I was listening to Ideas on CBC radio the other night and there was a good discussion with Christopher Hedges that I think a lot of my readers might like (Stephen Pinker is briefly discussed). Here’s a summary from their web site:
Christopher Hedges believes that the American empire is ending. Cities are dying, their infrastructure crumbling, the middle and working classes gutted, and income disparity more extreme than ever. The problem, he argues, is systemic: “Capitalist oligarchs, meanwhile, hoard huge sums of wealth — $7.6 trillion stashed in overseas tax havens — exacted as tribute from those they dominate, indebt, and impoverish.”
Although he disavows Marxism, Hedges believes the diagnosis Marx offered in the mid-nineteenth century is correct. “Marx warned that capitalism had built within it the seeds of its own destruction”, he asserts. While Marx did not know when that day would come, he did foresee how it would unfold over time: “Capitalism would in the end, Marx said, turn on the so-called free market, along with the values and traditions it claimed to defend.” One of those values and traditions was that free markets would mean more individual freedoms and increased social harmony. Yet we are witnessing the rise of authoritarianism in the U.S. and around the world. For Hedges, this trend is not simply alarming; it was predictable.
You can listen to the full episode here.