Is capitalism past its expiry date? Munk Debate (K, Vanden Heuvel & Y. Varoufakis vs A. Brooks & D. Brooks)

08/12/2019 by

The capitalist system is broken. It’s time to try something different.

For my 3 minute conclusion of this debate, jump to 1 hour 59 minutes

There is a growing belief in western societies that the current capitalist system no longer works for average people. Economic inequality is rampant. Life expectancy is falling. The environment is being destroyed for profits. Political power is wielded by wealthy elites and big business, not the people. For capitalism’s critics, the answer is a top to bottom reform of the “free market” along more socialist and democratic lines. For proponents of capitalism, it is the engine of economic and social progress, full stop. Not only has capitalism made all of us materially better off, its ideals are responsible for everything from women’s rights to a cleaner environment to greater political freedoms. The answer to society’s current ills is more capitalism, more economic freedom, and more free markets.


Katrina vanden Heuvel is the editorial director and publisher of The Nation, a leading American source of progressive politics and culture, and served as the magazine’s editor from 1995 to 2019. She is a frequent TV news commentator on U.S. and international politics, and she writes a weekly column for The Washington Post.

Yours truly

Arthur Brooks is a Harvard professor, bestselling author and a Washington Post columnist. He left college age 19 to work professionally as a classical musician. In his late 20s, he earned a bachelor of arts in economics, mathematics and modern languages by correspondence. He got a master’s degree in economics at Florida Atlantic University and a PhD in public policy at the RAND Graduate School in Santa Monica.

David Brooks is an American cultural and political commentator who was born in Canada when his father was earning his PhD at the University of Toronto. He is a bi-weekly columnist for The New York Times’ op-ed pages and a regular analyst on PBS NewsHour and NPR’s All Things Considered

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