The Phileas Club 118 – If You Think You Understand…


On this episode we talk about:

  • Brexit negociations continue exploding in the UK
  • Forest fires in California
  • Yellow Jackets in France (and not enough babies in Finland)

Remember you can support the show at

More info on the show:

You can also download the MP3, or subscribe via iTunes or RSS.


  1. Dear Patrick, thank you so much for your podcast(s). I cannot begin to express how much I appreciate them. One comment, however. the reasons why some countries have more children than other is not due to tax incentive, in my understanding. Actually, there has been many trial to increase the money given for each child, and each attempt miserably failed. But some things work. The biggest experiment was made with East Germany and West Germany in the days The reason there were way more births in East Germany is because everything was organized for women to carry on with their work/career even with one or many children. The other reason for me is cultural : If you are a woman in France or Irlande, it is very difficult NOT to have children, since you have been made to believe you “identity” as woman, would not be complete without giving birth. Hope this helps. Love

    • That’s interesting, I didn’t think about the ease of going back to work, which is indeed the case in France. I had a very different outlook before I came to Finland, where, ironically, it is more difficult because women get a lot more parental leave so everything is organized for women who stay home longer (day care doesn’t start as early as it does in France for exemple). I still think tax incentives play a role in my country (the third child especially is a massive discount on living expenses, and some women just don’t work), but you’re right, that might be a bigger factor even… Thanks a lot!

  2. Hey Patrick 🙂
    Nice episode. I always like when Tom or Bruce come.
    I just finished listening to the Brexit and I think you did a good effort (or as good as possible) of trying to present “the other side” opinion. Although it’s hard to disagree with Bruce final statement “they want a unicorn and the EU is just giving them a horse” 😛

    I’d like to comment on what you said about Trump several times now: that he is “so bad” in that he isn’t doing very differently than another Republican would. I think that’s a very false opinion.
    I understand you are trying to go for the compromising/”understanding the other side” opinion, but Trump is really a step up in the way of populism than other in his party are. Even in the midterms, some republicans tried to distance themselves from him. And that’s just not because of his style…

    Yes, it is true that on domestic policies, he is very classic: supreme court, pro-gun (although maybe not that much), no health-care, anti-immigration, pro-life and tax cuts. However, he very much diverges from a normal republicans, in what concerns us, non-Americans: foreign policies. In two ways:

    1. “Geopolitics”. His heavy critic of NATO and friendliness with Russia is unprecedented and causes a lost of trust from many countries that could have very real impacts. I’m not good enough in international politics to go further here but I think that a non-negligible point.
    Furthermore, Trump got out or the Iran deal and went with full support for the Saudi royal family. Although it was very much an Obama policy to have this kind “diplomatic approach” in the middle east and that another republican would have done the same just to be anti-Obama, I don’t think so. Trump took a very extreme path (as always). With another American approach, and being more critic of the Saudi royal family, maybe the Yemen war could be over. At least, we can say with a degree of certainty that it would not be that bad.

    2. Isolationism, getting out of multilateral deals/organizations. He basically renegotiated all previous American commitment (AFAIK). He lost the trust of all his country partners. Despite having agreed to a harsh NAFTA renegotiation, Canada and Mexico are still subjected to steel and aluminium tariffs. Korea agreed to worst deal than they had (mostly because North Korea situation) and people are not certain is not going to want to renegotiate it again! In the EU we escaped the problem (for now) thanks to good negotiation. And then there is China… Ofc, very harsh and it doesn’t look like he even has a goal on what he is going to settle. Yes obviously there is a problem with Chinese treatment of intellectual property, over subsidizing its industry and other bellicose practices. But, was trade the best way to address these problems? For example, wasn’t the TPP, which Trump went out of in the first week of his presidency, a better way to fight China economically? Also, with all these trade stuff, he basically made the WTO totally irrelevant.
    And if you think all of these has no effect, just look at how the Nasdaq took 10+% hit since last month (which is basically all of 2018 gains). If you look at the long term trends, this kind of fall is rare (this the biggest since 2008 I think). It shows a big loss of confidence in the US market.

    I took the time to write this because I don’t want Trump to be down played. Ofc, I went over a lot of issues very quickly so they are many approximation/inaccuracies, but the general gist is here. He isn’t “a little bit worse” than any other republican because of attitude and because he often looks to be stupid and self-centered. His actions have real and harmful consequences (for the US and the world).

    • Hey Valentin, I think you’re making good points about his foreign policy… I’m not 100% certain other Republican candidates would have done none of those things (and the aforementioned countries weren’t all big fans of these big trade deals either – or at least parts of their populations weren’t), but certainly his attitude is extreme in that sense. I might have been looking at the internal policies a bit too much because they are the ones that divide Americans themselves the most, and bridging that divide is a big concern for the show.
      So thanks for your remark, I’ll take it to heart!

  3. Cary McDonald says:

    Nice Podcast! Here the States, in 1968 Repubican Pres. Nixon tried to get a Basic Income bill passed the Senate; it would have been passed, except the amount was seen as ‘too low.’ That doesn’t represent Republicans any longer. Births and ‘numbers’ of children in the States is mainly rewarded only to those that are on Welfare (if you’re going to be unemployed raising a kid, why not have a lot of ’em), thus the Hispanic’s are 2.3, Blacks are 1.7 Whites are 1.0. There was a marked drop since 2008, although curiously Asian births in the U.S. went up.
    A Federal dole for Health Insurance would need adjust for the MUCH higher costs in California, which is 2x-3x of some other States for example (much of that difference is based upon Doctors needing to be Insured/Lawyer’d-up).
    California used to clear weeds by burning, but now that’s seen as contributing to Global Warming… so indeed, ALL the fires were in areas in which 100 years ago, the combustion hazard was markedly less, -natural fires (lightning) made that so. The fires here recently frequently jumped back-fires and even waterways 100-meters across.
    The angst of the middle class (here) has much to do with the joint observation that children will not be doing as well as their parents, as the cost of a dwelling has gone up 5x- 12x over thirty years in many areas. For lower income students and those coming to Kalifornia for work, all living spaces are utilized as ‘bedrooms,’ so 4-5 people in an 1 bedroom apartment isn’t uncommon, as the average rent in the Silicon Vally area (for 1 bedroom) is $2.6K. You can imagine what the parking is like in complexes that don’t count heads.

Speak Your Mind