In this week’s episode of “On Contact,” Truthdig columnist Chris Hedges sits down with Rob Urie, author of “Zen Economics,” to discuss “the capitalist labyrinth.”

The two dive into the concept of the “economic man” or “economic woman” that Urie introduces in his book. Urie explains that humans are conditioned to feel that capitalism is a “natural” state of being. It’s “the integration of psychology with corporate desire,” he explains.

Urie and Hedges then discuss the “radical alienation” produced by capitalism, particularly how the system is responsible for nuclear weapons, climate change and even imperialism. “Alienation is the bedrock of consumer culture,” Hedges notes.

Capitalism, they agree, has a “self-destructive” quality that “leads to the inability to rectify the excesses.” In addition, they explore the idea that science is not objective. “Science has been harnessed to capitalism in a very destructive way,” Hedges says.

They also address the history of capitalism, particularly the ways it used to “regulate itself,” with Hedges citing the New Deal of the 1930s as one example. Urie states that neoliberalism today is “the philosophy of the ruling elite,” but argues that neoliberalism existed prior to the Great Depression of the 1920s:

“It’s the philosophy of the world where you’ve got the ruling elite, and there’s this self-justification, which comes through societal rewards … so upper-class, ruling-class leaders can look at their classmates and say, through the logic of capitalism, that ‘we’ve earned this.’ “

The episode ends with Hedges and Urie breaking down the harmful relationship between government and business. “Government isn’t intrinsically corrupt,” Urie argues.

Watch the entire video below.

—Posted by Emma Niles

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