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Episode 106
Featuring Joshua Landis

Demetri Kofinas speaks with Joshua Landis, a Middle East scholar and Syria expert about the disorderly withdrawal of American forces from Syria and the larger shift in the balance of power that we are seeing as nations scramble to remake alliances in the wake of America’s absence.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Joshua Landis, a Middle East scholar and Syria expert about the disorderly withdrawal of American forces from Syria and the larger shift in the balance of power that we are seeing as nations scramble to remake alliances in the wake of America’s absence.

It seems that what we've seen transpire in the Middle East during the past week is a symptom of a much larger trend: the deterioration of the rules-based international order, the fulcrum around which the world has turned for three generations—the entirety of living memory. It is the break-down of national borders, in many cases borders that have been artificially constructed and maintained by the credible threat of American military power. As America begins its long-anticipated withdrawal from the world stage, others will rise to take her place. It was probably naive to imagine that this could happen in a managed way. Perhaps it was always destined to be messy. As much as Trump's detractors wish to blame him for the mess in Syria, the truth is, he is only an accelerant. He isn't responsible for assembling the reactants. 

The forces currently being unleashed in what was once Northern Syria remain contained within the Greater Middle East, but Turkey’s involvement creates the potential for spillover into the Balkans and southern Europe at some indeterminate date in the future. Turkey has been flexing its geopolitical muscles with Greece for years. It is no longer inconceivable to imagine that its membership in NATO will prove to be an insufficient deterrent for curbing Turkish military aggression or the expansionary ambitions of Erdoğan in the Aegean. Erdoğan seems to be staking his political career on the vision of a more assertive and expansionary Turkish foreign policy. Turkey remains strategically indispensable to the US & NATO. If he expands Turkey's current activities in Cypriot waters, it isn't clear who will stop him.

It's a cliché, but all bets do seem to be off. If the nations of the world decide that America can no longer guarantee their security or maintain the integrity of their borders, we may start to see a rapid reorganization of the international order along radically different lines. It's hard to believe, but Russia has played its cards better than any one of the major powers. It has capitalized on (and in some cases stoked) the chaos of political dysfunction both within and across the transatlantic relationship. It seems to have positioned itself as the new dance partner for any country suddenly in need of an escort. Its economy may be half the size of California's, but this has not stopped Putin from rebranding the Russian Federation as "the new neighborhood muscle," that will have your back when the US doesn't.

America's leaders have exhibited remarkable incompetence in the area of foreign policy, displaying only flickering instances of humility and foresight since being thrust upon the world stage as the new global hegemon and the only standing survivor of the Cold War. For years, we've been asking ourselves what this new world is going to look like, a world without America guaranteeing security for the liberal, democratic order. The events currently transpiring in Syria may be giving us our first real glimpse of what that world will look like. It's chaotic. It's authoritarian. And it's more violent. This is the new backdrop for which the circus that is American politics will play out in 2020. Democratic candidates who have staked their candidacies on demonizing Donald Trump, while avoiding addressing the forces that brought him to office in the first place risk being totally blindsided by even lower voter turnout and a re-election of Donald Trump in 2020. If that happens, American foreign policy will likely go into crisis. It's really unclear at that point what would happen. The proverbial "Deep State" has resisted his candidacy from the beginning but has not gone so far as to overthrow his popular mandate. Should he be re-elected, what will Washington's elite, its intelligence agencies and wealthy benefactors do? Will they sit by and watch while Trump dismantles what is left of their dysfunctional experiment in American empire? Or, will they impeach him? He certainly hasn't made it difficult with his actions, but they no longer have the credibility to do it without further sacrificing their own legitimacy.

This is truly uncharted waters. We should all pray that a new consensus can emerge in the next twelve months that will bring enough of the country together to stop the bleeding, but it is not clear from what source this unanimity will spring.

This week’s rundown is a 16-page compilation of all the information (including pictures and links material referenced during the episode) compiled by Demetri ahead of his recording with Joshua Landis. You can access this document, along with a transcript to this week’s episode through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers also gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily be added to your favorite podcast application.

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Subscribe & Support the Podcast at http://patreon.com/hiddenforces

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Joshua Landis is Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and Associate Professor of Middle East studies at the University of Oklahoma’s Department of International and Area Studies. He writes “Syria Comment,” a daily newsletter on Syrian politics that attracts some 3,000 readers a day. It is widely read by officials in Washington, Europe, and Syria. Dr. Landis regularly travels to Washington DC to consult with the State Department and other government agencies. He is a frequent analyst on TV and radio and has appeared on the Jim Lehrer News Hour, Charlie Rose Show, CNN, Fox News, and been quoted widely in the NY Times, WSJ, Washington Post, LA Times, and comments frequently for NPR and BBC radio. He has spoken at the Brookings Institute, USIP, Middle East Institute, and Council on Foreign Relations.

He was educated at Princeton (PhD), Harvard (MA), and Swarthmore (BA). He has lived over 14 years in the Middle East; having been brought up in Beirut, he returned to the region in the 1980s to teach in Beirut and study at universities in Damascus, Cairo, and Istanbul. Most recently, he spent 2005 in Syria as a Senior Fulbright Research Fellow and lived several months in Damascus in 2007. He teaches: Political Islam, International Relations in the Middle East, Islam, The Modern Middle East, Culture and Society in the Middle East, the US in the Middle East and other courses.

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Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

Foreign Affairs
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Episode 105
Featuring Jake Hanrahan

Jake Hanrahan reports on the crisis unfolding in the Kurdish YPG-controlled border region between Syria and Turkey following the US withdrawal of forces and the subsequent Turkish invasion. Hanrahan has reported from Syria, Iraq, southeast Turkey, and other conflict zones for HBO, Vice News, PBS Newshour, and BBC News, to name a few.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Jake Hanrahan about the crisis unfolding in the border region between Syria and Turkey following the US withdrawal of forces from northern Syria. This withdrawal precipitated the subsequent assault by Turkish Armed Forces on the Kurdish YPG-controlled region of Rojava. Jake Hanrahan is an independent journalist and documentary filmmaker based in the UK. He has reported from Syria, Iraq, southeast Turkey, and other conflict zones for HBO, Vice News, PBS Newshour, and BBC News, to name a few. 

Turkish President Erdogan, after obtaining the consent of President Trump, began his invasion into the Kurdish YPG controlled region of Syria known as Rojava this past Wednesday. During Sunday’s “Face the Nation,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed to Margaret Brennan that roughly 1,000 U.S. troops would be evacuated from northern Syria following Trump’s troop withdrawal announcement. There are also multiple reports of ISIS families and fighters previously captured and held by Kurdish forces starting to escape after Tukey’s bombardments. Also, Lebanese broadcaster al-Mayadeen reported Sunday that the Syrian army would enter Manbij and Kobani in the next 48 hours, based on an agreement with the Syrian Democratic Forces (the latter, according to Mohammed Shaheen, the deputy chairman of Euphrates region told North-Press). 

