This week we accompany our continued reading of David Graeber with Richard Peet on the Rise of Finance Capital. In our second hour, an outspoken Chris Hedges gives his own account of the rise of neoliberalism and reports on the America you won't have heard about on Commercially Controlled media, which he researched for 2 years to write his latest book.
Thanks to Against The Grain for the Richard Peet interview, and Ken Dowst for pointing me to the Mind Over Matters recording of Chris Hedges.
As we continue to read from David Graeber this week, a show which explains the rise of neoliberal ideology, which is referred to by our second speaker as 'laced Kool-Aid'.
We start with an interview with a professor of geography, Richard Peet, on the rise of 'Finance Capital'. He characterizes capitalism in US as being divided into 3 phases. Firstly liberalism, which generated a great disparity in wealth, prompting an era of Keynesianism and state intervention that reduced the wealth gap. Questioning the traditional explanation of the end of Keynesianism (irresolvable stagflation) he notes that since Ronald Reagan became US president, a 'neoliberal' ideology has rapidly recreated income and wealth inequalities in US. He argues that far from being opposed to the power of the state, finance capital effectively took control over it in the 1990s, and has been using nation states to cement its position of dominance.
We conclude our first hour with a continued reading of David Graeber's Debt, The First 5000 Years, on the universality of debt in modern US. After the sub-prime collapse, he notes, the US govt made a fateful decision to bailout the finance capitalists and try to make the citizens foot the bill.
Our second hour is given over to Chris Hedges who has just published a new book, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt. Hedges give his account of the rise of corporate capital in USA, and speaks forthrightly on the suffering he saw there while researching his book. His 20 years as a war correspondent help him understand of people pushed to the limit, and give parallels for the scenes of extreme suffering of people 'sacrificed' to corporate profit.
Heartened by the unexpected way in which the occupy movement kicked off in USA, he concludes that 'all the tinder is there' for a dramatic uprising in USA, and that the rule of corporate capital is very unstable because its deceitful and destructive nature is so widely understood. Anyway, he argues, we should stop asking about resistance "Is it practical?" and ask instead "Is it right?"
I conclude with a pointer to Guerrilla Grafters, actively challenging the story of scarcity by working on secretly grafting fruit tree branches onto trees in public places.