Lex Fridman, a Russian-American computer scientist and artificial intelligence researcher, hosts a popular podcast where he often interviews academics and helps them reach a surprisingly large audience. In recent weeks, he’s had long and wide-ranging conversations with NYU social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, Princeton historian Stephen Kotkin (on the history of Russia and the Ukraine war), and Stanford historian Norman Naimark (on genocide). Above you can now find his conversation with Marxist economist, Richard Wolff.
Fridman prefaces the lengthy conversation by saying, “This is a heavy topic, in general, and for me personally, given my family history in the Soviet Union, in Russia and Ukraine. Today, the words Marxism, Socialism and Communism are used to attack and divide, much more than to understand and learn. With this podcast, I seek the latter. I believe we need to study the ideas of Karl Marx, as well as their various implementations throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.… We need to consider seriously the ideas we demonize, and to challenge the ideas we dogmatically accept as true, even when doing so is at times unpleasant and dangerous.”
You can listen to their engaging conversation above, or find it on various podcasts platforms. Along the way, Wolff underscores the glaring deficiencies of capitalism, and why populists on the left and right are now looking for alternatives. And Fridman asks whether capitalism, despite its faults, may still be the best option we have. Wolff and Fridman undoubtedly have different worldviews, but the conversation is civil and deep, and worth your time.