It seems that what we are seeing transpire in the Middle East is the disintegration of artificially constructed national borders around sectarian lines. The forces being unleashed have thus far remain contained within the Greater Middle East, but Turkey’s involvement creates the further potential for spillover into the Balkans and southern Europe at some indeterminate future date. Additionally, Turkey has been flexing its geopolitical muscles where Greece is concerned in recent years, and it is no longer inconceivable to imagine that its troubled relationship to the EU and its membership in NATO will prove insufficient as deterrents for curbing Turkish military aggression or the expansionary ideas of Erdoğan in the Aegean. 

This conversation is meant to help Hidden Forces listeners develop some context for what has transpired over the past week, the significance of Trump’s decision, and the implications moving forward. 

Hidden Forces is listener funded. We rely on you to help us keep the program free of corporate advertising. You can help us do that by subscribing to one of our three content tiers through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers also gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily be added to your favorite podcast application. Your support is deeply appreciated.

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Subscribe & Support the Podcast at http://patreon.com/hiddenforces

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Jake Hanrahan is an independent journalist and documentary filmmaker based in the UK. He covers conflict, crime, and politics all over the world, from east Ukraine to east Jerusalem and makes documentaries, write articles, and take photos.

Jake has worked for HBO, VICE News, Esquire, Frontline PBS, ProPublica, BBC News, Bellingcat, The Guardian, Wired, and more, while reporting from Syria, Iraq, southeast Turkey, Ukraine, Israel, Palestine, Peru, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, and other countries/locations around the world. Hanrahan focuses primarily on irregular warfare but also covers organized crime and extremist politics.

I work mostly as a correspondent and producer.

If you want to get in touch please email me at: jake@hanrahan.tv
Getting shelled in east Ukraine.

Business
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Episode 104
Featuring Mike Maloney

Demetri Kofinas speaks with Michael Maloney, perennial entrepreneur and host of the smash-hit documentary series Hidden Secrets of Money about his life and career, as well as his passion for monetary history, libertarianism, and Austrian economics.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Michael Maloney, perennial entrepreneur and host of the documentary series Hidden Secrets of Money about monetary history, libertarianism, and Austrian economics. 

Before starting GoldSilver.com, Mike overcame his childhood dyslexia to found a series of companies, including a high-end stereo manufacturer, winning several design awards in the process. Few people know this, but one of Mike Maloney’s own designs is on permanent display at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Mike also grew up dyslexic, leaving school after the 9th grade. Mike’s first job was as a traveling salesman, driving all over the Southwest and as far North as Oregon with a van full of samples and catalogs of automotive parts and accessories that he sold to customers. Eventually, Mike started his own high-end stereo equipment manufacturer, as well as an annual show called the Home Entertainment Show that took place during the same day as the Consumer Electronics Show. It was not until the very early 2000’s that Mike Maloney got the idea for GoldSilver.com, which began as a gold and silver brokerage, and which eventually developed into a reputable source for educational media content on Austrian economics, precious metals, and libertarian thought. For more than a decade now, Mike Maloney has traveled the world, sharing his relentless passion for economics and monetary history with audiences from Silicon Valley to Wall Street and from Hong Kong to Rome. He joins us today on Hidden Forces to share that experience with us.

The overtime to this week's episode includes a lengthy conversation about Tesla, as Mike Maloney is a Tesla Bull, and has taken some issue with our bearish coverage of the electric car manufacturer and its founder, Elon Musk. This segment, as well as the transcript and rundown to the full episode, are available to audiophile, autodidact, and super nerd subscribers through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers also gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily be added to your favorite podcast application.

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Subscribe & Support the Podcast at http://patreon.com/hiddenforces

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Michael Maloney is host of the smash-hit video series Hidden Secrets of Money, author of the bestselling precious metals book Guide to Investing in Gold and Silver, and founder of GoldSilver.com, one of the world's most highly regarded investment education companies and a global leader in gold and silver sales. For more than a decade, he’s traveled the world sharing his relentless passion for economics and monetary history with audiences from Silicon Valley to Wall Street, from Hong Kong to Rome.

As he delved into financial markets, monetary history, and global economics, Mike discovered that the same economic cycles kept repeating over and over throughout history, from ancient times to modern-day. "For 2,400 years as people have lost faith in fiat currencies, they have turned to 'real money,' gold and silver," Mike says. "Today the stage is set for a worldwide 'gold rush' to the safe haven of precious metals just when supplies of those metals are precariously low. The opportunity for those who position themselves accordingly, ahead of the crowd, is like none we will see again in our lifetimes."

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

Culture
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Episode 103
Featuring Michele Gelfand

Demetri Kofinas speaks with cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand, who argues that the world’s cultures can be classified into two categories by virtue of their norms. This episode is full of eye-opening insights for development professionals, policymakers and those working in international business.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with cultural psychologist Michele Gelfand, who argues in her latest book, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers, that the world’s cultures can be classified into two categories by virtue of their norms. She offers a lucid explanation of how and why cultures become tight or loose, outlining their different societal attitudes. This episode is full of eye-opening insights for development professionals, policymakers and those working in international business. 

According to Gelfand, tight cultures have a large number of social norms that enforce order and conformity and tend to evolve in nations that face many natural and human-made threats. Loose cultures, on the other hand, have more lenient norms and tolerate a wider array of behaviors. They generally face fewer chronic threats – but may tighten up temporarily in the event of an acute threat. Furthermore, says Michele, tight and loose cultures each have advantages and disadvantages and it’s possible to modify a nation’s norms in order to address protracted social problems. This is also true in the private sector. In a particularly relevant part of the conversation, Michele describes how businesses also develop tight or loose cultures and how a cultural mismatch can doom a merger or undermine cooperation among a corporation’s divisions. The example she provides is that of Chrysler and Mercedes Benz, but Demetri also raises the example of AOL-Time Warner, perhaps the most prominent failed marriage of the late 90’s stock market boom. 

“Tight” cultures, like Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Germany, embrace rigid norms and mete out harsh punishments for those who deviate. “Loose” cultures, including New Zealand, the United States, and Brazil, are more tolerant of a wide assortment of behaviors. According to Dr. Gelfand, when countries, families, companies, and US states all act in accordance with their divergent conceptions of “normal,” misunderstandings and conflict often arise that help to explain many of the phenomena we encounter in daily life, business, and politics.

