Susan George is an internationally renowned political scientist and author of over a dozen widely translated books. She was born in the Midwest during the Great Depression, but moved to France in the 1960s and subsequently took French citizenship. She still lives in Paris.
Susan George achieved prominence in 1976 with her first ground-breaking book, How the Other Half Dies: The Real Reason for World Hunger (available as a free download via this link). After hunger she went on to study debt and poverty, as reflected in books such as The Debt Boomerang and A Fate Worse than Debt.
George is president of the board of the Transnational Institute in Amsterdam, an international network of scholar-activists committed to social change.
Before we talked about her new book on our current predicament, Whose Crisis, Whose Future?, I asked her about the values she grew up with. Had the great collective effort made by the US in World War Two been particularly influential? [To listen to this section of the interview, click here.]
Turning to her new book, I asked Susan to outline what her new book was about. Did the crisis of the title go beyond the current financial crisis? [To listen to this section of the interview, click here.]
Besides diagnosing the problem, does the book also put forward solutions? [To listen to this section of the interview, click here.]
The diagrams below depict, first, the status quo in Susan George’s analysis, with finance at the centre of everything and the environment only a peripheral concern, and second, the state which Susan George advocates we must move to, and quickly.
Collaboration in order to bring about change is a key element of Susan George’s prescription. She discusses the need for concerted action here.
Already in her first book Susan George was saying “Study the rich, not the poor” and she is saying it still. I asked her why that was so and why the message still needed repeating. [To listen to this section of the interview, click here.]
I asked Susan why she thought that people voted for – and believed in – governments that didn’t have their best interests at heart. This took us to a discussion of her previous book, Hijacking America and the role of “money, management and media” in shaping our political culture and the shortcomings of the left. [To listen to this section of the interview, click here.]
The final question: does Susan George believe we can save the planet while neoliberal capitalism remains the dominant international system? [To listen to this section of the interview, click here.]
If you would like to listen to the complete interview, you can click here.