The History of the World in Seven Cheap Things
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FEATURING RAJ PATEL – Most of us middle and working class Americans are always looking for a good bargain. In an attempt to make ends meet we shop at Walmart or Amazon, or we eat at McDonald’s and Taco Bell, even if we may not like the business practices of those companies.
But the idea of cheap goods and services is so deeply intertwined with our current global economic system that it has become almost impossible to extricate ourselves from it. How did the pursuit of cheap things, which includes labor and care, become part of the fabric of our lives?
Telling the history of the world using the idea of “cheapness” as a lens in a new book is my guest, the award winning author and activist Raj Patel.
Raj Patel, award winning writer, activist, and academic, a research professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, and a senior research associate at the Unit for the Humanities at Rhodes University. He has written several books including Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System, and The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy. His newest book, co-authored with Jason W. Moore is called A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature and the Future of the Planet.
**This interview was originally broadcast on October 26, 2017.