The overtime to this week's episode includes a conversation about changing cultural norms in the workplace, as well as how the norms in some western countries began to change after terrorist attacks. 

This overtime segment, as well as the transcript and rundown to the full episode, are available to audiophile, autodidact, and super nerd subscribers through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers also gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily be added to your favorite podcast application. 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Subscribe & Support the Podcast at http://patreon.com/hiddenforces

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Publication Date: 10/07/2019

Michele Gelfand is a cultural psychologist, best known for being an expert on tightness–looseness theory, which explains variations in the strength of social norms and punishments across human groups. She is currently a Distinguished University Professor in Psychology and the RH Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park. Gelfand uses field, experimental, computational and neuroscience methods to understand the evolution of culture and its multilevel consequences for human groups. She is the author of Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire the World (Scribner, 2018), co-editor of Values, Political Action, and Change in the Middle East and the Arab Spring (Oxford University Press, 2017), The Psychology of Conflict and Conflict Management in Organizations (Taylor & Francis, 2013), and The Handbook of Negotiation and Culture (Stanford University Press, 2004), and is the founding co-editor of the Advances in Culture and Psychology Annual Series and the Frontiers of Culture and Psychology series (Oxford University Press). Gelfand studied at Colgate University, where she graduated with a B.A. in psychology in 1989. She graduated from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 1996 with a PhD in social psychology and organizational psychology.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Economy
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Episode 102
Featuring William White

Demetri Kofinas speaks with fmr. Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, William White, about markets and the prospects for an ‘international reset’ of the global financial system. Topics include post-crisis reform, market architecture, currency wars, negative interest rates, causes for inflation, the ‘Global Ring of Fire,’ and more.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with economist and former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada, William White, about the state of our market economy and the prospects for an ‘international reset’ of the global financial system.

William R. White was most recently chairman of the Economic and Development Review Committee at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) from 2009 to 2018. He is famous for having flagged the wild behavior in debt markets before the Great Financial Crisis of 2008. He began his career in 1969 as an economist working at the Bank of England. In 1972 he joined the Bank of Canada where he spent 22 years and was appointed Deputy Governor in September 1988. In 1994, he joined the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and served as its Economic Adviser and Head of the Monetary and Economic Department from May 1995 to June 2008.

In their conversation, Demetri and Dr. White discuss a wide range of topics focused primarily on the global financial system. Their conversation begins with a focus on the state of the current system, including a discussion about the consequences of regulatory reform (both intended and unintended), as well as endogenous transformation to the system brought about by independent changes in the behavior of banks and other financial participants. Most of the conversation dealing with possible changes to the International Monetary and Financial System happen during the Episode Overtime, including a discussion about central bank-issued cryptocurrencies, private sector digital money like Libra, and Bitcoin. The overtime also includes a lengthy discussion about government policy in the face of climate change, and how this relates to the politics of monetary policy.

William White has spent five decades as a central banker and international financial policymaker, and we are fortunate beneficiaries of the wisdom that he has accrued during these many years.

Additional topics discussed during the episode include post-crisis reform, market architecture, currency wars, negative interest rates, the Chinese renminbi, causes for inflation, Japanification, the ‘Global Ring of Fire,’ and much more.

You can access the rundown to this week’s episode, along with a transcript of Demetri and Dr. White’s conversation through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers are granted access to our overtime feed, which can be easily added to your favorite podcast application.

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas
Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou
Subscribe & Support the Podcast at http://patreon.com/hiddenforces
Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

William R. White is currently a Senior Fellow at the C.D. Howe Institute in Toronto, Canada. Until April of 2018, he was the chairman of the Economic and Development Review Committee at the OECD in Paris. This committee carries on regular evaluations of the policies of both member countries and aspiring members of the OECD. In his capacity as chairman, to which he was appointed in October 2009, William White also contributed to meetings of WP1 and the Economic Policy Committee of the OECD. As well, he was for four years a member of the Issing Committee, advising the German chancellor on G-20 issues. William White has in recent years published many articles on topics related to monetary and financial stability as well as the process of international cooperation in these areas. He speaks regularly to a wide range of audiences.

Dr. White was presented in September with the 2016 “Adam Smith Prize”, the highest award of the National Association of Business Economists (US). In May of 2015, he was honored with the “Hans-Moller-Medal” from VAC, the alumni club of political economists at Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich. Prior to that, he received the annual “Prize of the Monetary Workshop on Monetary, Financial and Macro-Prudential Policy “in Frankfurt in May 2014.

Dr. White joined the Bank for International Settlements in June 1994 as Manager in the Monetary and Economic Department and was appointed to the position of Economic Adviser and Head of the Monetary and Economic Department (MED), in May 1995. He oversaw the preparation of the prestigious BIS Annual Report for which he wrote the Introduction and Conclusions. As Head of the MED, he had overall responsibility for the department’s output of research, data and information services, and the organization of meetings for central bank Governors and staff around the world.

Dr. White was also a member of the Executive Committee which manages the BIS. In this capacity, he contributed actively to various internal subcommittees which establish policies to guide the Bank’s overall activities, including those of the Banking Department and Risk Control. He retired from the BIS on 30 June 2008.

Dr. White began his professional career at the Bank of England, where he was an economist from 1969 to 1972. Subsequently, he spent 22 years with the Bank of Canada. His first six years at the Bank of Canada were with the Department of Banking and Financial Analysis, first as an economist and finally as Deputy Chief. In1978, Dr. White took on different responsibilities as the Deputy Chief of the Research Department and was made Chief of the Department in 1979. He was appointed Adviser to the Governor in 1984 and Deputy Governor of the Bank of Canada on September 1988.

In addition to these permanent positions, Dr. White spent six months (1985- 86) as a Special Adviser to the Canadian Minister of Finance and six years as a member of Statistics Canada’s Advisory Panel on the National Income Accounts. Since the late 1980s, he has been an active participant in many international committees, including the EPC and WP3 at the OECD, the G-10 Deputies, and the Bellagio Group which brings together senior government officials, central bankers, and academics.

Born in Kenora, Ontario, Dr. White received his BA from the University of Windsor in Windsor, Canada. In 1969 he received his Ph.D. from the University of Manchester, UK, where he was supported by a Commonwealth Scholarship.

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Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Cryptocurrency
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Cryptocurrency
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Episode 101
Featuring Michael Casey

Demetri Kofinas speaks with Michael Casey, an acclaimed writer, and researcher in the fields of economics, finance, and digital-currency technology, the rise of cryptocurrency, and how surveillance capitalism and a loss of faith in financial institutions are driving the remaking of the modern world.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Michael Casey, an acclaimed author, journalist, researcher, and entrepreneur who currently serves as CEO and founder of Streambed Media, an early-stage video production and technology platform that seeks to optimize capital formation and creative output in the digital media industry. Michael is also chairman of CoinDesk’s advisory board and a senior advisor at the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative, where he has spearheaded research projects that employ blockchain technology to achieve social impact goals.

