Our Thoughts Tonight

Consequences of Capitalism with Marv Waterstone

April 21, 2022 Our Thoughts Tonight Season 4 Episode 7
Our Thoughts Tonight
Consequences of Capitalism with Marv Waterstone
Show Notes Transcript

Our special guest on the show this episode is Professor Marv Waterstone. A Marxist geographer whose research and teaching focuses on the Gramscian notions of hegemony and common sense, and their connections to social justice and progressive social change.

Professor Waterstone also co-authored the book 'Consequences of Capitalism: Manufacturing Discontent and Resistance' with Prof. Noam Chomsky. Marv Waterstone and Noam Chomsky co-teach the lectures from the book as a course entitled “What is Politics?” at the University of Arizona.  

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Speaker 1:

It's astonishing that on a , planet's such plenty, there are so many in such need while people at the very top who are lifting themselves off the planet, but not for long enough.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to our thoughts tonight. Join us as we chat in a mellow mood about music, philosophy, psychology, and , and anything else that will come to mind enjoy.

Speaker 3:

I'm very excited to introduce special guests to the show today. Professor Mar Waterstone, he's a , uh , Marxist grapher who is research and teaching focuses on the gro in notions of hegemony and common sense and their connections to social justice and progressive social change professor , uh , Waterstone also coauthored the book consequences of capitalism, manufacturing, discontent, and resistance with professor Noam , Chomsky, professor Waterstone and Chomsky . Co-teach the lectures from the book as a course entitled. Uh , what is politics I believe , um, at the , uh, university of Arizona , uh, how are you doing today, professor?

Speaker 1:

I'm fine. Happy to be with you.

Speaker 3:

I'm happy to have you. Thank you. Um, could you tell me about how you decided to start teaching , uh, the license from consequences of capitalism and , uh , how the lessons were developed?

Speaker 1:

Sure. Let me give you just a little bit of a , a very quick background to how the course came together , uh, in the way that it did. Um, uh, nom Chomsky has a number of colleagues and former students in the department of linguistics here at the university of Arizona. And for a number of years , he would come out , uh , periodically to do some kind of a one off event of some kind , either , uh , some kind of symposium or some other sort of , uh , single shot event. Um, and number of his colleagues wanted him to come out , uh , to Tucson for a longer period of time. He was still living in Boston at the time , uh, and the professor and still participating in activities at MIT. Um, and he was willing to come out for a longer period of time. But if he did that, he said he was interested in being able to teach an undergraduate course, which he'd not been able to do , uh , very often at MIT or if he did them . They were typically on his own time. And he was interested in doing , uh, some undergraduate teaching, given some of the conditions that were going on in the world. And this was around the period about 20 15, 20 16 . So things were as they are today, quite fraught, but in any event , uh , to teach , uh, as a , as a guest at the university of Arizona , uh , to teach an undergraduate course, you have to have a partner. Uh, who's on the faculty at the U of a , and at the time, the Dean of the college of social and behavioral sciences, where , uh , linguistics is located , um, said he knew of such partner , um, that , um, might be really compatible with , uh , no him coming out. And that, that was me. And he put me in touch , uh, with Noam at that time. This was in , um, sort of early fall of 2016. And , um, when we first , uh, um , uh , met each other and , uh , the first time we actually spoke was on , uh , no's very first Skype call. Um , and so <laugh> having , having been at , um , MIT for more than 60 years. He still describes himself, I think, quite proudly as a committed techno. So he he'd never done or anything like that . So we had our first Skype conversation and just got to know each other a little bit. Um, and then shortly thereafter, I , I proposed a set of topics , um, that we might think about if we were to do a course together. And of course, a number of these were , uh, on the top of the agenda at the time in 20 , unfortunately, a number of them remain at the top of the sort of global agenda , uh, even now. Um, and so we settled , uh , fairly quickly on , uh , some very , uh, substantive topics. Um, but what I was interested in doing, and , um, if you've read , uh , no's work and if you've read , uh, reviews with no , he , he is just superb at a kind of , uh , up to date , empirical analysis of global situations. Yeah ,

