When I first met Labor Party activist and technology/economics historian Richard Barbrook, he chided me for the “damage” my books had inflicted on his students, and how much energy he had to spend rehabilitating them. From Barbrook, I eventually realized, this is a compliment. Please enjoy this wonderful installment of Team Human, where Richard schools me on everything from the fundamentals of class formation to the KGB’s deepest desire: to join the West, and how Lenin was the first fascist.
Also, an opening monologue from me in which I challenge my own enthusiasm for Universal Basic Income – especially now that I’m hearing my own words spouted back at me by Silicon Valley investors and developers whose attraction to the idea seem entirely more self-interested: let’s have the government pay poor people so they can keep buying our stuff! It does nothing for the underlying inequality and, in many cases, will just exacerbate it. It’s asset inequality we have to address. Access to the means of production is worth a whole lot more than welfare.