Michael Casey’s breadth of experience as a financial journalist for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal, as well as his time spent stationed overseas in Thailand and Argentina, provide him with a unique perspective on the ‘problem of trust’ and what he calls ‘the Internet’s original sin.’ The latter is a reference to the observation that the inventors of packet switching and the basic Web protocols did, according to Casey, “a masterful job figuring how to move information seamlessly across a distributed network. What they didn’t do was resolve the problem of trust.” “On the one hand,” writes the chairman of CoinDesk’s advisory board, “the distribution of public information was disintermediated, which put all centralized providers of that information, especially newspapers and other media outlets, under intense business pressure from blogs and other new information competitors. But on the other, all valuable information – particularly money itself, an especially valuable form of information – was still intermediated by trusted third parties.”

This intersection between money, communication, and trust serves as the basis for Demetri and Michael’s conversation during this episode. The two discuss Shoshana Zuboff’s work on Surveillance Capitalism, the loss of faith in financial institutions and central banks (including recent actions by the Federal Open Market Committee and the intervention by the Fed in the overnight Repo market), and how cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technology aims to reinstill this lost faith by resolving the problem of trust.

The overtime to this week’s episode is an exhaustive exploration of the forces driving cryptocurrency adoption around the globe, the cultural impetus behind these forces, and the financial imperatives fueling Bitcoin's ascent as truly global money.

You can access the overtime, along with a transcript and rundown to this week’s episode through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers also gain access to the overtime RSS feed, which can be easily be added to your favorite podcast application. 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Subscribe & Support the Podcast at http://patreon.com/hiddenforces

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Michael Casey is CEO and founder of Streambed Media, an early-stage video production and technology platform that seeks to optimize capital formation and creative output in the digital media industry. He is also chairman of CoinDesk’s advisory board and a senior advisor at the MIT Media Lab’s Digital Currency Initiative, where he has spearheaded research projects that employ blockchain technology to achieve social impact goals. Additionally, Casey is a senior lecturer at MIT Sloan School of Management, an adjunct professor at Curtin University’s Center for Culture and Technology.

Until mid-2015, Casey was a senior columnist covering global finance at The Wall Street Journal, the culmination of a two-decade career in print journalism that spanned various roles and stints on five continents. He also hosted online TV shows for WSJ Live and frequently appeared on various networks as a commentator, including CNBC, CNN, Fox Business, and the BBC. Casey is a frequent speaker on the international conference circuit, giving presentations on topics of digital innovation, globalization, and the future of media and money. He also advises and consults for both startups and large enterprises that are undergoing or confronting digital transformation.

Casey has five acclaimed books to his name, including The Truth Machine: The Blockchain and the Future of Everything and The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and Digital Money are Challenging the Global Economic Order, both co-authored with Paul Vigna. He has also worked with and has featured in various documentaries covering a variety of themes to do with digital technology and culture.

A native of Perth, Australia, Casey is a graduate of the University of Western Australia and has higher degrees from Cornell University and Curtin University.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

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Hashgraph
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Hashgraph
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Episode 100
Featuring Leemon Baird & Mance Harmon

Demetri speaks with Hedera Hashgraph founders Leemon Baird and Mance Harmon about Open Access, now that the network has gone public. This is the go-to-episode for anyone looking to understand the public ledger and why Fortune 100 companies like IBM, Deutsche Telekom, Boeing, and others have joined Hedera's Governing Council.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Hedera Hashgraph founders Leemon Baird and Mance Harmon about Open Access, now that the network has officially gone public. This is the go-to-episode for anyone looking to understand the public ledger and why Fortune 100 companies like IBM, Deutsche Telekom, Boeing, and others have joined Hedera's Governing Council.

As a seed investor in Hedera Hashgraph, Demetri’s involvement with the public ledger goes back to September 2017, when he first invited Leemon Baird onto Hidden Forces to discuss the Hashgraph Whitepaper. Weeks later, Demetri put on an event at the Assemblage NoMad where Mance Harmon joined a panel alongside two other members of the executive team. The panel explored the innovation of Hashgraph consensus, specifically virtual voting and gossip-about-gossip. On March 13th, 2018, Leemon and Mance announced the launch of Hedera Hashgraph at an event in New York City, and on August 1st, 2018, news of the ledger’s $6 Billion valuation was made public. Six months later, Hedera announced the initial group of Governing Council Members, and six months after this IBM, Tata Communications, FIS, and Boeing were announced as having joined Hedera’s Governing Council as well. Two years since Leemon Baird first appeared on Hidden Forces to share the news about Hashgraph, Hedera has finally gone public. Open Access also marks the beginning of Hedera’s strategic 15-year coin distribution, with HBAR tokens beginning to be released on exchanges in the US and Asia.

This recording is meant to be the go-to-episode for anyone looking to understand what Hedera Hashgraph is and the functions of the Hedera Governing Council. Demetri also references a back-and-forth on Twitter between him, Hedera’s technical lead, and a number of Hedera skeptics resulting from a medium post by writer and blockchain enthusiast Eric Wall. Hedera’s technical lead, Paul Madsen, responded with his own posts. Demetri has encouraged anyone interested in learning more about Hedera Hashgraph to engage with the team through their Telegram channel, as well as on Twitter.

Relevant Timecodes:

00:11:53 Governing Council Announcements

00:14:08 Hedera Consensus Service with Hyperledger Foundation

00:16:50 What is Finality?

00:18:57 Probabilistic Consensus: The Problem with Not Having Finality

00:20:25 Proof of Work Slows Us Down

00:21:51 How is This Possible?

