We’re living through an era of enormous transition, most significantly from a world governed by free market fundamentalism to something new — something we can’t yet quite discern and which could take radically different forms depending on the political decisions we make as a society. Two of the founding scholars of sociology, Karl Marx and Max Weber, tackled broad questions and themes about how economic and political history unfolds, which are helpful to interpreting events today.
Marx and Weber came from very different places in their thinking — politically, philosophically, and methodologically. In this episode of XO, we explore both the insights and the limitations of these two foundational thinkers in making sense of today’s rapidly unraveling global political order.
Professor Dylan Riley is a political sociologist who uses the comparative-historical method to study socialism, capitalism, fascism and democracy. Professor Neil Fligstein is an economic and political sociologist who focuses on how organizations develop, and the interactions between markets and the bureaucracies and institutions of the state.
Charlie Eaton, who studied under both Riley and Fligstein at UC Berkeley, is a professor at UC Merced. He studies the financialization of higher education, and has been on XO before. He co-hosted this episode.