Speaker 4:

It's amazing . Honestly,

Speaker 1:

It's amazing. It's quite amazing. Um, but what I, what I wanted to do was to put these issues into more of a kind of theoretical framework as my own work is actually , um , mostly , um , sort of theoretical and social. The, and so what I wanted to do was , um , very explicitly link these , uh , issues together in such a way that they both made sense in terms of understanding where the issues come from , but also to think about the ways in which if they have had a sort of common underlying causal mechanisms to think about the politics that that might enable , um, if those things were linked, that is, as we know, there are , uh , numerous social movements around the world that tend to get sort of balkanized and tend to siloed into their own sort of concerns, not surprisingly and, and somewhat justifiably, but in other ways, I think it makes a lot of sense if they're underlying mechanisms that link these things together, to look for those links as a way, not only to understand the issues better, but as a way to think about how one might make political coalitions among those issues. So the framework that , uh , I developed for the course , uh , attempts to do that , and the way that the course , um , is organized, it has a very particular kind of trajectory. And it starts with, with a , a fairly Benal seeming question. That is how do we, how do we know what we think we know about the world that is where , where do our senses of how the world works come from? And from there, it was very easy to move to , for me, at least a kind of gro framing , uh, that thinks about the notion of common sense and Grohe adds to the , uh , very careful analy that , uh , Carl Marks and others did of how the political economic system works. But those analy , I think, were in , in many ways deliberately, but in other ways, simply circumstantially paying less attention to the sort of ideological underpinnings that maintain those systems in power. And so Ramsey , I think as an interesting dimension to think about , um, the ways ideology works, the ways in which , uh, a common sense is both built and maintained and sometimes subverted in order to allow us to have particular kind of worldviews operating , uh, in, in the , in the way that , um , we understand how the world actually functions. So beginning with that sort of framing to think about , uh , how it is we know or think we know , uh , what, what the world is like. I wanted to move into what we can think about as the sort of predominant common sense in the world today. That is that it, it makes sense, not only in a descriptive , uh , in , in a descriptive fashion to think that capitalism is the predominant politic economic way to organize society, but it also seems to make almost unquestioned sense that it ought to operate that way. So, so both a kind of descriptive framing that this is the way the world does work, but that this is the best of all possible ways in which the world could work. And that, that would then organize , uh , society in , in particular ways. And going from there, we were able then to tackle , uh, sort of three main areas , substantive main areas of concern. One is militar imperialism and, and things of that sort , um , which were very much , uh, as I say , on the agenda in 20 16, 20 17 , in fact, we began the course one week before Trump's inauguration in 2017 . So things looked very, very , uh, very peculiar , uh, from that vantage point of January, 2017, the second area , um, it was the environmental catastrophe, which is again, ongoing and still at the top of the agenda in midway . And then the third area , um , was the sort of less spectacular effects of , of organizing the world around a capitalist frame . But these are the very mundane, but equally violent. I would suggest , uh, effects of neoliberal, globalized capitalism on people's everyday lives in, in the ways that tho those forms of social political , uh, economic organization touch down in particular or places in that particular times. And so very real life consequences of , uh , vast income inequality , uh, the disparities in terms of security, in terms of food shelter, the basics and quality of life itself. So the sort of neoliberal, globalized financialized , um, aspect of , of a capital formation was a third sort of substantive area , uh , that we were interested in examining, but we didn't want then to have produced five weeks of sort of unrelenting doom and gloom , uh , to be the way that we would end this seven and a half week course. And so the last , uh , couple of of weeks are devoted to the issues of social movements and then social change. So that's, that's the nature of the course, that's the way it came to be. It had the very bland title of what is politics for a very pragmatic reason. Um, we wanted to offer the course at an introductory level and as a general education course , uh , but to produce such a course from scratch , um, meant there were all kinds of hoops that we would have to jump through bureaucratically, which would mean delaying the start of the course. So what we did, I see was sort of survey a number of , uh , courses that were already on the books find the most generic title we could find that would allow us to do virtually anything we wanted.