00:28:57 Coq Proof

00:34:05 Theoretical Competitors to Hashgraph

00:35:59 Database Sharding

00:44:15 Proof-of-Stake vs. Proof-of-Work

00:49:39 Hedera Proxy Staking (POS)

00:50:58 Private vs. Public Networks /Permissioned vs. Permissionless Databases

00:52:35 Path to Decentralization

00:53:45 Market Capitalization & Network Security

00:56:16 Addressing Scams

00:58:47 Theoretical Attacks, Proxy Staking & HBARS

01:06:12 Network Fees

01:08:08 How Governance Works in Hedera

01:10:07 Governing Council: “Can’s” and “Can'ts"

01:17:19 Ownership of HBARS

01:19:21 Stability: Open Source vs. Open Review

01:27:29 Regulatory Approach: Squeaky Clean

01:31:32 Use Cases

You can access that rundown, along with a transcript to this week’s episode through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers also gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily be added to your favorite podcast application. 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Subscribe & Support the Podcast at https://patreon.com/hiddenforces

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Leemon Baird is the Co-founder and CTO of Swirlds Inc. With over 20 years of technology and startup experience, he has held positions as a Professor of Computer Science at the Air Force Academy, Adjunct Professor at multiple other prestigious universities, and as a senior scientist in several labs. He has been the co-founder of several startups, including two identity-related starts-ups with successful exits. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University faster than any student in school history (2 years, 9 months), has multiple patents, and over 100 publications in peer-reviewed journals on computer security, machine learning, and mathematics. He regularly keynotes on these topics at conferences.

Mance Harmon is an experienced technology executive and entrepreneur with more than 20 years of strategic leadership experience in multi-national corporations, government agencies, and high-tech startups, and is Co-founder and CEO of Swirlds Inc. Prior experience includes serving as the Head of Architecture and Labs at Ping Identity, Founder / CEO of two tech startups, the senior executive for product security at a $1.7B revenue organization, Program Manager for a very-large-scale software program for the Missile Defense Agency, the Course Director for Cybersecurity at US Air Force Academy, and research scientist in Machine Learning at Wright Laboratory. Mance received an MS in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts, and a BS in Computer Science from Mississippi State University.

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Economy
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Episode 99
Featuring Claudio Borio

Demetri Kofinas speaks with Claudio Borio about outstanding sources of financial instability and some of the challenges facing Central Banks as the economy and markets begin to show signs of weakness heading towards the end of 2019. Dr. Borio heads the Monetary and Economic Department at the Bank for International Settlements.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Claudio Borio about outstanding sources of financial instability and some of the challenges facing Central Banks as the economy and markets begin to show signs of weakness heading towards the end of 2019. Dr. Borio heads the Monetary and Economic Department at the Bank for International Settlements and has written extensively about some of the longer-term, structural forces bedeviling policymakers since the early 2000s. 

More recently, the Federal Reserve held its annual Economic Symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Fed Chairman Jay Powell delivered a speech titled, “Challenges for Monetary Policy,” in which he addresses “three longer run questions” bedeviling policymakers. In the speech, Powell breaks up the post-war history of central banking into three distinct eras: 1950–1982, 1983–2009, and 2010—. The day before Jay Powell’s speech, on August 22nd, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, published a series of tweets where he conducted a similar retrospective analysis of central bank policy going back to the stagflationary period of the 1970s. According to Larry Summers, “the high inflation and high-interest rates of the 1970s generated a revolution in macroeconomic thinking, policy, and institutions,” while the “low inflation, low-interest rates and stagnation of the last decade…deserves at least an equal response.” Further, Summers writes, “the financial crisis had roots in bubbles and excessive leverage caused by efforts to maintain demand after the 2001 recession,” which suggests that perhaps, the maniacal focus on inflation amplified by the experience of the stagflationary nineteen-seventies blinded central banks and policymakers to a build-up in financial risks exacerbated by keeping interest rates “too low for too long” during the 1990’s and early 2000’s.   

The conversation you’re about to hear was recorded on Monday, August 19th, several days before the publication of Jay Powell’s speech, as well as Larry Summers’ tweets. Some of the key questions we attempt to answer during this discussion are: “What’s driving the slow growth environment that we are in?” “Are rates low because central banks are keeping them low, or are rates low because central banks, encouraged by a prolonged period of disinflation, kept interest rates chronically below the ‘natural rate’ for too long, thus encouraging the growth of asset price fueled credit bubbles that have turned central banks from being stewards of the expansion to now being managers of the contraction?” 

Demetri and Claudio also explore the different eras highlighted in Chairman Powell’s speech, search for the origins of inflation targeting as a policy objective, question the efficacy of neutral rate targeting, and consider some of the possible consequences that could arise from an economic model that has increasingly come to rely upon debt financing in order to grow.

In the overtime, Demetri asks Dr. Claudio Borio questions about the BIS 2019 Annual report, with a keen focus on some of the more immediate risks facing the global economy. This week’s rundown is particularly useful for those seeking to gain a deeper sense of the issues discussed during the podcast. You can access that rundown, along with a transcript to this week’s episode through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers also gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily be added to your favorite podcast application.

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Subscribe & Support the Podcast at https://patreon.com/hiddenforces

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Claudio Borio has served as Head of the Monetary and Economic Department at the BIS for the past six years and has been at the BIS since 1987, having held various positions in the Monetary and Economic Department (MED), including Deputy Head of MED and Director of Research and Statistics as well as Head of Secretariat for the Committee on the Global Financial System and the Gold and Foreign Exchange Committee (now the Markets Committee). From 1985 to 1987, he was an economist at the OECD, working in the country studies branch of the Economics and Statistics Department. Prior to that, he was Lecturer and Research Fellow at Brasenose College, Oxford University. He holds a DPhil and an MPhil in Economics and a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the same university. Claudio is author of numerous publications in the fields of monetary policy, banking, finance and issues related to financial stability.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

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Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

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Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Hong Kong
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Episode 98
Featuring David Webb

In Episode 98, Demetri speaks with famed Hong Kong investor David Webb, an outspoken critic of China’s authoritarian rule over the coastal territory. Their conversation concerns Hong Kong’s future, as well as the political and financial implications of civil unrest for China, as the most leveraged economy at scale, in the world.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with famed Hong Kong investor David Webb, an outspoken critic of China’s authoritarian grip over the coastal territory.

There are two parts to this story that we explore during this conversation. The first deals with Hong Kong – specifically, its political and economic future as an independent territory of mainland China. The second deals with China itself – specifically, its political and financial stability as the most leveraged economy at scale, in the world.

The events in Hong Kong over the last several months – exacerbated by Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s determination to push through the Extradition bill despite mounting opposition – have created a terrifying sense of crisis and disorder in the city. Videos of police beatings and retaliatory violence by protestors, as well as satellite images of what appear to be armored personnel carriers and other vehicles belonging to China’s paramilitary People’s Armed Police, have created an ominous sense of foreboding in the city. "One country, two systems," might be the fault line upon which the tectonic forces shaping China’s political and economic development are colliding, creating mountains of civil unrest among Hong Kongers. At what point do the political tremors in Hong Kong become civic earthquakes capable of shattering the fragile peace between these two irreconcilable systems? Will open society prevail in Hong Kong, or will China do whatever it takes in order to reassert control over the former British colony?

