The global economy was forged in the 18th century under European empires that committed genocides in the Americas and Africa, instituted mass slavery, and colonialism. This is the story.
Following Alexander Woodside’s book Lost Modernities, we talk about the Korean, Vietnamese, and Chinese Mandarinates, the peculiarities and pitfalls of a system based on competitive examinations, the interplay of meritocracy and feudalism, and the relevance of it all to today’s debates about standardized testing and education more generally.
I talk with a member of the Qiao Collective about the US Hybrid War on China, the sinophobic propaganda that is ramping up, including among declared leftists online, and how to go about trying to develop an understanding about China’s politics and economy in the face of pervasive war propaganda.
Dave Power and I talk about enlightened despots and the “greats”: Peter, Catherine, Frederick, Akbar, Abbas, Shivaji, Sejeong, as well as the Sikh Empire and the Ayuttaya Kingdom.
With David Power. If the quintessential absolute monarchy was Louis XIV, the quintessential constitutional monarchy is England after the Glorious Revolution. We talk about King Charles losing his head and foreshadow (following Gerald Horne) the dire consequences of this for Africa and Africans as it enabled a massive expansion of the slave trade. For our anarchist listeners, we’ve also got Guy Fawkes, the gunpowder treason, the Diggers, and the Levelers.
Dan and Justin start with the hectoring of the Bernie movement by liberals to vote Biden – including their sudden discovery of Chomsky, who has always endorsed voting “the lesser evil”. From there, we talk about early 20th century propaganda in both its British and American imperial incarnations.
The transition of European kingdoms from feudalism to absolute monarchy, with Russia, Prussia, and of course France under Louis XIV as examples. We open with some discussion of state formation, mentioning Plato’s The Republic, Chanakya’s Arthasastra, and Charles Tilly’s Coercion, Capital and European States.
I talk to Sam Gindin about capitalism and the COVID-19 crisis. We started with economics, but it is really about consciousness, politics, expectations, and the struggles ahead.