Malcolm Ray is an author, journalist, activist, and academic specializing in economic history. He is the author of the groundbreaking The Tyranny of Growth: Why Capitalism has Triumphed in the West and Failed in Africa. The book provides a new lens to interpret and reimagine economics and its place in Africa and the world.
Malcolm began his career in the Anti-Apartheid Movement during the 1980s and early 90s, where he developed a habit of independent, but critical thinking. He practiced journalism for more than a decade in the early 2000s before making his way into academia, eventually succumbing to the magnetic appeal of his first love, creative writing.
In this conversation we talk about:
- Growing up and experiencing racism and severe exclusion under Apartheid.
- How he became an activist fighting Apartheid in South Africa, and later a journalist.
- The loss of his mother due to COVID, and the economic context in which it happened, which provided a motivation for him to write this book.
- What’s wrong with today’s model of growth and the growth dogma?
- Lives vs. livelihood, and how the current growth model benefits elites, but not the vast majority of people.
- 80+ years of growth doctrine and where did it come from?
- The historical origins of GDP, and how the US created GDP to justify the expenses of war and "sell" it to the American people in a less than honest way.
- What GDP and growth dogma is doing to the poor and to developing nations around the world.
- We also talk about what gives him hope.
Malcolm is one of these voices I wish many more people heard. Like a detective, he took the time to unpeel the growth doctrine and get to its rotten GDP core. That really helps us understand what's wrong with GDP, and why our economy is becoming less and less equal. Essentially, you get what you measure, which is a model that leaves many so-called externalities out for no conceivable reason. Many things we care about are explicitly excluded from the calculation.
This conversation is one of a dozen or so weekly conversations we already have lined up for you with thinkers, designers, makers, authors, activists, entrepreneurs, and impact investors who are working to change our world for the better. So follow this podcast on your favorite podcast app, or head over to remakepod.org to subscribe.
And now, let’s jump right in with Malcolm Ray.
[5:04] COVID Tragedy
[10:06] Early Childhood Challenges
[13:48] A Sense of Injustice
[18:14] A Journey Through Journalism to Literature
[23:19] A Conspiracy of Elites
[28:08] The Tyranny of Growth
[35:58] The Historical Origins of GDP
[41:34] Models for Measuring Growth
[45:39] Hope for the System
[48:49] A Short Sermon
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