In the second part of this conversation, David Webb shares his insights from his decades of experience studying the Chinese economy and investing in Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong. Those insights include a discussion about China’s overleveraged banking system, an overvalued RMB, and a system of Ponzi financing for Chinese companies listed on non-mainland exchanges. David Webb also contests a thesis famously put forward by hedge fund manager Kyle Bass about the precarious position of Hong Kong’s currency and the risk of decoupling with the US dollar. Additional topics include a new “tech cold war,” China’s propaganda battle, the US-China trade war, and much, much more.

There is no overtime to this week’s episode on account of some technical constraints. Instead, we have made the transcript to this conversation available to Overtime subscribers, which will be published in the next day or two. You can gain access to the transcript, as well as a copy of the rundown to this week’s episode directly through our Patreon page.

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Subscribe & Support the Podcast at https://patreon.com/hiddenforces

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

David Webb is a Hong Kong resident since 1991 and former investment banker who retired in 1998 to focus on his investments and establish Webb-site.com, a non-profit platform for better corporate and economic governance, which now has over 27,000 subscribers to its free newsletter. The site includes Webb-site Reports, with news, analysis, and opinions on HK affairs, and Webb-site Who’s Who, a database on HK organizations and people, including Webb-site Total Returns on all HK-listed stocks since 1994 and all directors and advisers of HK-listed companies since 1990, all free. David’s been a member of HK’s Takeovers and Mergers Panel since 2001 (a Deputy Chairman since 2013) and was an elected independent director of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Ltd from 2003 to 2008. In the 1980s he was a best-selling author of games and books for the first generation of home computers. He is an Oxford maths graduate, a member of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders (2005-2011), and former Chairman of Hong Kong Mensa. As a private investor in HK-listed small-caps for over 24 years, filtering for both valuation and governance quality to avoid the lemons more often than average, he has substantially out-performed the market and amassed shareholdings currently over the 5% disclosure threshold in 19 companies or “Webb-chips” as detailed on the site.

@webbhk

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Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

Bitcoin
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Play
Episode 97
Featuring Nic Carter

Nic Carter talks about the 'essence' of Bitcoin: an experiment in social organization that doesn’t play by the rules of the state or by the conventions of modern society. It is a movement that is likely to grow, especially if governments validate the concerns of Bitcoiners with further debt monetization or preferential bailouts.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Nic Carter, co-founder of both the VC fund Castle Island Ventures, as well as the research and data analytics company Coinmetrics.io. Nic also has a master’s degree in philosophy, and the two spend much of the overtime applying that discipline to bitcoin by examining the works of people like Friedrich Nietzsche and his philosophy around essence, John Rawls and his veil of ignorance, as well as applying a strain of utilitarian thought to questions of money and society.

This conversation with Nic Carter is an attempt to understand Bitcoin as more than just the sum of its parts. One of the lessons that Demetri has taken away from his continued research into Bitcoin through the works of people like Nick Szabo, Paul Sztorc, and others, is that trying to measure the cryptocurrency against existing systems or conventions is almost always counterproductive. This is likely because Bitcoin is more than just money or a payments network. Bitcoin is a movement. Within it exists a competent community of intellectuals who are actively engaged in what often feels like a grand project to remake society. This comes across in the seriousness with which Bitcoiners apply themselves. This is true whether we are talking about the engineers working on enhancements to the base layer or whether we’re talking about those contributing intellectually to debates about governance, economics, and ethics. In this sense, Bitcoin is not what most of us think it is, and even what we think it is, is constantly changing. Bitcoin’s resilience and adaptability, as both a store of value, but also as a diverse community of people who are coming to the cryptocurrency from different backgrounds and with differing motivations suggests that there is much more going on here than just naïve speculation.

As Nic Carter points out during this conversation, Bitcoin is a “subversive idea.” Bitcoin is an experiment in social organization that doesn’t play by the rules of the state or by the conventions of modern society. The momentum behind this movement is likely to grow, especially if governments validate the concerns of its proponents with further debt monetization or preferential bailouts in the event of another global financial downturn. In short, Bitcoin is not going away, and it is incumbent upon all of us to understand the message that it is here to deliver.

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Subscribe & Support the Podcast at https://patreon.com/hiddenforces

Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Nic Carter is a partner at Castle Island Ventures, a Cambridge-based venture firm focused on public blockchains, and a Coinmetrics.io co-founder of Coinmetrics.io, a platform devoted to demystifying on-chain data and bringing transparency to the industry. He has written extensively about token holder rights, cryptoasset governance models, and public blockchains as political institutions. Previously, he was Fidelity’s first cryptoassets analyst. He holds an MA in Philosophy from the University of St Andrews and an MSc Finance and Investment from the University of Edinburgh.

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Bitcoin
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Episode 96
Featuring Raoul Pal

Demetri Kofinas speaks with investor Raoul Pal about the future of global money in a multi-polar world. This leads to a discussion about Bitcoin, Libra, and alternative forms of money that could outcompete and eventually supplant the currencies issued by sovereign governments. Additional topics include debt, demographics, gold, and more.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with investor and co-founder of Real Vision, Raoul Pal about the future of global money in a multi-polar world, including a discussion about Bitcoin, Libra, debt, demographics, and much more.

The inspiration for this conversation derives from a theme captured in William Strauss and Neil Howe's Generational Theory, also known as the Fourth Turning, where the authors describe a four-stage cycle of social moods associated with recurring generational archetypes, which they call "turnings.” These include: "The High", "The Awakening", "The Unraveling," and "The Crisis." The question we explore in this conversation is: “are we at the fourth turning, and if so, what does this mean for the type of change we can expect to see in the coming decades?”

All of this leads to a discussion about digital currency in a multi-polar world where the power of governments to maintain the global order is diminished and where corporations and the private sector may gain an opening to provide alternative forms of money in support of global trade and commerce. Where does bitcoin fit in this world? What about alternative protocols and currencies? Will governments even allow them? Can they stop them or will they welcome them and does this point the way towards a path that will lead inexorably towards truly global money?

As always, subscribers to our Hidden Forces Patreon page can access the overtime to this week’s episode, which includes a continuation of our conversation about digital currencies, but also a discussion about central bank policy at the Fed, the ECB, and the BOJ, as well as a discussion about economic indicators and what Raoul relies on most for his own projections about where we are in the business cycle.

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas
Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou
Subscribe & Support the Podcast at https://patreon.com/hiddenforces
Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Raoul Pal is a former hedge fund manager who retired at 36, Raoul Pal is a co-founder of Real Vision, a financial media company offering in-depth video interviews and research publications from the world’s best investors. He has run a successful global macro hedge fund, co-managed Goldman Sachs’ hedge fund sales business in Equities and Equity Derivatives in Europe, and helped design the BBC TV program Million Dollar Traders, training participants in investment and risk management strategy. Raoul retired from managing client money and now lives in the Cayman Islands, from where he manages Real Vision and writes for The Global Macro Investor, a highly regarded original research service for hedge funds, family offices, sovereign wealth funds, and other elite investors.