Speaker 3:

That is , that is a rather broad name. Um, but I think it suits it , uh , pretty well. And , uh, that actually kind of leads to my next question. Um, actually, before I go on my next question, I do wanna comment , uh, that you , you said , uh , the doom and gloom aspect of it . Actually, I was , um, I was driving home, I think this past Saturday. And , uh, I was at the very end of the book, the audiobook version, which is excellent. And the post script about COVID 19 was the chapter I was on, you know, it was incredibly powerful. And then the next day I actually tested positive for coronavirus and , uh, it's , uh , it made it even more powerful because of how accurate it is and COVID is no joke with , um, how , uh, it affects healthy people, even it's, it's really awful. And , uh, I really enjoyed the post script , but , uh , something you say in chapter seven that was rather powerful , uh , was , uh, for social change. The first task that's necessary is to open a space for oppositional critique, not just any critique, but oppositional critique, which relies upon a recognition of the difference between what is, and what ought to be, or what might be. And , uh, I'm wondering if you can explain how , uh , society might , uh , be able to implement that today

Speaker 1:

Before I answer that, let me just say that I've just rewritten that Coda , um, at the request , uh , book , uh, is gonna come out in a German edition , uh, in June and the editors there , uh , were hoping that we could , uh , update that a little bit, that thing , that code I wrote just basically at the very beginning of the , of the pandemic. And so mm-hmm , <affirmative> a

Speaker 3:

Fair amount that was like the first three months or something. It seemed

Speaker 1:

Right. Yeah. We ended the course in that year, just one week before the universe Arizona went on lockdown. So things were just beginning , uh, to emerge, but certain elements were very, very easy to predict, right at the outset, given the sort of organization of society around things like healthcare and , uh , patents and , and that sort of thing. So I just, just recently rewrote that , uh, provided an updated that, and again, it's , it's basically a sort of extension of what we expected would likely occur , uh, at that moment, but in any event , let , let me go back to, to , to your question about , um, the need to open up , um , a space for opposition critique. And this comes back to this idea of common sense as being both sort of descriptive and normative. That is the, the idea that the prevailing common sense tells us that , um, organizing society along a kind of neoliberal capitalist model , um, is both useful . That is that it , it is the, it is , um, the way in which , um, things now must operate for to take one example. It's almost inconceivable now , uh , in many parts of the world that , um, one could , uh , subsist without renting one self out as wage labor. That is that we take almost completely for granted , uh, in, in many parts of the world or aspire to it in other parts of the world. That means a production are held in very private hands of the few and that the rest of us have nothing to sell, but our skins as rented renting our as wage laborers . So that as a descriptive notion is , uh, extremely prevalent. It is also widespread as a normative element, that this is the best way to organize things that alternatives to organizing , uh , political economic life are themselves , uh , quite literally nonsensical that is, it doesn't make sense to critique this, this fundamental organization. Um, and that's what I mean by opening up an oppositional critique that is we need a space that, that says th there's nothing to be taken for granted about organizing society this way. And in fact, if we point to the counter examples of where this organization fails, this helps us open up both a descriptive and a normative space for critique and says that perhaps a system that leaves so many behind. And if , particularly, if we think about this on a global scale, but we could think about it within countries as well, but leaves so many behind whether this is in poverty and homelessness in precarity , uh, in , um, a , a planet it's on Aing course to clap to cataly . Um, if we're in a world that is constantly at war in one, in one place or another, if we can point to those as manifest failures of organizing society this way, this is one of the ways that we open up an oppositional critique and don't leave the taken for granted taken for granted. That is, those are the things when we operate in a , in a kind of rutin way, which is what most of life consists of for most people. And, and it's a good thing that it does in some ways, but if we can open this up, it allows us to think about different kinds of imagination for how things might be organized differently. It's one of the reasons , um , why we see in so many , uh, instances, counter examples, either thoroughly repressed or trivialized or not covered at all. So if we think about worker cooperatives, or if we think about nations that try to stand up to the capital system , uh , Cuba being probably the preeminent , uh , example , um, we can think about the ways in which those who benefit from the system as it exists, understand the dangers of a counter example . And it's the reason why we are kept so much to the , to , to the sort of , um , that this is a system that works for people, and if it doesn't work, it's your own fault. So it has a whole set of these sort of ideological underpinnings. Some of which I think are very carefully embodied in the so-called American dream , which is , um , both , um , a , a sort of , um, false notion of meritocracy , um, that, you know, if you work hard, you play by the rules, you could make it. And then the , the , the very dangerous and , um, and damaging , uh, uh, adverse that if you don't make it, you're either not working hard enough. You're not trying hard, but in any event, it's your fault. And so the , the kind of ways that we're kept to thinking about , um, the ways in which , uh , society ought , operate, preclude us from thinking about offering an oppositional critique. And once that oppositional critique space is opened, I then , uh , go on to argue that it's at that point where people are at least open to listening to an alternative view, that we can begin to present this inventory of failures of the present system. But simultaneously I think it is incumbent on those who are of us who are critical to offer a positive view. That is what sort of alternatives might be available. Um, it , I , I don't think it's sufficient to simply have a negative critique. Um, although the negative critique is necessary, but I don't think it's sufficient in order to motivate people to start thinking about how things might operate , uh, in a different way. And so, I mean, I think that's that , that's what I mean by that sort of orientation, which is why, as I said, we begin the course and sort of end the course with this idea of common sense, which is very, very powerful. And you probably saw the quote that I have in there from Stuart hall about common sense, being a terrain of struggle mm-hmm <affirmative> . And we know that it's a terrain of struggle because we can see in the few instances, when that struggle becomes visible, how ardently those who are benefited by the status quo work to maintain that common sense, it is , it is a struggle on their part as well. Mm-hmm <affirmative> , I mean , you know , escaping that logic is always a possibility. Um, and so those boundaries have to be very, very , uh , seriously policed to make sure that people stay within the appropriate sort of rhetorical dispersive and material bound .

