Episode

8/1 Jack Welch As An Avatar For The Worst Of Corporate Capitalism w/ David Gelles

August 1, 2022

Sam and Emma host David Gelles, climate reporter for the New York Times, to discuss his recent book The Man Who Broke Capitalism: How Jack Welch Gutted the Heartland and Crushed the Soul of Corporate America-and How to Undo His Legacy. First, Sam and Emma dive into the role of the Dobbs decision in getting out the vote for Democrats, Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan, DeSantis’ attacks on restaurants hosting queer events, and Bill Cassidy says he’ll vote for the Veteran healthcare bill when it’s going to pass (which, of course, would be helped by his vote). Then, they’re joined by David Gelles as he dives right into why he took an interest in Jack Welch after interviewing hundreds of CEOs that all tied back to his influence, with the straw that broke the back being his discovery of Welch’s proteges in the financialization of Boeing in the lead up to their multi-crash fiasco in the 2010s. Next, he dives into a history of Welch and GE, the latter which served as the pinnacle of welfare capitalism up until the former’s takeover at the start of the ‘80s, beginning with how his arrival as CEO brought in a framework of economics built on the back of Milton Friedman and incentivized by one Ronald Reagan. Sam, Emma, and David then dive into the capitalist revolution that Jack Welch oversaw, moving the industrial emphasis from holistic production to efficient production, emphasizing outsourcing for cheaper labor and financialization that put a focus on filling the pockets of shareholders and executives, before expanding on the greater cultural changes, including a shift away from the industrial production GE was known for to a constantly churning and diversified portfolio – from media to crediting and subprime mortgages – that effectively turned the company into a deregulated bank, and the move towards efficiency in the workplace that began to kill the innovation that had defined their role in US production. After a quick discussion on how Welch went out of his way to engage with unionized labor, Gelles dives into Welch’s influence on Boeing (and the rest of the neoliberal world), the role of media and media control in this economic revolution, and the failure of neoliberal governments to actually reign in capitalism via regulations. They wrap up the interview by diving into what needs to change to move away from Welch’s vision for American profits, and the role of Capitalism as inherently contributing to this issue.

And in the Fun Half: Sam and Emma discuss the disaster in Kentucky and the stupidity of red state/blue state culture, discuss Roger Stone and Matt Gaetz’s ever subtle discussion about “the boss” making sure they didn’t “do time” (who knows what that could be about), and discuss Lucas Kunce’s opponent’s local fundraising tactic: take from your own bank account! Joe Manchin gets on Meet the Press and does a pretty little dance around actually supporting his party, the Good Liars crash the burial sight of Ivanna Trump (horrifying!), and Bro Flamingo dives into employment and the economy. Sam from Oregon discusses disagreement and denouncement on the left, Justin from Chicago thanks twerking for his politics, and Sophia from Atlanta dives into the impact of Georgia’s “Guns Everywhere” law on the presence of non-murder-affiliated activity in the region. They also touch on DeSantis relying on a 1947 ruling to punish a restaurant throwing community drag events, plus, your calls and IMs!

Check out David’s book here: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Man-Who-Broke-Capitalism/David-Gelles/9781982176440

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