to talk about a new segment we are introducing, tentatively called “The Mindset Segment.” We are taking suggestions for a better name. In the News: Only one topic this time: The Pandora Papers. A massive leak of private financial records revealed that the world’s wealthiest and most powerful people siphon…
 
We’re adopting a new episode naming strategy. We’re doing descriptive titles. Complaints will be stored in the cylindrical file!In the News: We discuss the recent outer space adventures of three people so impossibly wealthy that they each had vanity fleets of rocket ships built for them, seemingly to reaffirm their unshakeable sense that they were …
 
Billionaire #1: Bruce Karsh: 3/10 on the DKMALI Joe introduces us to Bruce Karsh, a vulture investor. Vulture investors buy distressed securities from failing companies or people, and then use legal and financial advantages to increase the value of that debt. We have a long discussion about an academic article that argues vulture investing is ethic…
 
Zero Sum Empire's hosts have had a busy year that included two new babies and entirely relearning our day jobs because of the pandemic, and that's made us a little slow putting episodes out. Sorry everybody! Thank you for sticking around. We are mentally, physically, and emotionally recommitting to our once-per-month release schedule.This week in t…
 
Billionaires in the News: Zero Sum Empire goes international. There were two strange international billionaire stories we wanted to talk about: the death of the world’s richest banker, Joseph Safra, and the deadly poisoning of Chinese billionaire Lin Qi. Our last story is about the Corporate Transparency Act that was just passed as part of the defe…
 
Billionaires in the News: American Billionaires as a group surpass $1 Trillion in increased wealth during the pandemic. Elon Musk gets COVID, launches manned spacecraft, and makes a fool of himself on Twitter again. Sheldon Solow, New York real estate billionaire and “art collector,” has died. Billionaire #1: Safra Catz, 9/10 on the DKMALI (19:55)S…
 
Billionaires in the News: Trump has COVID. We have been imprisoned for 6 months by a reactionary minority political faction in the United States. I’m losing my grip on reality. The pharma billionaire Sackler family may get off and get to keep their money. More Americans died of opiate overdoses since 1999 than died in all of WWII. Billionaire #1: R…
 
Billionaires in the News: We start with Elon Musk’s dumb online behavior and decide we’re never going to talk about his tweets again. A little about Trump and Gislaine Maxwell. The Lincoln Project and the end of history.Billionaire #1: (22:15) Mark Zuckerberg 10/10!!! on the David Koch Memorial Asset Liquidation Index (DKMALI)We only discuss what Z…
 
I checked Twitter while I was writing these show notes and noticed that today—the very day we are releasing an episode about two billionaire NFL owners—the Washington Reds***s have announced that they are “conducting a study” that will likely end up with them changing the team name. Almost simultaneously, the NFL announced that it would play Life E…
 
We are back with a new episode after an extended break. We talk about why we were gone in the episode. I think we forgot to mention that we are also returning to our regular schedule of releasing episodes. I missed doing this! It was a lot of fun to record again.In the News (6:00): We wanted to keep things light and talk about a non-virus story. So…
 
It was a lot of work to get to 20 episodes. Thanks to everyone who’s listening. We are excited to start the next season of shows in the new year and have a lot of great ideas for improvements.Reflecting back on this episode, I realize that we talked a lot about a particular kind of barrier. Joe introduced us to the technical choice that the hardwar…
 
This week’s News segment begins with hedge fund billionaire Lee Cooperman crying on TV and (what else?) Michael Bloomberg announcing he’ll run for president. Jerry Moyes: 7/10 on the David Koch Asset Liquidation IndexChad introduces us to Jerry Moyes, the retired founder of Swift Transportation. Moyes owned the possibly-fictional NHL hockey team th…
 
It’s almost Halloween and you know what that means—only 7 months until Mother’s Day!In the news this week: It looks like Steve Mnuchin bent the U.S. treasury rules for designating opportunity zones to help out Michael Milken (long time enemy of the show) with a huge tax break. That’s bad, but “opportunity zones” are still a grift even when they’re …
 
First: sorry for the delay in getting this episode out. Joe was traveling for a wedding and we also decided to switch our release days to Tuesdays. We are back to releasing an episode every two weeks for the foreseeable future. Second: Chad accidentally recorded some of the episode with the internal mic on his computer, so there's a dip in our norm…
 
Intro/Billionaires in the News:Back to the Future II is neoliberal propaganda (shout out to Micah Bateman). T. Boone Pickens dead; Robert Smith tells young people to respect capitalism; Sackler Family doing more horrible stuff; Peter Thiel thinks libertarianism will eliminate politics. Billionaire #1: Austen S. Cargill II: 10/10* (16:30)The opening…
 
Remember fidget spinners? Joe doesn’t.(2:18) This week in the news: We talk about the Amazon fires and their relationship to soybean farming and tariffs. Then, in celebration of David Koch’s death, we introduce the David Koch Memorial Asset Liquidation Index, a rating scale we made up for the billionaires we cover. We decide, on a scale of 1 – 10, …
 
Billionaires in the News: Trump wants to buy Greenland. As I write this show description, I realize I missed a huge pun opportunity when I failed to say “Trumpelstiltskin.” It’ll make sense when you hear the segment. Really kicking myself over this one. The main news item for this week is the Business Roundtable announcement that “fiduciary respons…
 
In place of our normal intro this week, Joe made me offer a disclaimer about my behavior during the podcast. I tried to loosen up to promote a more relaxed vibe, so I drank a bunch of White Claws while we were recording. It worked pretty well at first, but by the end of the episode I was more or less incoherent. (No laws when you’re drinkin’ claws,…
 
The Mueller testimony gets us talking about the decline in Americans’ ability to experience a common reality with other people, which we take as a harbinger civilizational collapse. Billionaires in the News is about risk assessment and the climate crisis. Recent moves by Chubb and Moody’s indicate that global warming-related risk is figuring into f…
 
I’ll be honest, we didn’t do our best pun work with the title for this episode. Dawn of the Dead was filmed in a mall, and we talk about malls…and we also talk about lead poisoning, so…it kind of makes sense? We promise to do better in the future.We begin by reading a review of the new arcade/taco restaurant in Duluth. I’m hard on Duluth sometimes,…
 
We begin with a disturbing revelation about Chad’s private life. Yes, it’s true, he owns an essential oil diffuser. Please don’t judge. Billionaires in the News this week is a response to the NYT asking most of the Democratic presidential candidates whether they thought “anyone deserves to have a billion dollars.” It’s not a great question to begin…
 
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 t…
 
Footin’ on the Pritz: Tom Benson and The Pritzker FamilyBillionaires 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 id…
 
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 colle…
 
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 spac…
 
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 …
 
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 let…
 
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 lega…
 
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 …
 
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 …
 
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 …
 
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