Speaker 3:

If I'm not mistaken, there is , uh , something that kind of follows. I , I'm not sure if it's in the same chapter or not, but I believe it's in one of your lectures. And , and you mentioned that the worst possible thing you can do is, is not try to add something to the, the counter , uh , of the status quo or the hegemony , um , cultural hegemony , if I'm not mistaken.

Speaker 1:

Well, I think in some ways I , maybe a slightly different way to phrase that is that the battles that are, and the struggles that are most certain to be lost are the ones that are never engaged. Um, and this is part of, I, I would say a , a hegemonic common sense is to cast all alternatives to itself as nonsensical. And I , and , and again, I mean that in the almost most literal way I can, I can, I can be , um, that is if, if struggle looks , um, not only completely unwinnable, but even useless to begin this and , and people believe that they don't engage and struggle at all. And so I think this is one of the very powerful elements of a hegemonic common sense is to cast all alternatives to itself as nonsensical there's, there's no, mm-hmm , <affirmative> reason to critique them at all. So I think, yes, in some ways it's definitely the case that if , if it is possible to open up these areas for critique, that we engage in them , because one , once that engage and once people's minds are open, it's very hard to close them again . Um, you know, and this recognizes, of course, all of the sort of practicalities that people face in their everyday lives. I mean , some of us are much more privileged than others to be able to engage in this sort of, you know, thinking and, and theorize and so forth. And other people are just extremely busy just trying to make ends meet, but that doesn't say that people as Grohe argues that all people are potentially intellectuals in the sense that they're able to co and recognize their own circumstances, given the chance. And given that they're able to then be able to think along with others about alternative ways of organizing how, how their lives operate. Um, so I think, you know, in , in many ways for, for me, and, and for us in the course, this has been a very good entree point , uh , to think about how, how, you know , a system that is so woefully and so manifestly , um , inadequate for Liberty , billions of people around the planet can begin to be dismantled.

