Mon, 12 September 2022
Sam hosts Jeremy Gilbert, Professor of Cultural and Political Theory at the University of East London, and Alex Williams, lecturer in digital media and society at the University of East Anglia, to discuss their recent book Hegemony Now: How Big Tech and Wall Street Won the World (And How We Win it Back). Sam first runs through Ukraine’s successful offensive to push back Russia, the continuing teachers’ strike in Seattle, and the recent nurses’ strike in Minnesota, before watching Al Frankin’s statements on the failures of the Supreme Court, and the lack of institutional integrity that has been clear since at least Merrick Garland’s nomination, and potentially all the way back to 2000. Then, Professor Gilbert and Williams join as they get right into defining what “hegemony” entails, and how these smaller groups are able to emerge as social dictators, first jumping back to the 1970s to explore how the current American hegemony of finance and big tech came to be. Rather than beginning with the neoliberal policy of Thatcher and Reagan, Jeremy and Alex dive into the mass development of technology, particularly in the finance sector, that allowed these elites to disaggregate our production systems, undermine the working class, and move the focus of the profit motive to speculative interests, using these systems to uplift the social conservatives that would implement the policy that most benefit these industries. Next, they dive deeper into the concept of financialization, exploring how profits and the bottom line went from issues of production to ones of share prices and shifts in the stock market, putting the focus of our economic system on speculative assets and, above all, debt, pervading through all aspects of our social systems (including necessities like education and healthcare) and pushing finance capital into positions of monopoly as they dominate over the rest of their industry, and society writ large. Sam has Jeremy and Alex work through their “theory of passive consent” and the trade-offs that the hegemonic classes grant those below them, including private luxuries (easy vacations, new tech, etc) and cheap credit, pushing them into lifestyles and modes of thinking that support this economic model, including hyper-individualism, consumerism, and social entrepreneurship. After a conversation on how this “trade-off” saw a large-scale decay in our public, collective, and democratic institutions, coming to a climax in 2008 and finally breaking ahead of the 2016 election, Sam, Alex, and Jeremy tackle whether or not we really find ourselves at the “end” of neoliberalism, how to deconstruct the immense hegemony of finance capitalism and big tech, and the role climate change will play in actually achieving that.
And in the Fun Half: Sam walks through Kari Lake's really one-hundred-upping Biden on the “Fascist Speech Aesthetic” front, Kenny from Berkeley touches on Sam’s anti-trust points from today’s interview, and Blake Masters appears on Tucker Carlson, presumably seconds after seeing a transgender ghost. Will from Minnesota dives into his city’s recent Nurses’ strike, Carey from Alabama discusses incumbency, and Tulsi Gabbard points out that there are hardly any rich people, so how can the IRS cracking down on their tax evasion even help the rest of us? Tim Pool has libertarian Dave Smith on to calmly explain why Trump’s militancy wasn’t peaceful, Nancy Pelosi further financially capitalizes on her position of power, now living rent-free in Lauren Boebert’s head, and Dominic from Detroit explores his experience at a recent Jimmy Dore stand-up – plus, your calls and IMs!
Check out Alex and Jeremy's book here: https://www.versobooks.com/books/4015-hegemony-now
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