@RaoulGMI

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Investing
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Episode 95
Featuring Ben Hunt

Demetri Kofinas speaks with investor and author Ben Hunt, about the power of narrative and how it is used to shape and control our behavior as investors. This episode also includes a series of discussions about the legacy of the 2008 financial crisis, identitarian narratives, three-body problems, and crypto ideology.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with investor and author of Epsilon Theory, Ben Hunt, about the power of narrative and how it is used to shape and control our behavior as investors. This episode also includes a series of in-depth discussions about the long legacy of the 2008 financial crisis, identitarian narratives, three-body problems, the challenge of making accurate predictions, and ‘The Great Bitcoin Epic.'

Ben Hunt’s background and career path have been anything but ordinary. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from Harvard, co-founded multiple tech companies, and managed his own billion-dollar hedge fund. When he isn’t busy writing about market narratives or indeterminant models, you can find him tending to his horses, gathering a fresh basket of eggs, or engaging in other chores on his family farm in Connecticut.

The main themes from Epsilon Theory that we focus on in this conversation include the three-body problem, as well as Ben Hunt’s writings on narrative and the power that comes from shaping how people think about the world. This leads to a variety of discussions about various market phenomena, including a unique, thoughtful, and illuminating conversation on bitcoin – its culture, the narrative of bitcoin, how that narrative emerged, how it has evolved, and how it informs the price of bitcoin. Below are time codes to this episode:

06:45 How Markets Changed After March 2009

10:33 The Story that Changed the World in the Summer of 2012

12:24 No Fundamentals for Markets Anymore

15:54 The Three-Body Problem

27:02 Past Performance is Not Indicative of Future Behavior

32:14 Turning Capital Markets into Political Utilities

34:45 Origins of Fed Communication

39:04 Forward Guidance and the Loss of Market Resilience

40:40 Informational Feedback at the Fed

43:50 Inflation vs. Deflation Narrative

46:26 The Role of Central Banks

49:11 Bear, Lehman, and the Banking Mafia

53:19 Shitcoin US Dollars

58:15 Facebook Libra and Censorship Embracing Coins

1:05:59 The New Bitcoin Narrative

1:08:01 Comparing Development Models for the Internet and Crypto

1:09:16 Culture of Bitcoin: Tech vs. Finance

1:14:13 Loss of Faith in Government

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas
Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou
Subscribe & Support the Podcast at https://patreon.com/hiddenforces
Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Ben Hunt is the CIO at Second Foundation Partners, a consultant for large institutional investors, and the author of Epsilon Theory, a newsletter, and website that examines markets through the lenses of game theory, history, and nature. Over 100,000 professional investors and allocators across 200 countries read Epsilon Theory for its fresh perspective and novel insights into market dynamics. In prior positions, Ben has managed a billion-dollar hedge fund and served as Chief Strategist for a $13 billion-dollar asset manager. He has a Ph.D. from Harvard University, was a tenured Political Science professor, and has co-founded three technology companies. Ben spends lots of time on a family-owned farm, which inspires many original ideas on the parallels between human and animal behavior.

 

@EpsilonTheory

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Leadership
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Episode 94
Featuring Jerry Colonna

Demetri Kofinas speaks with author of REBOOT, Jerry Colonna about leadership and the art of growing up. Learning to be a great leader is also about learning how to become an adult. This requires that we learn how to embrace life in all of its beautify, suffering, and grace.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with author of REBOOT, Jerry Colonna about leadership and the art of growing up.

This is a deeply personal conversation, but it is also one that draws upon the common wellspring of human experience. Learning to be a great leader is also about learning how to become an adult, and this requires that we learn how to embrace life in all of its beauty, suffering, and grace.

The introduction to this week’s episode retells the story of Minos, King of Knossos after whom the great Minoan civilization is named. The Minoans populated the islands of the eastern Mediterranean during the second millennium BC, and are thought by some modern scholars of antiquity to have provided the substance for Plato’s Atlantis reference in Timaeus and Critias.

As is often the case, this week’s episode overtime rivals the full episode in quality and depth, as both Jerry and Demetri share personal stories of suffering, grace, and transformation. You can access this part of the recording, along with our entire library of subscription content on the Hidden Forces Patreon page or through the Overtime tab on this episode page.

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas
Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou
Subscribe & Support the Podcast at https://patreon.com/hiddenforces
Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Jerry Colonna is CEO and co-founder of Reboot.io, an executive coaching and leadership development firm dedicated to the notion that better humans make better leaders. He is also the author of ‘REBOOT: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up.’ For nearly 20 years, he has used the knowledge gained as an investor, an executive, and a board member for more than 100 organizations to help entrepreneurs and others to lead with humanity, resilience, and equanimity. Prior to his career as a coach, he was a partner with JPMorgan Partners (JPMP), the private equity arm of JP Morgan Chase. Previously, he led New York City-based Flatiron Partners, which he founded in 1996 with partner, Fred Wilson. Flatiron became one of the nation’s most successful, early-stage investment programs. His first leadership position, at age 25, was editor-in-chief of Information Week magazine. Jerry lives in Boulder, Colorado.

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Foreign Affairs
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Episode 93
Featuring Stephen Walt

Demetri Kofinas speaks with Professor of International Affairs Stephen Walt, about the dismal record of America’s foreign policy elite, how their decisions have accelerated a decline in US primacy, and what can be done to arrest this development.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Harvard University's Professor of International Affairs Stephen Walt, about the arch of American foreign policy and the decline of U.S. primacy.

The conversation begins by addressing the major arguments made by America’s foreign policy elite in favor of US engagement and American military leadership abroad. Before the end of World War II, there was no foreign policy “community” in the United States, as there was in the United Kingdom or France. The US was still largely an isolationist country, and the expectation was that it would return to isolation after the allies signed the Paris Peace Treaties in 1947, just as it had after the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. Though demobilization started in earnest shortly after the conclusion of the war, the process was arrested soon after it began as the allies came to realize that the Soviet Union presented an altogether new type of threat to Western countries. In 1946, George Kennan, the American charge d’affaires in Moscow, sent what would become arguably the most important telegram in American foreign policy history, rivaled only by that dispatched on behalf of Arthur Zimmermann in 1917: an 8,000-word telegram to the Department of State detailing his views on the Soviet Union and U.S. policy toward the communist state. Known as “The Long Telegram” or “The Sources of Soviet Conduct,” George Kennan’s analysis provided one of the most influential underpinnings for what became America’s Cold War policy of containment. With the Soviet Union's detonation of its first Atomic weapon on August 29th, 1949, the Cold War was off to the races.