Speaker 3:

You said it way, way better than, than I possibly could have . <laugh> I , I did want to ask a question about your , uh , teaching and your schooling. Uh , I'm curious how you became interested in Marxism and , uh , teaching in general. And also, I think a lot of people when I , uh , mentioned that I would be interviewing you, I mentioned that you were a Marxist, and they're also slightly curious about that and I'm , and if I'm not mistaken, you mentioned that briefly in the book as well.

Speaker 1:

Yeah . Um , well, I'm a tremendous believer , um, I think in coincidence , um, and contingency. So my undergraduate degree actually was in molecular and cellular biology. Um , wow . And so this is a long way from, you know, where I am at the moment, although there are connections, I , I'm not gonna belabor those, but, but eventually where I was at the time at the university of Colorado , um, I, it was a very exciting time , um, in the mid seventies , uh, for molecular biology, it was very at the very beginnings of genetic manipulation , uh, gene splicing, and a whole number of things that were just on the verge of taking off. And so it was a very good place to be. And I worked in a very innovative lab at the time , uh, doing very interesting kind of cellular level genetic , uh, uh, uh , experimentation , um, but over a fairly short period of time , um, I began to be interested more in sort of environmental biology and, and, and then to think a little bit more about environmental policy. And at the time there were a number of people in the geography department, which I'd never really even heard of or thought about or considered who were doing sort of global scale environmental policy. And I was put in touch with one of these people , um, whom I very much came to admire and very much liked. Um, and he became , um, the supervisor for my masters , which was in geography and it was in hazards geography. So floods, earthquakes, that sort of thing, but right away when I moved , uh , to New Jersey to do a PhD , um, I began to be much more interested in the sort of political economy of hazards rather than the sort of positive of scientist , um, approach that had been taken in many, many , uh, uh , disciplines, sociology, particularly geography, to some extent, political science, to some extent. And then in the engineering fields , I began to really be very much more interested in the so sort of sociopolitical develop , uh, elements of , um , hazards and risk. And that led me very, very soon actually into , uh, reading in Marxist literature. That is my , my dissertation was on , um, hazardous waste sites, but I was very, very interested in the ways in which not only did those things get it differential located spatially, but the very differential capacities of particular communities to respond to those threats. And that led me into a kind of literature to think about how capital organizes the landscape for its own interests, whether that's in terms of extract of production or whether it's in terms of seeing the landscape in some ways as a repository for all kinds of waste, part of which comes out of the obsolescence , uh , that's built into a capitalist system, but part of it also emerges just from the fact that capital is an enormously , um, effective machine and about externalities. So things that are , uh , not conducive to maximizing the bottom line, those are for other people to take care of. So for me, that became a very powerful lens to think about the , the sort of substantive matters that I was interested. So if I was interested in a kind of risk landscape , um, I had to think about the ways in which capital organizes that landscape. And, and to me, Marx's analysis of the way in which capital operates was a very, very important and useful entre entry point for that. There are a whole number of other geograph who, who , who either characterize themselves or think about themselves as , um, under trying to understand spatial and other phenomena through that kind of lens. That is, it's a very powerful way to think about how spaces organized , how , uh , things like commodity chains or organized the way in which the workplace is organized the way in which cities are organized. All of those sorts of things, I think lend themselves to that kinda analysis for me. And one other very important step was that in, in the mid nineties, I actually , um, uh, was the , uh, chair of a program at the university of Arizona in comparative cultural literary studies. And I came in through a kind of science technology and society orientation to that , uh, to that , uh , discipline to that , uh , department. Um, but I , it put me in touch with literatures that I'd only sort of touched peripherally , uh , in terms of other kinds of social theory. Um , I was at that point very well steeped in a kind of Marxist and materialist analysis, but at the university of Arizona , um , we have a , a very fine philosophy department, but it is focused almost entirely , uh , on PO philosophy on ethics , uh, uh, ancient philosophy and so forth has no continental philosophy has no social theory. And so this program in comparative cultural literary study became defacto , the , the sort of hub for social theory on the campus . And for me, that was extremely , um , to engage with people in disciplines, particularly in humanities. Um, and the program actually emerged out of a previous program in comparative literature. And so, as I say, it put me in touch with whole bodies of theory and work that I was only sort of tangentially in , in body with , but those things , uh , really enriched the way I I'm able to think about the kinds of issues that I'm interested in.

