Economy Talk with John Ralston Saul

My guest this Wed. Nov. 2nd at 6pm Canadian author and essayist John Ralston Saul has written a series of fascinating books on what means to be a citizen/individual.  I was so impressed by his The Unconscious Civilization that I e-mailed him to see if I could interview him.  I am pleased to report he was able to find the time to do the interview.  Listen in you won’t regret it.

Mr. Saul is also the President of the International PEN an organization of writers committed to promoting literature and protecting freedom of expression.

Even though written a while ago (1995) his ideas are very relevant to our current situation.  He discussed the importance of government and citizen action. He describes the take over of Corporatism and the corrosive affect it has on democracy and the destruction of the individual. He also, explains the collapse of Globalism and  why it was an economic system that had no future and could never meet its many promises. You can listen here to a brief interview on the collapse of Globalism here.  And here a longer lecture on Freedom and Globalization here.

Here is a sampling of The Unconscious Civilization:

 The acceptance of corporatism causes us to deny and undermine the legitimacy of the individual as citizen in a democracy. The result of such a denial is a growing imbalance, which leads to our adoration of self-interest and our denial of the public good.

The point of these received wisdoms of the second half of the 20th century is that the very heart and soul of our 2,500 year old civilization is, apparently, economics, and from that heart flowed, and continues to flow, everything else. We must therefore fling down and fling up the structures of our society as the marketplace orders. If we don’t, the marketplace will do it anyway.

Now, given our inability over the past two decades to deal with an unbreakable chain of unemployment, debt, inflation and no real growth, we have drifted farther and farther out into a cold, unfriendly, confusing sea. The new certitude of those in positions of authority – those out of the water – is that the certain answer is to cut away the life preservers.

The unregulated money markets have now given us over twenty years of crisis, instability, gratuitous speculation and no real growth. And on the subject of growth, what we are experiencing is a feeding frenzy of delusion. The money markets are a prime example. But so also are the commercial property booms; the endless investment in management structures; and our embroidering of consumerism which ranges from the highly baroque to the outright lunatic.

You know a society is in trouble when the virtual totality of the elite, now a good third of the population, adopts public silence and private passivity on the professional level, then walks away from society to blow off accumulated steam on private pleasures.

Our civilization is locked in the grip of an ideology – corporatism. An ideology that denies and undermines the legitimacy of individuals as the citizen in a democracy. The particular imbalance of this ideology leads to a worship of self-interest and a denial of the public good. The practical effects on the individual are passivity and conformism in the areas that matter, and non-conformism in the areas that don’t.

Listen in Wed. November 2nd at 6pm at KYMN Radio 1080 AM or listen on line at kymnradio.net.

Here is the link to the archived program (click here)

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