Episode 1: Unions, Syria, and Free Trade

In this first full episode of The Rationalist podcast, host Mike Coté and guest Cornelius Radek discuss the recent developments in public sector unions, the interminable Syrian Civil War and the players involved, and go deep conceptually on free trade in light of the Trump administration’s tariff decision. In Segment 1 on domestic policy, we walk through the West Virginia teachers’ strike, discuss recent Supreme Court oral arguments in the important Janus v. AFSCME case dealing with union representation, and posit our opinions on whether public sector employees should be able to strike at all. In Segment 2 on foreign affairs, we focus on the devastation of the Syrian Civil War, particularly on the siege of Eastern Ghouta and how it is showing the potential end result of the conflict. We also break down the wide variety of international players involved in the war and what their goals and objectives are. In Segment 3, we delve into the concept of free trade, talk through its long history, and discuss the new tariffs the Trump administration has proposed on steel and aluminum (hint: we don’t like them). We debate the merits of protectionism, mercantilism, and trade agreements, and how those economic activities impact US citizens.

Check below for links and references from the podcast. Please let us know how you felt about the podcast in the comments. Thanks for listening to The Rationalist!


Segment 1: Public Sector Unions

Segment 2: Syrian Civil War

Segment 3: Free Trade and Tariffs

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