Speaker 3:

The , the one chapter that actually caused me to email professor Chomsky about it was , uh, the, I think it , it , it must have been one of your lectures. In fact, I messaged professor chomps you because I hadn't contacted you at any point, but I , I had interviewed him in the past. So I just wanted to let him know , uh, how amazing the amount of research in that chapter was. And it was the one where you speak about , um , I believe you mentioned the level of antibiotics in food and the environment, and I believe nuclear waste as well. And maybe that's over the course of a few chapters. Uh , I can't remember exactly, but I thought the , uh, research was really amazing and that , and wanted to compliment you personally. Uh, so <laugh> , that's how we connected obviously, but , uh, that was

Speaker 1:

A good one that is all in one chapter. And so you can imagine, I mean, the , the course is seven and a half weeks.

Speaker 3:

Yeah .

Speaker 1:

<laugh> . And so you can imagine from the point of view, you know , beginning student, which is, you know, where this is pointed , mm-hmm , <affirmative> , um , you know , it's , it's actually a regular three credit , but it's compressed in timeframe. And so it is very, very dense. Um, and we cover a lot of ground , um, and that kind of chapter , um, I think is, is meant to be , um, both a survey in the sense that you , it tries to be wide ranging, but we also then try to provide both through discussion sections that the students are able to have with , uh , teaching assistants and through additional resources, ways to open up , um, you know, avenues for investigation for the students themselves. So while the , while the pace of the course is very, very brisk and, and the amount of material is very dense. Um, we try to do it in such a way that it really is , um, inviting rather than foreclosing that is that we, we , we specify at the beginning that these are gonna be sort of opening GATS in what we hope will be ongoing investigations for students in the areas that they're interested in. You know, if we spark a particular kind of interest, we want them to be able to have provided enough of a sort of foothold that people can get ahold of the issue, but somehow also then lead them to the kind of resources that they'll need if they really want to investigate this further . So, yeah, I mean, it's, you know, the , yeah , as you , as you know, it , the , the chapters are , are wide ranging, but as I say , we hope that they're not so intimidating that people look at 'em and go, okay , well, that's it I'm done with that ?

Speaker 3:

Not, not at all. I thought it was extremely enlightening and, and very important research, especially I hope my high viewers , uh , that are listeners that are listening to this right now , uh, check it out because some of that information either, I , I knew some of it or wanted to know some of it and some of it I, I never even began to think of. And, and it was really impressive. And, and I hope that many people read it, I guess this next question will probably be my last. And that is , uh, what does your , uh, research process consist of when taking on a project this large, I guess , uh , between you and professor Chomsky ?

Speaker 1:

