17 January 2011

Interview: Eric Hobsbawm

Yesterday The Guardian carried this interesting interview with Eric Hobsbawm who, in addition to being an influential historian remains a pretty unrepentant Marxist. At the very end he offers this basic diagnosis of our contemporary situation:
"What I'm saying now is that the basic problems of the 21st century would require solutions that neither the pure market, nor pure liberal democracy can adequately deal with. And to that extent, a different combination, a different mix of public and private, of state action and control and freedom would have to be worked out. . . . What you will call that, I don't know. But it may well no longer be capitalism, certainly not in the sense in which we have known it in this country and the United States."
My own thinking about politics and culture (starting with my doctoral thesis) owes a considerable amount to Hobsbawm's historical essays on the "invention of tradition" - a conception of historical events that converges surprisingly with the work of Thomas Schelling. I will add that Hobsbawm also served pseudonymously for many years as the jazz critic for the New Statesman in Great Britain. You can find his reflections on that part of his career here.

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Blogger Mark Curran said...

...thanks for the post, Jim! And belated Happy New Year!

17 January, 2011 05:59  

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