Evgenia and I talk to Joe Costello about the politics of technology — nuclear energy, the internet, Wall Street, the New Deal, cars, American democracy, the Romans, the need for new ways to organize society… As Joe points out, technology is not just gadgets but also social constructs: things like finance, debt, money, corporations, political institutions. The politics of these technologies are always hard to think about because “technology destroys history.” When a new one comes along it changes everything, yet it makes people think that this changed environment is how things have always been.
Joe Costello is a personal friend of ours. He’s been working in American politics and energy for decades — including on Jerry Brown and Howard Dean’s presidential campaigns. So he’s got firsthand knowledge about how rotten everything is here.
We highly recommend his new newsletter — Life in the 21st Century — where he writes about many of the things we talk about in this ep. Check it out and subscribe! Joe’s one of a kind.
PS: Forgot to mention that Joe also has a book — a collection of essays: Of, By, For: The New Politics of Money, Debt & Democracy. He also has a great standalone essay from a few years ago: The Politics of Technology.
Want to know more? Check out previous episodes of The Russians.