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What is money, anyway? And what is capitalism? And how are the two intertwined, and are they extricable? I'm joined by  Conor MacCabe, author of the excellent books, Money and Sins of the Father: Tracing the Decisions that Shaped the Irish Economy. Instead of staying with the obscuring language of economics, Conor and I go into what money and capitalism are from an experiential and historical standpoint. And we talk about the spiritual aspects of money as well, especially in how they're related to time, the witch trials, and ideas of the future.

I've never had a conversation about money like this before, and I was so happy to. Conor is a great writer, a great thinker, and this conversation clarifies so many concepts.

I'm very excited to share AEWCH 76 with you. 

In this episode:

  • How the language of economics is religiously constructed to keep people out
  • The invention of money as we know it now, and why the history we normally get fed is wrong
  • How credit is a social technology, and coin and cash were created to change its social relation
  • The problems with cashless cultures, and the war on credit unions
  • How banking rose as an aspect of imperialism
  • How the invention of capitalism relates to the witch trials
  • the problem with bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies
  • what the inner experience of money is
  • what the fuck actually happens when you use money, anyway
  • what post-capitalist forms of money could look like, and why philosophical questions about money matter
  • how much money makes us happy
  • how capitalism is related to time and how those in turn relate to magic and new ageism
  • the importance of holding a big vision and doing the on-the-ground activism 
  • why people with marginalized identities have amazing anti-capitalist strategies


• For more on Conor, here's his facebook page, here are the articles he wrote for Look Left. And here's a video Q&A with Conor that covers a lot of ground.

• Erin Gloria Ryan was on the show back on AEWCH 24! It's a great and funny episode.

David Graeber is a great writer and anthropologist. We mention his book, Debt: The First 5,000 Years, but they're all interesting.

• I'm sure you've all seen Little House on the Prairie, and that I'm not an old person right? Right?

• If you want a rundown on SESTA/FOSTA, here's me talking about it on Chapo Traphouse, and also on Media Roots Radio.

• I did an episode of Against Saturdays (my occasional solo episodes on Saturdays) about the left and witches, and why the views repeated by many leftists about witchcraft are insufficient. Here's AS1: The Left vs Witches.

• If you don’t know much about bitcoin, here’s an amazing article in the London Review of Books, “The Satoshi Affair,” by Andrew O’Hagan. It may be a bit outdated at this point, but it's a good primer on bitcoin, and it reads like a spy novel.

• The first Rudolf Steiner quote is from a lecture he gave in 1918:

"...the thought that a certain number of persons labor in order that we may possess the minimum necessities of life is inseparable from another. It is the thought that we must recompense society, not with money but with work in exchange for the work that has been done for us. We feel an interest in our fellow men only when we are led to feel obligated to recompense in some form of labor the amount of labor that has been performed for us. To give our money to our fellow men only signifies that we are able to hold our fellow men on a leash as bound slaves and that we can compel them to labor for us."

• The psychoanalytic thinker, Todd McGowan, has been on the show twice, first on AEWCH 47, and then with radical theologian Peter Rollins on AEWCH 70. And he's got a lot of great thoughts about capitalism in his books, Enjoying What We Don't Have: The Political Project of Psychoanalysis and Capitalism and Desire: The Psychic Cost of Free Markets

Would you like to read more about the economic sociologist Immanuel Wallerstein?

• The second Steiner quote is from a lecture in 1920: "This limitation of interest to solely what people receive through their labor, instead of what they produce, is what poisons our entire economic life.” 

• Conor finds inspiration in Phillip K. Dick and especially his VALIS trilogy, and I think looking to fiction for spiritual and political inspiration is one of the best things we can do.

• John  O'Donohue (pictured below) is such an incredible writer, and his book, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace is an absolutely stunning book. Everyone should read it.

• The Emma Goldman "If I can't dance to it, it's not my revolution," is a misattribution, even though the sentiment is there in Goldman's work, especially when she said, “I want freedom, the right to self-expression, everybody’s right to beautiful, radiant things.”

• I talk about the strategies marginalized people have for dismantling power on AEWCH 50 with the great Mona Eltahawy.

Thanks for listening!



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