The New Bazaar


Finance portrayed in arts and culture

Season 1, Ep. 39

Mary Childs—author of The Bond King, cohost of the Planet Money podcast, and dear pal of Cardiff and Aimee—joins The New Bazaar to discuss how finance is portrayed in culture and the arts.

Mary is both a finance journalist and herself a recreational painter with a comprehensive knowledge of the art world, and Cardiff asked her to choose an example each of a movie, book, song, TV series, painter, and contemporary artist to chat about on the show. Below are her choices, with links embedded:

MOVIE: American Psycho

BOOK: Lake Success

SONG: Paper Planes

TV SERIES: Succession

PAINTER: Bill Powhida


Mary and Cardiff then close the episode by talking about Mary's new article in Town & Country on how rich financiers use art to wage cultural battles against each other. "These cases often spin out of control", Mary writes, "because art is always more than its component parts. It can become a manifestation of personal identity and control. Sometimes the art itself becomes a cudgel."

Other related links:

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Friday, February 3, 2023

How to save democratic capitalism

The combination of a markets-based capitalist economy and a liberal democracy with almost-universal suffrage is very young, having existed for barely more than a century. But what we’ve learned in that short time is that there has never been a more successful political and societal arrangement. None of the tyrannies and the plutocracies that have been the default for nearly all of human history has ever been nearly as good at raising people’s living standards, and at giving people the individual freedoms to choose how they live their lives. But that marriage between capitalism and democracy has always been a fragile one. And in the last decade or two, that system has been under threat from within the very liberal democracies where it exists, especially in the US and across parts of Europe. What happened?The guest for this episode is Martin Wolf, the chief economics commentator of the Financial Times and author of a new book called The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism. As Martin writes:The health of our societies depends on sustaining a delicate balance between the economic and the political, the individual and the collective, the national and the global. But that balance is broken. Our economy has destabilized our politics and vice versa… A big part of the reason for this is that the economy is not delivering the security and widely shared prosperity expected by large parts of our societies. One symptom of this disappointment is a widespread loss of confidence in elites. Another is rising populism and authoritarianism. Another is the rise of identity politics of both left and right. Yet another is loss of trust in the notion of truth. Once this last happens, the possibility of informed and rational debate among citizens, the very foundation of democracy, has evaporated.Martin discusses these themes with Cardiff, what should be done to confront this crisis of democratic capitalism, what a "New New Deal" can look like, the threat (and opportunity) of China as a global superpower, and how Martin's own personal history influenced his values and thinking.Related links: The Crisis of Democratic Capitalism Martin's columns at the Financial Times