Why Is the Pursuit of Money Such an American Obsession? (w/ Lewis Lapham)


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Today Nathan is joined by legendary former Harper's editor Lewis Lapham. Lapham is the author of numerous books including Money and Class in America, Age of Folly, and Lapham's Rules of Influence. He currently edits Lapham's Quarterly. He also wrote and starred in the delightfully strange documentary/musical The American Ruling Class. He was called "without doubt our greatest satirist" by Kurt Vonnegut, is a member of the American Society of Magazine Editors Hall of Fame, and went to India with the Beatles. The New York Times once called him "amusing."

Lapham's books focus heavily on the culture of the American financial and political elite. In Money and Class in America he writes about his own privileged upbringing and the spiritual emptiness of life among those who see price as synonymous with value. We discuss:

- The way that rich people go to great lengths to pretend they don't care about money even when it's the main thing they care about

- The shallowness of an Ivy League education, and the emphasis on networking over learning anything valuable

- How journalists self-censor to avoid hurting their access to the powerful

- The social effects of having a publishing industry that cares far more about marketable books than good ones

- Why David Graeber and David Wengrow's new book The Dawn of Everything offers a hopeful vision for a possible alternative society that does not worship money and consumer goods

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