Capitalism Can’t Provide Prosperity for Everyone: Lewis Lapham

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Source: Houghton Mifflin Company via Bloomberg

The cover jacket of "Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America" by Cullen Murphy.

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Source: Houghton Mifflin Company via Bloomberg

The cover jacket of "Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America" by Cullen Murphy. Close

The cover jacket of "Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America" by Cullen Murphy.

Photographer: Paul Goguen/Bloomberg

In a panel discussion, Cullen Murphy, Lewis Lapham and David Graeber at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. Murphy is author of "Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America." Graeber is author of "Debt: The First 5,000 Years." Close

In a panel discussion, Cullen Murphy, Lewis Lapham and David Graeber at Bloomberg headquarters in New York. Murphy is... Read More

Source: Melville House Publishing via Bloomberg

The cover jacket of "Debt: The First 5000 Years" by David Graeber. Close

The cover jacket of "Debt: The First 5000 Years" by David Graeber.

Photographer: Paul Goguen/Bloomberg

Lewis Lapham, of "Lapham's Quarterly," in New York. Close

Lewis Lapham, of "Lapham's Quarterly," in New York.

After World War II, U.S. workers got a decent piece of the economic pie, and saw their children do even better. But in the 1970s, notes David Graeber, author of “Debt: The First 5,000 Years,” it became clear that capitalism couldn’t provide that level of affluence to everyone.

(To listen to the podcast, click here.)

For Cullen Murphy, author of “Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America,” democracy in the U.S. is under fire from a system in which, increasingly, “fewer have more.”

I spoke with both of them during a symposium at Bloomberg world headquarters in New York City on the following topics:

1. Private vs. Public Power

2. Moral Assumptions About Debt

3. Fewer Have More

4. Soft Power of Money

5. Evolution of Democracy

To buy these books in North America, click here for “Debt,” and here for “Are We Rome?”

(Lewis Lapham is the founder of Lapham’s Quarterly and the former editor of Harper’s magazine. He hosts “The World in Time” interview series for Bloomberg News.)

To contact the writer on the story: Lewis Lapham in New York at lhl@laphamsquarterly.org.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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