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Capitalism Can’t Provide Prosperity for Everyone: Lewis Lapham

The cover jacket of
The cover jacket of "Are We Rome? The Fall of an Empire and the Fate of America" by Cullen Murphy. Source: Houghton Mifflin Company via Bloomberg

Dec. 17 (Bloomberg) -- 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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at

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