If the Cold War began with a bang, it ended with a whimper. Forty years after the Soviet’s tested their first atom bomb, the Berlin Wall was torn down by Eastern Europeans and Russians tired of living under totalitarian communism. And yet, rather than demobilize or ramp down America’s military presence abroad, the United States doubled down on it. In the thirty years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the United States has invaded, occupied, bombed, and sanctioned more countries than almost any American can find on a map. Why this aggression? What are the assumptions that underlie American foreign policy? What has been the arch of international relations since the end of World War 2 and is there a better way forward? These are just some of the questions Stephen Walt and Demetri address in this phenomenal, seventy-minute episode on the past and future of American foreign policy.

As always, subscribers to our Hidden Forces Patreon page can access the Overtime to this week's episode, which includes a discussion about Trump’s foreign policy and how the populist forces unleashed by his election in 2016 are shaping the field of Democratic candidates in 2020. You can access all of our subscription content by supporting the podcast at https://patreon.com/hiddenforces

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Subscribe & Support the Podcast at https://patreon.com/hiddenforces

Join the conversation on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Stephen Walt (born July 2, 1955) is the Robert and Renee Belfer Professor of International Affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government. He previously taught at Princeton and at the University of Chicago, where he served as Master of the Social Science Collegiate Division and Deputy Dean of Social Sciences. He has been a Resident Associate of the Carnegie Endowment for Peace and a Guest Scholar at the Brookings Institution, and he has also served as a consultant for the Institute of Defense Analyses, the Center for Naval Analyses, and the National Defense University. He presently serves on the editorial boards of Foreign Policy, Security Studies, International Relations, and Journal of Cold War Studies, and he also serves as Co-Editor of the Cornell Studies in Security Affairs, published by Cornell University Press. Additionally, he was elected as a Fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in May 2005.

Professor Walt is the author of The Origins of Alliances (1987), which received the 1988 Edgar S. Furniss National Security Book Award. He is also the author of Revolution and War (1996), Taming American Power: The Global Response to U.S. Primacy (2005), The Israel Lobby (2007), and most recently The Hell of Good Intentions (2018).

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Phasellus hendrerit. Pellentesque aliquet nibh nec urna. In nisi neque, aliquet vel, dapibus id, mattis vel, nisi. Sed pretium, ligula sollicitudin laoreet viverra, tortor libero sodales leo, eget blandit nunc tortor eu nibh. Nullam mollis. Ut justo. Suspendisse potenti.

Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Phasellus hendrerit. Pellentesque aliquet nibh nec urna. In nisi neque, aliquet vel, dapibus id, mattis vel, nisi. Sed pretium, ligula sollicitudin laoreet viverra, tortor libero sodales leo, eget blandit nunc tortor eu nibh. Nullam mollis. Ut justo. Suspendisse potenti.

Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Phasellus hendrerit. Pellentesque aliquet nibh nec urna. In nisi neque, aliquet vel, dapibus id, mattis vel, nisi. Sed pretium, ligula sollicitudin laoreet viverra, tortor libero sodales leo, eget blandit nunc tortor eu nibh. Nullam mollis. Ut justo. Suspendisse potenti.

Sed egestas, ante et vulputate volutpat, eros pede semper est, vitae luctus metus libero eu augue. Morbi purus libero, faucibus adipiscing, commodo quis, gravida id, est. Sed lectus. Praesent elementum hendrerit tortor. Sed semper lorem at felis. Vestibulum volutpat, lacus a ultrices sagittis, mi neque euismod dui, eu pulvinar nunc sapien ornare nisl. Phasellus pede arcu, dapibus eu, fermentum et, dapibus sed, urna.

Morbi interdum mollis sapien. Sed ac risus. Phasellus lacinia, magna a ullamcorper laoreet, lectus arcu pulvinar risus, vitae facilisis libero dolor a purus. Sed vel lacus. Mauris nibh felis, adipiscing varius, adipiscing in, lacinia vel, tellus. Suspendisse ac urna. Etiam pellentesque mauris ut lectus. Nunc tellus ante, mattis eget, gravida vitae, ultricies ac, leo. Integer leo pede, ornare a, lacinia eu, vulputate vel, nisl.

Suspendisse mauris. Fusce accumsan mollis eros. Pellentesque a diam sit amet mi ullamcorper vehicula. Integer adipiscing risus a sem. Nullam quis massa sit amet nibh viverra malesuada. Nunc sem lacus, accumsan quis, faucibus non, congue vel, arcu. Ut scelerisque hendrerit tellus. Integer sagittis. Vivamus a mauris eget arcu gravida tristique. Nunc iaculis mi in ante. Vivamus imperdiet nibh feugiat est.

Hong Kong
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Special Interview
Featuring Joshua Wong

Demetri Kofinas speaks with Hong Kong activist and politician Joshua Wong, often referred to as the “leader of the Hong Kong protests" about the latest developments on the ground, including ongoing efforts by Beijing and the Hong Kong government to put an end to the pro-democracy movements and restore order in the coastal territory.

In this timely Interview, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Hong Kong activist and politician Joshua Wong, who is often referred to by media outlets and the international press as the “leader of the Hong Kong protests.” Joshua shares information about the latest developments on the ground, including ongoing efforts by Beijing and the Hong Kong government to put a stop to the pro-democracy movements and restore order in the coastal territory.

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Subscribe & Support the Podcast at https://patreon.com/hiddenforces

Join the conversation on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Joshua Wong Chi-fung (Chinese: 黃之鋒; Sidney Lau: Wong4 Ji1 Fung1, born 13 October 1996) is a Hong Kong student activist and politician who serves as secretary-general of pro-democracy party Demosistō. Wong was previously convenor and founder of the Hong Kong student activist group Scholarism. Wong first rose to international prominence during the 2014 Hong Kong protests, and his pivotal role in the Umbrella Movement resulted in his inclusion in TIME magazine's Most Influential Teens of 2014 and nomination for its 2014 Person of the Year; he was further called one of the "world's greatest leaders" by Fortune magazine in 2015, and nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017.

In August 2017, Wong and two other pro-democracy activists were convicted and jailed for their roles in the occupation of Civic Square at the incipient stage of the 2014 Occupy Central protests; in January 2018, Wong was convicted and jailed again for failing to comply with a court order for clearance of the Mong Kok protest site during the Mong Kong protests in 2014.

Hong Kong
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Episode 92