Well, for , for, for this course , um, well, at least at the outset , um, I had taught , um, courses on almost all of the topics that I cover here in one way or another. So in putting together , uh , this particular course, it was a matter of my, let me take one step back. I saw my role here as being able , uh, in, in many ways to provide a kind of platform for the sort of contemporary and empirical material that no would bring , uh, in, in the , in the second lecture of the week. So, as I said at the beginning, you know , I think he's , uh , just superb , um, at, at , um , not only , um , identifying important kind of phenomena, but in being able to trace them both sort of historically and have them have a kind of coherence for understanding them in , in the present moment. Um, and so what I, what I tried to do was to take , um, what I thought about as very useful sort of conceptual and theoretical frameworks that would then , um, be a platform for those empirical and contemporary observations. So, in, in most part, at the beginning of the course, I was taking material that either I had taught in some way or another updating it , uh , bringing in, you know, new material to think about. Um, but also very much as I say , um, sort of cognizant of this need to provide this kind of, of framework, concept , theoretical framework for the comments that no one would make on Thursdays. So that was, that was the way I would do research. Mostly it was, as I say, sort of updating , uh , particular kinds of themes, updating particular kinds of , uh , formats, and then also , um, changing in some way , the manner of presentation, because , um, in all the years that I taught at the univers at university level, I had virtually never taught an introductory course. Um, all of the courses that I taught were either upper division or graduate courses. And so for me , um, for example, the second chapter, which is basically a chapter on Marx's analysis of capital , um, to reduce, you know, what would typically be a semester long course to a two hour lecture , um, you know, was a little bit of a , of , of a challenge. Um, but in any event that, that was the sort of thing that I was doing now over the six times that we've offered the course , um, what I've tried to do is retain basically the framework , um, which to me still makes a great deal of sense. The arc of the course still makes sense, but we've changed the content quite substantially , uh, to keep up with , uh, keep up with the times some of the more theor conceptual material remains largely the same, but the examples and the , uh , substantive content have changed , uh , significantly over time. So that's, that's the way that , uh , that that's evolved . The , the one other element that has evolved from the second time we taught the course has to do with what I mentioned earlier , um, not wanting the course to be overwhelmingly pessimistic. And so beginning with the second offering, I started bringing in activists on various elements that the course covers. Um, and some of those in, in when we were meeting in person , uh , were local activists sometimes linked to national or international organizations, but as we went , um, both partially, and then more fully online, started to bring in people from everywhere , um , who were noted experts on the kinds of things , um, that were covering in the course , uh , partly to give people , um, in the course a sense that these problems are being worked on, can be worked on, and that there are places for people to attach themselves if they find, you know, causes and , and , um , you issues that are particular interest. So part a very , uh , significant part of the course now is to think about the ways in which , um, I , if we're providing a rationale for political action political cohesion, we need to provide those resources to people as well, at least entree points where people can attach them cells to ongoing activity. Um, I will say that the one question that we get most at the end of the course, I mean , aside from the fact that people say, well, I can't say I enjoyed the course, but I can say that I learned a lot from the course and found it worthwhile. Um, but the one, one question that we get out , um, most consistently not surprising, what can we do about all this? And I I'm working on a paper right now, so that we're gonna , uh, we're, we're thinking about how to reorganize the course, to be much more specifically addressed to questions about why by given the several century analysis that marks and others have provided to us, we've had so little success in bringing this system at least to some kind of constraint. Um, and this is I think a very, very poignant question. Um, Noam always for that in a quote from , uh , David Hume , um , which is to the effect that it is puzzling, as hum said in 1742 , it is puzzling the ease with which the few govern the, and this is , I think, as I say, a more poignant question than ever. And I think we're now at the point where we're gonna try to address that really head on in the course and think about what are the obstacles to an organized left , what are the obstacles to producing space for , and what are the obstacles to producing that both negative and critique of the present system. So I think that's where we're at at the moment.

Speaker 3:

All right . Well, that was , uh , a very insightful, thank you so much for , uh, joining me. It's good to meet you. I really, really enjoyed the book. I hope everybody , uh , checks it out. And , um, I'm curious, do you have any fun , final thoughts for anyone that might be listening?

Speaker 1:

Well, I think I put them in that last couple of statements. I mean, I think it's incumbent on us now to think about a system that , that, as I said is so woefully failing billions around the planet and the planet itself to find a way , uh, to put at least the break and start to think about reorganizing in some way, how , how , uh , society can function. It's astonishing that on a planet is such plenty. There are so many in such need while people at the very top who are lifting themselves off the planet , but not for long enough ,

Speaker 3:

You couldn't say edit any better . Well , thank you so much. I really appreciate you joining , joining me today .

Speaker 1:

Happy to be with you .