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Episode 109
Featuring Rana Foroohar
We are living in a dramatic period of societal change driven by a particular set of Internet-enabled technologies that are undergoing a rapid phase of consolidation. If we want a say in what this world will look like, we need to educate ourselves about what’s gone wrong and how to fix it. This episode is a start.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Financial Times Global Business Columnist, Rana Faroohar about her latest book dealing with the worlds of Big Tech and finance. 

We are living in a dramatic period of societal change and uncertainty that most generations rarely get to experience. The changes we are experiencing are being driven primarily by a particular set of Internet-enabled technologies and businesses that are undergoing a rapid phase of consolidation. 

The last time Americans saw anything similar was during the late 19th century. This was a period where people’s relationships to nature and to the land were being radically reshaped by the railroads, industrial capitalism, and urbanization. Their sense of time and space, their relationships to their communities, and to each other were being profoundly reordered and this produced an unprecedented amount of anxiety. Like today, this period coincided with a rise in populism and calls for heavy-handed regulation of what had become industrial monopolies. These monopolies were able to set prices and use anti-competitive tactics to bankrupt their competitors. Independent oil refiners, for instance, had to sell out to John D. Rockefeller, because he not only got preferential rates on his oil shipments, but Standard Oil was also getting rebates from the railroads on every barrel shipped by his competitors. And these types of anti-competitive practices were going on across the board in steel, tobacco, etc.  

It took a long time for the public to catch up, and for journalists like Ida Tarbell to emerge, who could begin to bring a necessary level of clarity to what was happening. Something similar is happening today with journalists and authors like Rana Foroohar and Shoshana Zuboff. The battlelines of 21st-century capitalism and liberalism are being radically redrawn. If we want to have a say in what this world looks like, we will need to educate ourselves and others about what’s gone wrong and how we can start to fix it. This episode is a step in that direction.

You can access this week’s overtime segment, transcript, and rundown through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers also gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily be added to your favorite podcast application.

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

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Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod

Rana Foroohar is Global Business Columnist and an Associate Editor at the Financial Times. She is also CNN’s global economic analyst. Her book, Makers and Takers: The Rise of Finance and the Fall of American Business, about why the capital markets no longer support business, was shortlisted for the Financial Times McKinsey Book of the Year award in 2016. In 2019, Foroohar was awarded a SABEW award for her tech and policy coverage at the Financial Times. Prior to joining the FT and CNN, Foroohar spent 6 years at TIME, as an assistant managing editor and economic columnist. She previously spent 13 years at Newsweek, as an economic and foreign affairs editor and a foreign correspondent covering Europe and the Middle East. During that time, she was awarded the German Marshall Fund’s Peter Weitz Prize for transatlantic reporting. She has also received awards and fellowships from institutions such as the Johns Hopkins School of International Affairs and the East West Center. She is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations and sits on the advisory board of the Open Markets Institute. Rana Foroohar graduated in 1992 from Barnard College, Columbia University. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the author John Sedgwick, and her two children.

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