Niklas's blog

Chris Hedges on capitalism


The following short quote is written by Chris Hedges, taken from his podcast episode named The Chris Hedges Report Podcast with Dr. Gabor Maté on his new book “The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture."

I quote Hedges's short paragraph because of how succinctly he nails how capitalism works, how it thrives, and whom it rewards. I've separated the quote into paragraphs to hopefully increase readability.

I strongly recommend reading Hedges's books, his Scheerpost column, and checking out his Substack.

Dr. Gabor Maté in his new book “The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, and Healing in a Toxic Culture,” which he wrote with his son Daniel, argues that what is defined as normal in a consumer society is at war with basic human needs. The engine of capitalism, defined by the cult of the self, thrives on the fostering of psychological and physical chronic disorders, including high blood pressure, diabetes, anxiety, depression, addictions and suicide.

It rewards the core traits of psychopaths: superficial charm, grandiosity, and self-importance; a need for constant stimulation, a penchant for lying, deception, and manipulation, and the inability to feel remorse or guilt. Personal style and personal advancement are mistaken for individualism, equated falsely with democratic equality. We have a right, in the cult of the self, to get whatever we desire. We can do anything, even belittle and destroy those around us, including our friends, to make money, to be happy, and to become famous.

Once fame and wealth are achieved, they become their own justification, their own morality. How one gets there is irrelevant. The consequence of this dark ethic, Dr. Maté illustrates, plays out on our bodies, severely damaging our psyches, and pushing us towards individual and social self-annihilation. Joining me to discuss his new book is Dr. Gabor Maté who has written several best-selling books, including In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, When the Body Says No: Exploring the Stress-Disease Connection and Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder.